Naturalist Training

What is a Naturalist?

A Naturalist is an informed environmental steward that approaches the natural world with care and curiosity. Become a Catalina caretaker by strengthening your knowledge of the natural history of the Island.


The Naturalist Training Program 3-Part Series

Naturalist Training 1

Begin your Catalina Naturalist journey with this free virtual program consisting of two short videos followed by an online* certification meeting with Conservancy Education Staff. This training gives a brief overview of Catalina’s geology, island species, human history, and the work of the Conservancy. This includes classic stories of the recovery of the American Bald Eagle and Catalina Island Fox from the verge of extinction, as well as the history and future of the American Bison and California Mule Deer on the Catalina.

*Groups can request private in-person certification meetings when Education staff is available.

Naturalist Training 2

 This 7-hour excursion into the wildlands explores and expands on the concepts covered in Naturalist 1 Training. This training looks to connect Naturalists with how the sun, rocks, water, plants and animals are all a part of a dynamic and fragile ecosystem. The field day will take visitors along the ridge overlooking the San Pedro Channel to the Airport in the Sky for Lunch (not included in the course fee), down to backside of the Island to overlook Little Harbor Beach and conclude with a drive up a major canyon with a tour of the James H Ackerman Native Plant Nursery in Middle Ranch.

 By the end of this field day participants can expect:

  • To be able to identify at least three Chaparral plants and three Coastal Sage Scrub plants, or to work expand on your knowledge
  • To understand the basic geologic zones of the Island
  • To visit and gain perspective on the cultural history of Catalina
  • To learn about the Conservancy’s efforts to restore the landscape and preserve rare species
  • To utilize the iNaturalist app
  • To make a Nature Journal entry

Participants will receive a workbook to follow-along with through-out the day, a boot-brush, and a Naturalist 2 pin. As a follow-up, a concept check to the workbook is sent out along with a certificate of completion.

Non-members $75.00

Members $50.00

Catalina California Naturalist Training

This course breaks down and delves deeper into the topics covered in the Conservancy’s Naturalist 1 & 2 Trainings, while grounding Catalina natural history inside a 40-hour, 4-unit community college level course. Conservancy Instructors coordinate the course, but step aside for Catalina guest experts to instruct in their areas of expertise.
The Catalina California Naturalist Training looks to facilitate naturalists continuing education and discovery of southern California’s rare, coastal Mediterranean ecosystems. This course highlights these ecosystems through the lens of island biogeography and explores the familiar yet uniquely adapted world of the Channel Islands. By the end of the course participants will have a toolbox to connect them to the nature, to communicate about it to others, and to take action to care for it.

The California Naturalist Program is an offering of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources-Cooperative Extension California Naturalist taught by 60 organizations across the state that each focus on their unique area.

Upcoming Naturalist Trainings