Sunday, 25 February 2024

Tuleyome’s Naturalist Course continues in 2020

Students of Tuleyome’s naturalist courses are provided with field trips and nature walks that help to immerse them in nature and learn how to employ the use of field notebooks, cameras and cell phones, and drawing implements for data collection purposes. All of the field trips sites are chosen with accessibility in mind and provide low-impact walks for participants. Photo by Mary K. Hanson.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Tuleyome’s adults-only Certified California Naturalist program, provided in partnership with the University of California and the Woodland Public Library, will again be providing nature-based coursework to members of the public in 2020.

The organization’s naturalist course, launched in 2018, is designed to introduce Californians to the wonders of the state’s unique ecology and engage the public in study and stewardship of California’s natural communities. The program requires no special degrees or previous naturalist experience.

The program uses a science curriculum, hands-on learning, problem-solving, community science, and volunteer service to instill a deep appreciation for the natural communities of the state and to inspire individuals to become stewards of their local resources.

Upon completing certification requirements, participants are also eligible for four academic credits through UC Davis Extension for an additional fee.

Tuleyome’s 2020 naturalist classes start on January 17 at the Woodland Public Library and continue for 10 consecutive Fridays through March 20, from noon to 4:00 pm.

The three required field trips are scheduled for Saturdays, and the additional optional nature walks take place on selected weekdays.

These outdoor experiences are augmented with the use of field notebooks and journals which help students learn how to collect data on the species they encounter outdoors.

The data they collect is then shared with the scientific community around the globe through Tuleyome’s project on iNaturalist.

Tuleyome’s classes are led by an instructor team who employ various teaching modules to keep students interested and engaged in learning.

These include a nature table for sharing field journals, specimens and photos; an overview of the chapters of the textbook with a more targeted introduction to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument region; guest lecturers (when available); and detailed Species ID modules which help students to more accurately identify plant, animal and insect species found in our area.

Each student is also required to envision and complete a capstone project of their choosing. Some of Tuleyome’s students past capstone projects have included such things as the creation of natural history exhibits for the Cache Creek Conservancy, organizing a nature journaling outing at the South Putah Creek Preserve, building bat boxes and bee condos, updating and replacing plant identification signage at Yolo Basin Demonstration Pond, creating informational posters at the Northstate Parks and Ponds kiosk in Davis, spearheading public involvement in the Cache Creek Watershed with the Capay Valley Regeneration Project, advocating for the protection of the Bridgewater Island Pond in West Sacramento, and creating interpretive signage and docent manuals for the upcoming Woodland Regional Park.

In-class studies cover subjects such as ecology, geology, water, plant communities, forest/woodland and range resources and management, wildlife, communication and interpretation, community science, and energy and global environmental issues. Each class is followed up with an email that provides students with additional information and resources for further studies. To date, Tuleyome’s is the only Certified California Naturalist course in the state that provides this kind of detailed follow-up. Photo by Mary K. Hanson.

When creating and presenting their capstones, past students have implemented the use of props, PowerPoint presentations, videos, cellphone applications and drone footage.

All graduates of the program are expected to provide the region with a minimum of 40 hours of nature-based volunteer work each calendar year in order to maintain their certification, and the University provides special pins each year to those who complete this requirement.

Graduates from Tuleyome’s previous classes have gone on to become advocates for wildlife and environmental campaigns, docents and volunteers at schools, regional parks and open spaces, and have also assisted with community science projects.

Tuleyome reports that plans are also in the very early stages of development to offer an online class for members of the public throughout the state who are unable to travel to attend an in-person naturalist course. The organization is currently seeking funding to create and launch this program in partnership with the University of California.

In the meantime, some of those who have already provided donations for Tuleyome’s 2020 class include the National Science Teachers Association, the American Birding Association, Grandpa Gus, McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, MyCarryWell, Nasco, New World Library, Princeton University Press, Raley’s, TickCheck, University Press of Colorado, Watkins Publishing, Workman Publishing Company/ Algonquin, Firefly Books, Rite in the Rain, Sounds True, Adventure Publications, Mountaineers Books, Ultimate Survival Technologies, Shore Buddies and many others.

Businesses, organizations or individuals who wish to support the program through funding or in-kind donations should contact Mary K. Hanson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The registration portal for the 2020 naturalist course is open now. For more information, see Tuleyome’s website at . Seating is limited.

Students in the course are expected to keep field journals which are shared weekly with the instructors and their classmates. The journals help students to collect data and focus on those species they themselves find most interesting. Photo by Mary K. Hanson.

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