Scholarships available for California Naturalist training in the Central Valley

Nov 19, 2014

Applications are now being accepted for scholarships to attend California Naturalist training in the San Joaquin Valley and central Sierra region in 2015.

To become a certified California Naturalist, trainees take part in 40 hours of classroom and field courses and complete a capstone project. More than 700 California Naturalists have been certified by UC Cooperative Extension since the program's inception in 2010. The 2015 training sessions will be offered with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, the UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Preserve and the UC Merced Sierra Nevada Institute.

Partial scholarships will be awarded in two categories: Student Scholars Award and Service Award. The Student Scholars Awards are open to graduating high school seniors and currently enrolled college students. The Service Awards are open to people engaged in work (volunteer or paid) that directly impacts under-served communities.

The scholarships are intended to engage participants who will apply their experience by taking action in their own communities. To be eligible for a scholarship, aspiring naturalists are invited to fill out the online application at Application review will begin in December 2014 and continue until all the scholarships have been awarded.

The California Naturalist program champions the state's unique ecology and engages volunteers in stewardship and study of California's natural world. A love of nature and a desire to share their passion prompt people to commit time to becoming and serving as California Naturalists. California Naturalist program uses a science curriculum, hands-on learning and volunteer service to inspire stewardship of the state's parks, wetlands, coastal areas, mountains, foothills and forests.

Four units of college credit are available for course participants through UC Davis Extension.

California Naturalist comes to Central California
The following Central Valley California Naturalist programs are planned for 2015:

Sierra Foothill Conservancy. Classroom sessions: 6 to 8 p.m., Fridays March 13, 20, 27, April 10, 17, 24; Field sessions, Saturdays March 14, 21, 28, April 11, 17, 24.
Location: Fresno County
Cost: $350
Contact: Rosanna Ruiz, (559) 855-3473,

UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve. Spring 2015, class schedule TBD
Location: UC Merced
Cost: $350
Contact: Chris Swarth, (301) 769-8038,

UC Merced Sierra Nevada Research Institute. Fall 2015, class schedule TBD (one week intensive)
Location: Yosemite National Park
Cost: $700
Contact: Becca Fenwick, , (209) 228-415

The scholarships were made possible by a grant from the Renewable Resources Extension Act, a program administered by the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist