- (Focus Area) Natural Resources
- Author: Gregory Ira
Over 3,000 Corpsmembers graduate from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) every year. Some jump right into the workforce, but many enroll in college courses or seek additional training and professional development.
The California Naturalist course is a perfect opportunity for Corpsmembers to continue their learning. Like the CCC, the California Naturalist program emphasizes experiential learning with lots of hands-on and field based activities. The California Naturalist Certification is increasingly recognized as an asset for job-seekers in environmental education and natural resource management fields. In addition, Corpsmembers can access four general education credits from UC-Davis Extension (now Continuing and Professional Education) if they are interested in furthering their studies.
The California Naturalist program was recently awarded a UC ANR Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) grant that will help us tailor certain aspects of the California Naturalist course to the needs of Corpsmembers. A pilot course hosted by UC ANR's Hopland Research and Extension Center will serve Corpsmembers based at the CCC residential camp in Ukiah. Three other residential camp representatives will also participate with the expectation of replicating the course in other regions of the state in subsequent years.
With over 45 California Naturalist partners around the state, and new partners joining every year, Corpsmembers will likely find a course within an hour of their current residence. We hope all our California Naturalist partners will unlock this new opportunity for young Corpsmembers. We think it is a perfect match that bodes well for the future stewardship of California's natural resources.
This year's Regional Rendezvous (August 16-18) will host an abundance of learning opportunities for our CalNat participants. Aside from the amazing activities and adventures (such as kayaking, birding, historic building and nature preserve visits, traditional tool use workshop, etc.), Rendezvous participants will learn from our lightning talks, welcome speakers, a professional natural resources panel, and our plenary speaker.
Lightning Talks: For us to maintain a cohesive community across the entire state, it is important to know what other Naturalists have been up to in their areas. Lightning Talks are a great way to get an update on research or ongoing restoration projects, to present a particularly engaging Capstone Project, or to highlight the work being done by various organizations and programs. Our Naturalists are encouraged to contribute by submitting their work for a Lightning Talk. Each presentation will be about five minutes long with time allotted at the end for a few questions.
Don Pierce, Jr., Salinian Tribe elder, will welcome us to his ancestral lands. Born and raised in the mountains above Morro Bay he comes from a long line of ancestors traditionally located north of the Chumash. He grew up in the modern world, but learned native ways from his parents and extended family. Among many positions he holds, Mr. Pierce is presently the Salinan Chairman, Public Relations lead, Education lead, MBMM Board of trustee's, Native American liason for the Maritime museum and Navigators circle.
Dr. Katherine Soule, University of California Cooperative Extension Director and Youth, Families, & Communities Advisor of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties will welcome us to the county. Dr. Soule leads an award-winning multicultural, bilingual team who truly understand the culture, needs, and strengths of the people in the communities where they work. Her programs integrate health education with community engagement, improving equity for marginalized populations.
Natural Resource Expert Speaker Panel:
We have four guest speakers at this year's Regional Rendezvous whose amazing work embodies and often supports our collective environmental missions.
Heather Holm is the Interpretive Planning and Program Section Manager for California State Parks Interpretation and Education Division coordinating statewide interpretive projects and programming. One of her active projects is PORTS – Parks On-line Resources for Teachers and Students (a distance learning program covering subjects from kelp forests to California's Missions). Her work has brought high quality virtual field trips highlighting California's unique ecology and deep history to students across the world. Heather has 19 years of experience in interpretation, having worked in various positions in California State Parks and other non-profit museums and archives.
Rocio Lozano-Knowlton is the Director of MERITO (Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans) Foundation. A Latin American oceanographer and an environmental/science educator, her impressive and eclectic experience focuses on ocean research and sustainable tourism and has reached and supported millions of teachers, students, and community members as she advocates for global environmental justice, and racial equality in the environmental field in USA.
Organization's Mission: To enhance ocean and climate science literacy among multicultural communities while supporting marine research and conservation in order to promote healthy ocean ecosystems and inspire the next generation of ocean professionals.
Scot Pipkin is the Director of Education for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Dating back to the mid 1920's, this site highlights California native plants and offers educational courses and community events year-round. Scot has spent the better part of two decades as an outdoor/environmental educator in California, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. He has worked with populations ranging from preschool to retirement, always with the objective of having participants make their own discoveries about the natural wonders that surround them.
Organization's Mission: To conserve California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet.
Organization's Mission: Through voluntary and collaborative measures, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County works to permanently protect and enhance lands having important scenic, agricultural, habitat and cultural values for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Our wonderful panel moderators are Chris Cameron: former Director of and lead California Naturalist instructor for Camp Ocean Pines and Michelle Roest: Interpretive Planner and lead California Naturalist instructor for the Cuesta College CalNat course.
We are so excited to share and learn from these amazing speakers. Register soon! Space is limited!
See you at the Rendezvous!
- Author: Sarah Angulo
The smell of the ocean, the cool, salty breeze, sandy toes and plenty of sunshine – many of us lucky Californians have special memories spending time at our central coast. While enjoying the company of friends and family, the stunning backdrop instantly puts us at ease, and gives us some perspective. However, a naturalist's mind has a hard time quieting down, as even a moment thinking about the landscape of the central coast leads to endless questions about how such a beautiful place came to be here today!
The coastal geology of California reflects its culture: it's modern, it's active, it's exciting, and it's got a lot going on. The dramatic cliffs and hills rising straight out of the ocean are a result of the Pacific and North American plate boundary. Subduction created the iconic mountains and accreted different rock types onto California. Now, as the plate boundary moves the shrinking Juan de Fuca plate north, the plates slide past each other along at this point along the coast, bringing even more rock types from Southern California northward. These diverse rock types contribute to a diverse plant landscape.
Rock and soil type combined with the Mediterranean climate characterize the landscape with vegetation types dominated by some quintessential Californian plants, including blue oak, coast live oak, valley oak, redwood, and Monterey pine. An incredible array of vernal pool, estuary, intertidal, bay, dune, forest, stream, riparian, chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and grassland habitats attract an equally diverse number of animal species to live in this area of California.
At the beaches, the uniquely adapted animals of the tide pools wait to be discovered, shorebirds cruise along the sand, and marine mammals can be viewed at a safe distance. In the freshwater streams that meet the ocean, macroinvertebrates feed the fish and birds who inhabit the riparian ecosystems. Still more bird species fly above the elusive bobcat, coyote, and mountain lion of the oak woodland habitats
For our California Naturalists and friends, this landscape offers so many opportunities to learn and explore. That's why program staff picked the central coast as the location of this year's annual Regional Rendezvous! What's a Regional Rendezvous? An annual event for California Naturalists and other nature-loving adults to re-energize, share our collective passion, learn together about a specific bioregion, and make fun memories on high quality, professionally led adventures. No experience, credentials, or degrees needed, just a love of the natural world and a desire to learn more about it. Let experienced, knowledgeable, and local naturalists show you the places they call home in the surrounding Cambria area. Rendezvous attendees have an opportunity to choose one of the nine offered field trips/workshops to engage in the nature found in this unique part of California. Learn more about the field trip offerings and how to register for the Rendezvous!