UC California Naturalist Program

The California Naturalist Program is designed to introduce Californians to the wonders of our unique ecology, engage the public in the study and stewardship of California’s natural communities, and increase community and ecosystem resilience.

Courses combine classroom and field experience in science, problem-solving, communication training, and community service. Students are taught by an instructor and team of experts who are affiliated with a local nature-based center or natural resource-focused agency. Upon completing certification requirements, participants are eligible for four academic credits through UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education for an additional nominal fee.


The California Naturalist Program at the Cosumnes River Preserve is a series of lectures provided in partnership between the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Cosumnes River Preserve. The mission of this program is to foster a connection between California’s natural resources and education with a specific focus on the Cosumnes River Watershed, wetland habitat, riparian habitat and the vernal pool grasslands. Graduates of this program will be ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education, and restoration.

Upon completion, graduates will receive an official California Naturalist Certification and are eligible for 4 credit units from UC Davis Extension. The Cosumnes River Preserve is happy to inform you that we will be hosting this electrifying course, led by lead naturalists Amber Veselka and Madeline Hill.

Spring 2024 – Registration is CLOSED

Dates –  Coming soon : 2025 
Training Days and Times-  Wednesdays from 5:30 -8:30 PM
Field Trip Dates- TBD
Price – $400 
Registration Link – Registration Link
Please fill out your contact information if you have registered for the California Naturalist Course – Contact Information Link
*** This course is for ages 18+ only

Course Details

This 11-week course uses The California Naturalist Handbook , expert speakers, field trips, and project-based learning to uncover the natural spaces of California and the Cosumnes River Preserve. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be certified as a California Naturalist by the University of California and be eligible for four general education credits (CPE Credits) through UC Davis Extension (for an additional fee).

Training  information – Classes will meet on Wednesday from 5:30-8:30 pm at the Cosumnes River Preserve Visitor Center. Additionally, there will be two required all-day field trips on Saturdays. Dates will be listed in the syllabus and are subject to change. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check-in.

Cost Details – $400 – Tuition covers weekly classes and weekend field trips (Transportation not included). Participants must purchase the course text: The California Naturalist Handbook.The discount code for the CalNat Handbook is UCPSAVE30. Must be purchased on UC Press. The book is also available for Kindle for $23.99

Scholarship Opportunities – Partial scholarships are available to a limited number of students per course offering.  If you are interested in a partial scholarship, contact us at info@cosumnes.org for the scholarship evaluation and application

Participant Requirements: Please Read Before Registering 

  1. Participants may miss one day if needed, but may require to complete make-up work; please inform us if you know already that you will be missing a date.
  2. Each participant will need to complete an 8-hour volunteer stewardship project.
  3.  Each participant will need to participate in a citizen science project that is adopted by the class.
  4. Each participant will need to create a field notebook with entries from all field days.
  5. Each participant must log at least 8 observations in iNaturalist.

Cancellation Policy- Registrants may cancel up to two weeks before the first day of instruction for a full refund, minus a $50 administrative/processing fee.  If no additional participants are on a wait list, registrants that can successfully refer another student to replace their spot in the course prior to the first day of class will receive a full refund. Registrants that experience a verifiable medical emergency personally, or in their family, between the two weeks of class before and after instruction has begun may re-enroll in the following year’s course at a 50% discounted rate, with priority for early registration. No other cancellations, for any other reason, will result in a refund. If the class is canceled due to low enrollment students will receive a full refund.

Contact us for more information – Info@cosumnes.org

*** This course is for ages 18+ only