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Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods class offers ‘naturalist’ certification

Registration is underway for the Stewards of the Coast and Redwood’s 40-hour UC California Naturalist Certification Program.

The course, composed of classroom and field experiences, begins Feb. 21 at the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods office at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville. Class and field topics include geology, water, weather, soils, plants, forests wildlife, citizen science and environment issues. Classes are from 6 to 9 p.m.

Students commit to weekly homework assignments and complete a capstone project of their choice at the end of the program.

“Each student does a presentation about the environment at the end, a video or something else tangible that is useful and shareable,” Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods Executive Director Michele Luna said.

Registration for the course was half-full in mid-January, and usually about two dozen students participate, Luna said.

After earning UC California Naturalist Certification, some students become volunteers or find jobs at the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Luna said. Many of the students are retirees.

“We’re very diverse. We have younger and older folks,” Luna said.

The cost of the course held between Feb. 21 and April 17 is $560. Members of the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods pay $448. Individual membership in the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods is $35.

A graduation ceremony is scheduled for April 18.

The UC California Naturalist Program introduces state residents to California’s unique ecology and engages the public in study and stewardship of natural communities.

It uses a science curriculum, hands-on learning, problem solving, citizen science and community service to instill a deep appreciation for the state’s communities and inspires individuals to become stewards of their local resources.

Once certified, California Naturalists have the opportunity to volunteer throughout the state with various federal, state and local nonprofit organizations. Their activities include bird counts, plant identification and data collection, invasive species monitoring, native plant propagation and planting and leading nature hikes. Other “partner organizations” in the Bay Area also present the certificate program. Contact stewards@stewardscr.org for more information.

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