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California Naturalist Classes at Hopland REC

About the Program

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The mission of the California Naturalist Program is to foster a diverse community of naturalists and promote stewardship of California's natural resources through education and service.

The California Naturalist Program promotes environmental literacy and stewardship through discovery and action. Many other states have similar naturalist programs, but this is the first statewide program in California. To become a certified California Naturalist, participants need to enroll in a 40+ hour course with one of our partner organizations such as the Hopland Research and Extension Center.

Courses combine classroom and field experience in science, problem-

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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 Extension for an additional nominal fee.

Click here to read more about the California Naturalist statewide program.

Class details and Registration

Class & Readings

The class runs across six Saturdays in 2024 (2/10, 2/24, 3/9, 3/30, 4/13 and graduation on 4/27). Each class will include classroom and field time at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center. Classes will run from 8:30am-5pm, with graduation from 10am-1:30pm

In preparation for lectures, all assigned readings from the California Naturalist Handbook should be completed before each class where they appear on the syllabus. 

Classes will be in the field and the classroom

Classes will be a mix of lecture, discussion, eating and outdoor exploration. Dress appropriately for the weather—you never know when the instructor may send everyone outside!

We will meet at the Hopland Research and Extension Center at 4070 University Road, Hopland. Participants may not bring pets, guests or children on any field trips. Directions will be given upon registration.

Click here for further details of the class including dates and DRAFT syllabus. This DRAFT syllabus may be subject to minor changes, registrants will be kept informed of any changes and this link will be updated as changes take place.



We are committed to building an inclusive community. Our equity pricing allows us to serve the community better and to recover the costs of this class. 

Registration is $470 per person (includes certification, instruction, some materials, and facility costs). If you are unable to pay this amount due to low income or extenuating circumstances, please use our income guide and sliding scale to adjust your course cost. Minimum payment is $300. 

Donor funds will support the costs of those who are unable to pay the total amount.

To assist you in determining an appropriate payment amount for your circumstances, 2021 Mendocino County U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development low income indicator data is provided as guidance.  

Mendocino County, CA, Household size

1 person

2 person

3 person

4-8 person






Early registration is recommended. This class typically sells out.

Click here to register.


A limited number of need-based scholarships are available that will cover up to 50% of the registration costs. Applications for financial aid must be received by December 31 for consideration.  All applicants will receive notification of their scholarship status January 4. Scholarships applicants only need fill out the scholarship question on the application form, no payment is required at this stage.