Over eight Saturdays we offer an interactive naturalist training adventure different from any other you have encountered. Instead of the traditional "sit and get" (sitting at a desk and passively listening), Chaparral Naturalists will actively engage in learning about links and patterns between all living things and the earth we all share. Most importantly you will gain a better understanding of yourself so you can inspire a love for Nature in others. Open to anyone 16 and over. Additional details can be found below.
We offer weekend and full week residencies at our retreat centers in Santa Barbara and San Diego for seniors or graduates of university Environmental Studies programs. The 7-day session includes four hours of instruction each day on chaparral ecology and environmental leadership, and evening workshops on philosophy, creative writing, and logical thinking. There is also an independent project component. Weekend sessions focus primarily on chaparral ecology.
Please send us an email to learn more.
Are you motivated to learn how to fight back, think clearly, and learn strategies to protect the natural environment? This is a gritty, weekend retreat program that will teach you how to courageously confront government agencies and other institutions that fail in their duty to protect Nature. Learn how to testify, talk to reporters, and make a difference in the world by changing hearts and minds. For seniors or graduates of university Environmental Studies programs.
Please send us an email to learn more.
by Reconnecting with Nature
To successfully protect the wild (and the chaparral), we must inevitably change how people relate to the natural world as well as themselves. Otherwise, our actions with be primarily reactive, forcing us to continually battle one environmentally damaging project after another.
Therefore, we are developing an educational model that utilizes Nature as not only a place of discovery to help us learn about the natural world, but also to deepen the human experience. In other words,
Nosce te ipsum – Know thyself.
The new educational model will be developed through several new efforts including the Chaparral Naturalist Certification Program, quarterly Socratic seminars, and new partnerships with diverse organizations. Please join us! Help us change the world from within.
Our Chaparral Naturalist
WHO? Those who love Nature, want to discover more about themselves, and desire to learn how to inspire others to explore the same, 16-years-old and over.
WHAT? We will be creating an interactive naturalist training adventure different from any other you have encountered. Instead of the traditional "sit and get" (sitting at a desk and passively listening), Chaparral Naturalists will actively engage in learning about links and patterns between all living things and the earth we all share. Most importantly you will gain a better understanding of yourself so you can inspire a love for Nature in others. Here is the outline for our last class.
WHEN? Eight Saturday mornings from 9AM to 1PM. This includes an all day, final field trip.
WHERE? We are based in Escondido, California, but our classes are held at surrounding locations such as the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, the San Elijo Lagoon, Sycamore Canyon, Double Peak, and various other inspiring locales.
WHY?Our planet needs you. Nature provides untapped opportunities to better understand our inner selves so we can effectively share its magic with others. As a Chaparral Naturalist you will learn to reconnect with your ancestral, wild self, discover the incredible biodiversity that makes its home in the chaparral, and learn how to communicate with others your new found passion for Nature.
HOW MUCH?We ask for a $100 donation to help us cover course materials, printing costs, coffee & snacks, and other expenses. If this is beyond your budget, please let us know. Scholarships are available.
Covid-19 Impacts. Unfortunately, we had to cut our 2020 Chaparral Naturalist Course short after 4 class sessions. We've been engaging with everyone via Zoom on a weekly basis, but it certainly can't replace being outdoors. If you are interested in participating when we restart, please send us a note.
The California Chaparral Institute's Chaparral Naturalist Certification program strives to inspire a love for Nature by creating a diverse community of nature advocates AND to help the public better understand and appreciate the chaparral. Our program is unique in that it focuses on the chaparral and enhancing your personal connection with Nature.
We also strive to create permanent advocates for Nature who are willing to inspire others. Rather than passively listening to experts, our course is organized in small, interactive groups that participate in collaborative learning experiences designed to enhance the learning process and foster friendships.
A significant part of the journey to love Nature is also learning to love yourself by rediscovering your wild, innocent self. Research has confirmed what we have known intuitively for a very long time - connecting with Nature is not only essential for our physical health, but our mental health as well. Nature provides us the tools necessary to develop meaningful connections with ourselves and the world around us. Much of the social and personal pain we experience in our lives can be related to our distance from Nature. Therefore, we will spend a significant amount of time increasing your connection with Nature and expanding the innate love of the natural world we expressed so willingly as children.
We strongly believe, those who do the teaching do the learning. So be prepared to actively participate in the adventure. Repeated, active participation allows the development of new neural pathways that can eventually replace old patterns. Wilfred Arlan Peterson said it best in his The Art of Living, Day by Day:
"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thought we wish to dominate our lives."
Another key goal of the Chaparral Naturalist Program is to expand the demographic of those participating in naturalist programs. We will pursue this goal by recruiting a wide diversity of students, post-graduates, and families. With our collaborative model, we'll leverage the environmental wisdom of participating elders to inspire younger generations. We believe the environmental community can no longer just talk to itself, but must reach out to new groups to ensure Nature continues to have a voice in the future.
The outdoors is non-judgmental, unconditional, immediate. There are no expectations, obligations. Nature allows you the freedom to be you. We help Nature share that wisdom with you.
Our vision is to create a self-sustaining Chaparral Naturalist program that will help you and us achieve our mission to:
1. Reconnect. Helping our youthful innocence and innate love for Nature to speak again.
2. Care. Reestablish personal connections and a sense of care for Nature.
3. Engage. Encouraging the use of engaging, meaningful interpretation in Nature education.
4. Diversity. Expanding and diversifying the environmental community.
5. Permanence. Creating Nature Advocates to speak for & protect the chaparral and other natural habitats.
The following three resources will help further explain the foundation of our mission.
An essential part of our program is to create lifelong Nature Advocates who strive to inspire others to love and help protect nature as well. As a symbol or talisman of that effort, Chaparral Naturalists pass along a #greenchaparral marble to those they meet who also express a sincere passion for the natural environment and the creative spirit it fosters. The marble is shared with the understanding that the recipient will pass it along to another who communicates a willingness to become a yet another Nature Advocate.