Please consider joining us to learn more about Nature
in California, and in turn, more about yourself
in our Chaparral Naturalist Program.
Find out more here.
- LEARNING OUTDOORS -
THE VALUE OF NATURE CENTERS & TRAILS
Throughout California there are dozens of nature and interpretive centers that do a wonderful job of helping connect people with their local, wild habitats.
In southern California we visited and evaluated all the nature centers that were surrounded by or connected with chaparral. We also took a look at any naturalist training programs they offered.
Our full report, Connecting Californians with the Chaparral is available here.
"What change do we seek as nature educators? A general consensus emerged during our research—to inspire a love for nature that will foster curiosity to learn more and the desire to care for and protect the natural environment. For us, Dave Numer’s approach to interpretation, one that involved us and allowed him to share his passion for nature, achieved exactly that. A nature center’s content and design become more effective when a naturalist facilitates the center’s learning experience with interactivity and sincere enthusiasm."
- From Connecting Californians with the Chaparral
Connecting with a local nature center can change lives. Early in 1971, the recently-developed El Dorado Nature Center had tremendous influence over one particular high school volunteer naturalist in ways he could have never imagined. It provided a crucible that ultimately fostered the development of the California Chaparral Institute and our own Chaparral Naturalist Certification Program.
Thanks to the Long Beach El Dorado Chapter of the National Audubon Society and the El Dorado Nature Center staff, visitors have a chance to experience and learn about nature first hand.
PASSPORT TO THE CHAPARRAL
The Passport to the Chaparral is a wonderful way to discover the plants and animals found in California's most extensive ecosystem.
Our Passport focuses on the watersheds of Escondido, California, which include the Escondido Creek and the San Dieguito River. Our Passports can be found in the Interpretive Center at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve in Escondido and at various other natural areas throughout the greater Escondido area.
You can obtain one by mail by clicking the $2.50 donate button below. By completing 10 of the 20 suggested activities, you can submit your experiences to us and receive a Passport Certificate and a Chaparral Pocket Naturalist Guide (above).
Also be sure to check our cool Chaparral T-shirt page!
- NATURE IN THE CLASSROOM -
THE VALUE OF BRINGING NATURE TO STUDENTS
is the Key to Bringing Nature into the Classroom
Those who do the teaching, do the learning. The research is clear - the least effective way to teach anyone anything is by lecturing to them. Standing up there, talking... on and on and on. Yet, this is how we typically experience education, so we just keep repeating the same old method, boring everyone in the process and failing to teach much of anything. Ask yourself, when you learned something really well, how did it happen? It likely wasn't through a powerpoint. So, when you use these materials, share knowledge on the trail, stop the monologue. Ask questions. Engage. Show people how smart they are, not how smart you think you are. If you want to learn more about how to be an effective educator, a Chaparral Warrior, someone others like to learn with, consider enrolling in our Chaparral Naturalist Program.
1. Our six-page chaparral guide that provides all the basic details about chaparral in a way that is enjoyable to most kids. Elementary and middle school teachers (5th - 8th grade) will find it especially helpful because it is the only accurate (and fun to read) description of the chaparral ecosystem currently available for those grade levels. If you would like a copy, please send us an email requesting one.
2. Exploring San Diego’s Shrublands. Grade Four Curriculum. SD Children and Nature Collaborative. 47 pages:
The following is a list of opportunities that will allow you to become a volunteer naturalist at local nature centers and land conservancies so you can share with others the passion you have for the natural environment.
Naturalist For You (NYF) - This program was created to connect all of us to the diverse natural areas found in Southern California. The volunteer naturalists with NFY possess a broad knowledge and understanding of the natural world and are passionate about sharing that awareness with you.
Orange County WildCasper's Wilderness Park Volunteers - For more information, you may reach CWP Volunteers at P.O. Box 395, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92671, or by phone: (949) 923-2203.