Our 2019 Class is now closed. If you'd like to be added to our 2020 applicant list, pleasesend us an email.
WHEN? Eight Saturday mornings from 9AM to 1PM.
This includes a final, all day 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, Double Peak, and various other inspiring locales.
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 course schedule for our 2018 class.
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 finally to learn how to communicate your new found passion for Nature.
COST? We ask for a $100 donation to help us cover printing, coffee, and other costs :) If this is beyond your budget, please let us know. Scholarhips are available.
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.
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, California's most extensive plant community. 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 they may encounter. 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, foster friendships, and encourage volunteering in the newfound community of Nature advocates.
A significant part of the journey to love Nature is also learning to love yourself by rediscoverying 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. Please read our essay, Rediscovering the Magic of Nature, to learn more.
We strongly believe those who do the teaching do the learning. 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."
Once you have established a richer connection with yourself and nature, you'll be encouraged to share your connection with and enthusiasm for the natural world with others. Your experience with us can also provide you skills that will be extremely useful as an intern or volunteer at other Nature-based, non-profits.
Another key goal of the Chaparral Naturalist Program is to expand the demographic of those participating in naturalist and docent training programs. We will pursue this goal by recruiting a wide diversity of students, post-graduates, and families from throughout the community. With the collaborative model the program will employ, 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.
Our vision is to create a self sustaining Chaparral Naturalist program that will help you an 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 permanent Nature Advocates to understand and protect not only the chaparral, but all natural habitats.
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.
In the video below, Dr. Drew Lanham, an ornithologist at Clemson University, provides an important message about why it's critical for us to help diversify the environmental community.
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 first Passport edition 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 donation 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 (shown above right).
Obtain a Passport to the Chaparral to discover the watersheds of Escondido by mail by clicking the $2.50 donation button to the right.
Please see our other Nature Education pages for additional information on other programs