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California Naturalist Training - Sierra Nevada Immersion 2019

Sierra Nevada California Naturalist Training Course

*Note: We are not currently planning on offering this for 2020


Held over two long weekends in summer 2019, both are mandatory

June 14-16, 2019 in Mammoth Lakes, CA

August 16-18, 2019 in Wawona, Yosemite National Park, CA

To sign up for announcements of future California Naturalist Trainings in Yosemite,
please join our mailing list here:

CalNat 2017In 2019, we’ll have the adventure of California natural history on both the west and east side of the Sierra Nevada!  The course will start in mid-June at the UC Santa Barbara Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab, just outside the town of Mammoth Lakes. The second half of the course will take place in mid-August in Yosemite at the UC Merced Yosemite Field Station. This is the second year and the first CalNat certification course to offer such a range of California natural history.


  • Applications due: April 1 - closed for 2019.
  • Confirm participation: mid-April

The cost is estimated to be about $1000 (TBD) and include lodging and most meals. Scheduling details for the course and other announcements will be made on our email list, above. Stay tuned, and we’re looking forward to exploring with you!

About the Trans-Sierra California Naturalist Course

The UC Merced Yosemite Field Station, the UC Santa Barbara Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab, and the Yosemite Conservancy are proud to offer the California Naturalist Program in beautiful Yosemite National Park through University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  The mission of the CalNat Program is to foster a diverse community of naturalist and promote stewardship of California's natural resources through education and service. Our course seeks a diverse group of participants who will use their CalNat training to promote environmental education and stewardship, especially within our Sierra communities.

For an additional fee, four academic units are available through UC Davis Extension to teachers and undergraduate students who successfully complete the course.

Course Textbook and Other Required Materials

Students need to purchase a nature journal and the course text: The California Naturalist Handbook. The textbook is also available from Please allow enough time to complete pre-course reading assignments.  View the 2017 syllabus

Some course logistics

This course is designed to pack a lot of experiences into two 3-day weekends! The course will start promptly at 8am on each Friday, so students may arrive the evening beforehand. Students are expected to read the Handbook and other course readings ahead of the course. Successful completion of the course includes an eight-hour capstone project, a bite-sized conservation-related service project that you develop with the aid of your instructors and peers. Read about the CalNat program goals and expectations here, and you will receive more information specific to our Trans Sierra course after your participation has been confirmed.

Comments from students in past programs

October 2017 - Trans-Sierra

  • "My expectations were far exceeded. I thought there would be university level lectures – the level of personal interest, professionalism and effort to help us develop naturalist skills is by far one of the most memorable learning experiences I have had."
  • "This course really helps foster lifelong learning and curiosity. So many more questions arise then answers during the course which is great because it makes you excited to continue growing, learning, researching well beyond the time constraints of the course."

November 2015 - Yosemite

  • "I expected to learn interpretation skills, but because I know a lot about California nature already, I didn’t expect to learn much and I was a little afraid of being bored.  I was so wrong!  Yes, I learned lots of great interpretation ideas/skills, but also tons of California nature, was never remotely bored...It was a wow experience!"
  • "I generally thought it was going to be something like my lecture classes in college but it was actually better."
  • "I will always remember this week as an important part of my journey into becoming a naturalist.  I leave with great enthusiasm and even more passion for California natural history."

Current Conditions

Updated July 17, 2023

Yosemite and Sequoia Field Stations are open. You can check real time air quality at For information about road closures and current conditions check the Yosemite National Park and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks websites.