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Thank you for registering

Dear Participant,


Thank you for signing up for the CA Naturalist program.  This is my favorite week of the year, and I can’t wait!  I’m so glad you will be coming.  This will be educational and fun.  Here are a few things you need to know:


Payment and Cancellations:  Creating a CalNat course is a commitment to the UC System, our lodging facilities, and amazing instructors.  We must cover those costs.


  • A 20% non-refundable registration fee is required to sign up for the class, with 50% due at 90 days, and 100% due 60 days before the course

  • The course requires a minimum of 10 paid students.  If we have less than 10 students at 30 days prior, we will cancel the course and you will receive all your money back.  We do not cancel for weather.  If the facility where we stay cancels for dangerous weather, you will receive all your money back or have it forwarded to the next course.


  • We know things come up.  If you must cancel, let us know as soon as possible.  If you cancel between thirty (30) and sixty (60) days of arrival date you will be required to pay a cancellation fee equal to 50%.  If you cancel within thirty (30) days of arrival date, you will be pay a cancellation fee equal to 100%.  Since this is a financial commitment for you, you may consider trip insurance.


What You Should Expect:


  • Outside Field Trips and Weather – We will be outside.  In the elements. Observing nature. You’re an adult so I’m not going to list what to bring.  It may rain.  It may be windy. It may be hot and sunny. Think about your clothes.  We have inside meeting rooms. The elements won’t cancel the week or slow us down.  But be ready.  The Scandinavians say “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.”


  • Lectures and Learning – This is a full semester course in 7 days!  What are we all thinking!  Read the textbook ahead.  Be ready to have your mind fully engaged from 8am to 8pm!  We are going to learn a lot together in a short time. 


  • You’re going to Make Friends – Even if that is not your goal, it will happen.  Going through intense learning with other people forms bonds.  You will find your “tribe” and make lifelong friends.  Hope you’re okay with that.


  • Food and Lodging – Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided by camp.  Most lunches are in the field. Lectures begin right after dinner.  You will enjoy good food with vegetarian options. Onsite lodging is in cabins – but you need to bring your own bedding and toiletries. Bring your own pillow.  If you want a chocolate on your pillow, you must bring that too.



What I Expect of YOU – Nitty Gritty Requirements for Graduation:

  • Read the Textbook! – The textbook is very important.  Please read it before you get here.  The chapters take 45-60 minutes to read, and they are very interesting.  We will review the chapters every morning after breakfast to see what you’ve learned.


  • Participation and Engagement – Come with an inquisitive mind, ready to ask, learn, push, enjoy.  Everybody learns differently and we will all be engaging with the course material by asking questions, adding comments, active note-taking, and group participation. 


  • Attendance – The CalNat curriculum is a 40-hour UC course. We will spend around 20 hours be in-class and another 20 in the field. All lectures and field trips are required.


  • iNaturalist/Field Notebook – During field trips, you will be making observations on iNaturalist and writing/sketching in your field notebook. Bring a blank field notebook.  Go to and set up your account now.  It is free!


  • A Capstone Project – Each student will complete a capstone volunteer service project. You can do this on your own, or work in teams.  I will walk you through the process.  You will combine YOUR skills and YOUR interests into a 6-10 hour project to be done during the week.  On the final day of class, you will make a final 5 minute presentation on your project to summarize the work your or your group has done.


  • Service – Graduates are encouraged to find a place to volunteer and share your new knowledge.  We reward 40 hours of volunteer service/year with a pin. I will teach you how to log hours on the UC Volunteer Management System (VMS).  Details covered during class.


Miscellaneous Extra Notes

  • Continuing Education Units: Graduates from this course can apply to receive 4 units from UC Davis for an $85 fee. You can apply for credit after completing the course.

  • We will all have to fill out a bunch of forms:  liability waivers for the UC system, for kayaking, for photography, etc, etc.  It is just the world we live in.

  • Need more?  Really?  This should be enough for now.

  • Overwhelmed?  Me too!  Part of the adventure of learning together.  It is all going to be OK! 

My Measure of Success – By the end of this course, my students should be able to:

  1. Describe the role of the scientific method in understanding natural history.

  2. Relate knowledge of natural history to becoming a naturalist and an environmental steward.

  3. Integrate knowledge about the interconnectedness of abiotic and biotic factors (including human) and their influence on the natural history of the Central Coast of CA

  4. Demonstrate skills in making and recording natural history observations in a field notebook.

  5. Apply knowledge gained in this CA coastal ecosystem to other local and global environmental issues.

  6. Understand and communicate the role of citizen science in informing the natural resources management decision making processes.


Call me with questions. 







Chris Cameron, naturalist

Nature Up Close


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