What is a Naturalist?

The term “naturalist” may evoke the names of Rachel Carson, John Muir, Terry Tempest Williams and other notable naturalists whose writings and community involvement brought their love and passion for nature into the lime light. However,  naturalist is simply anyone who is passionate about the natural world, and wants to be close to it, learn about it, and share their passions with the community. At the Highlands Center, naturalists study local history of the Central Arizona Highlands and learn how to share their enthusiasm with the community.

Naturalist Certification Program

The certification program is run by Highlands Center education staff, supplemented by local professors and experts in their fields of study. Classes and field trips focus on the natural history of the Central Arizona Highlands. 

The following topics may be explored during classes and field trips:

  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Geology
  • Weather & climate
  • Ornithology
  • Entomology
  • Flora
  • Methods of teaching & guiding others in their discovery of nature

Graduates of the program go on to lead Naturalist Field Walks and run special programs for the Highlands Center! In addition, Naturalists may participate in an onsite, ongoing phenology study, and many other community programs through the Highlands Center.

Naturalists training classes are scheduled on a monthly basis with additional class offerings throughout the year. The Highland Center’s Community Nature Study Courses (in late winter) are among a variety of additional course requirements. Highlands Center staff works with each Naturalist in training to ensure the generation of a deep understanding of the natural history of the Central Arizona Highlands, the development of skills to use various techniques and tools as a Naturalist, and join our community as an inspirational educator.

Naturalist Certification Application

For more information contact the Education Department at 928-776-9550.

2017 Application and Handbook information coming soon.

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