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what is a certified california naturalist?

The mission of the UCANR Certified California Naturalist Program is to foster a diverse community of naturalists and promote stewardship of California’s natural resources through education and service. Wishtoyo Foundation’s training course is designed to provide First Nations community members with an in-depth understanding of natural and cultural resources in Central/South Coast, with a strong emphasis on integrating Traditional and scientific knowledge.

Find more information on the statewide UC California Naturalist Program HERE.

Apply to Wishtoyo's California Naturalist Program HERE.

Wishtoyo's Summer 2018 program

Wishtoyo Foundation is a Native-led environmental non-profit based in Malibu, CA. Since 1997, Wishtoyo has served coastal communities in traditional Chumash territory, from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo Counties. Our mission is to preserve and utilize the history, lifeways, and legal protections of Chumash and First Nations peoples, and to mobilize the public and its youth to actively engage as protectors of natural and cultural resources.

Wishtoyo’s 2nd Annual California Naturalist course will be held in Summer 2018. Our unique program is designed specifically for California’s Coastal Native Nations and communities, serving a significant need for capacity building and adult education opportunities that incorporate and elevate indigenous perspectives. That being said, this summer we will only be accepting applications from California Coastal Native Nations and community members.

The 11-week training course combines 10 weeks of online instruction culminating in a mandatory 1-week in-person Immersion to be held at Wishtoyo Chumash Village in Malibu, CA. This extended curriculum will focus on Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, coastal ecology, and marine science in addition to the standard California Naturalist curriculum. We are seeking students who can commit to this time frame, have demonstrated interest in furthering their understanding of course topics, and who wish to serve the needs of their community using skills gained through this program.

Participants who successfully complete all course requirements will earn their California Naturalist Certification, and will be eligible for 4 UC general education credits (additional fee). This course is intensive and requires approximately 5 hours of dedicated time per week (including class time).

Course Dates:
Online: May 16 - July 18, 2018
Immersive: July 25 - 29, 2018

Online: Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30PM
Immersive: Overnight camping in Malibu, CA

Registration Fee: $100 to $600. 

The cost to Wishtoyo to host this program totals over $600 per person. However, we do not want your financial situation to prohibit you from participating in our program in any way. If accepted into our course, we ask that you contribute any amount between $100 and $600 that is within your financial means and reflects the value of the course to you.

The registration fee does not include the required textbook. The course handbook is available from Amazon (new) for $30, but you can also find used copies, electronic copies, and some public libraries may carry the handbook for lending.

Please email aliciacordero@wishtoyo.org if you receive any type of public assistance or are a full-time student to qualify for a further adjusted fee. Also payment plans are available upon request.

Course fees are non-refundable and can be paid anytime between now and the second week of class. 

Apply to Wishtoyo's California Naturalist Program HERE.

CLICK HERE to pay online and "Apply My Donation To: California Naturalist Program"
Or mail a check to:

Wishtoyo Foundation
9452 Telephone Rd. #432
Ventura, CA 93004

Lead Instructor and Contact:
Alicia Cordero

How do i apply?

Apply to Wishtoyo's California Naturalist Program HERE. Applications are due by midnight, May 4th, 2018. If the number of applications exceeds the class capacity, a waiting list will be created. If the class is not at full capacity by May 4th, late applications may be accepted. 

All participants will be notified of acceptances by May 9th.


Can I apply if I am younger than 18 years old?
High school students through elders are invited to apply!

Do I need a science or naturalist background to apply for this program?
No - we welcome students of all backgrounds, academic experiences, and levels of knowledge. Please note that this course will require some intensive college-level reading assignments.

What if I cannot complete the course?
Unfortunately, your registration fee is non-refundable and you will not be eligible for the UC California Naturalist Certification. There are no additional cancellation fees.

Do you offer other course dates throughout the year?
We will continue to host this class annually and will be adding Advanced Trainings in the near future.

Do you offer a California Naturalist course for non-Native people?
We will be hosting Advanced Training Classes open to the public in the future.

Are there other locations of California Naturalist courses?
Yes - organizations throughout the state have similar courses which you can find HERE.

How can I make a donation specifically towards this program?
CLICK HERE to make a donation and "Apply My Donation To: California Naturalist Program."