Become a Certified California Naturalist at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

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The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is pleased to announce that enrollment is open for its UC California Naturalist Program.  The 10-week program begins on Sept. 6, 2017 and continues through Nov. 8, 2017, at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93105. 

The California Naturalist Program certification introduces students to the wonders of the California Central Coast region’s unique ecology and engages volunteers in the stewardship of our natural communities. Join a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists, trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, restoration, and education.  Participants explore the Central Coast’s natural history through hands-on learning, problem-solving, and community service to instill a deep appreciation and understanding of the natural environment of California and to inspire individuals to become guardians of their local resources. To date, the Garden has graduated more than 115 California Naturalists, who have contributed over 9,000 hours of volunteer service to local environmental organizations, engaging in citizen science, restoration projects, guiding public and school tours, and other program support.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden program is a leader in the California Naturalist Program, beginning with participation in the pilot program in 2012. Our stellar line-up of guest instructors for each class and field trip includes some of our most respected experts on local natural history. In 2014, the Garden led the state in volunteer hours logged by graduates the our program, and Garden docent Carolyn Pidduck earned the California Naturalist Volunteer of the Year award. In 2016, we awarded a certificate to the youngest California Naturalist in the state. Participants come from all backgrounds, from Ph.D. scientists who want to ‘fill a gap’, to newcomers who want a broad overview of natural history in the region. 

The 10-week California Naturalist training program will held on Wednesdays beginning Sept. 6 from 4pm-7:15pm in the Garden’s Blaksley Library. The program costs $360 per student. Applications and registration are available at, or by calling (805) 682-4726 ext. 102.

About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

The Garden is a 78-acre privately funded nonprofit institution that fosters the conservation of California’s native plants through our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model for sustainability. The Garden was founded in 1926 and is among the nation’s oldest botanic gardens focused exclusively on native plants. For more information about the Garden, please visit

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