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California Naturalist Graduates

By on May 4, 2016 in News

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is proud to announce the first Ventura County graduating class of the California Naturalist Program!

Cal NatClass of 2016The California Naturalist training is an innovative program developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension to foster a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists trained and ready to take an active role in local natural resource conservation, education, and restoration.

The course was divided into sessions focusing on state and local geology, geography, water, energy, plants, ecosystems, wildlife, and environmental challenges. The lead instructor, Professor Don Rodriguez Department Chair Environmental and Resource Management at CSUCI was joined by local scientists and experts in the various fields. The field trainings were on OVLC preserves and other locations in our Ventura River Watershed.

Twenty one students received their certification at the end of the rigorous six week course. The diverse and committed group completed 40 hours of combined classroom and field training. At the last class the students presented their Capstone projects. Those projects were designed to benefit OVLC and other organizations such as Friends of the California Condor, the Ojai Valley Green Coalition and the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy. The program also recommends a minimum 40 hours of volunteer service to the local community, in the following areas:

• Scientific research — plant identification or data collection
• Environmental monitoring — bird counts, stream sampling, invasive species monitoring
• Restoration or conservation projects — seed collection, native plant propagation, and planting
• Education — docent volunteers, developing signs or brochures, leading nature hikes, making science more accessible to others through support of the Naturalist Program, or other community outreach activities.

The next certification class will be held in early Spring of 2017. OVLC will have an open house this fall to showcase the student projects and begin early bird registrations for next year’s class.


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