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The trainee segment of the DC Master Naturalist Training Program is scheduled to run from March 9 to April 27. Depending on COVID-19 restrictions, class sessions will be held on weekday evenings and weekends, either online or in-person on the UDC main Van Ness campus and at field locations around DC.

Lectures, workshops, and field exercises will cover the following areas:

  • An introduction to the District of Columbia Master Naturalist Program
  • An introduction to natural history, what is ‘natural,’ and definitions and roles of naturalists.
  • The physical world: atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere; energy, air, water, geology, and geomorphology.
  • The living world: biosphere; taxonomy, biodiversity, adaptation and evolution, and ecology.
  • The ecology of cities: how biota adapts to the built environment; how human society mimics and exploits natural systems; concepts of ecological disturbance, resistance, resilience, and restoration.
  • Urban microorganisms, fungi, and plants; natives, exotics, and invasive plants.
  • Invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals in urban settings.
  • Ecological roles of plants and animals: structure, function, and interactions; the ecological hierarchy; ecosystem services.
  • Introduction to urban landscapes: anthropogenic disturbance; land use and cultural history; mosaics, patches, corridors, pattern, process; interpretation, analysis, and synthesis.
  • Data collection: experimental and monitoring techniques; citizen science; longitudinal studies.
  • Urban ecosystems I: forests and woodlands.
  • Urban ecosystems II: lakes, rivers, and streams.
  • Urban ecosystems III: wetlands and watersheds.
  • Urban environmental management: addressing key environmental issues; management planning; ecological conservation; sustainable development; the naturalist revisited role.

Note: Each session will be led by either UDC faculty or an external partner from a DC government agency, federal agency, or DC-based non-profit organization. Specific details to come shortly.

Explore the natural world around you! More about DC Master Naturalists.... DC Master Naturalists continue to be active members of the program, build close relationships with volunteer organizations and partners, and find a range of ways to support and engage with the broader DC community. The on-going yearly certification requirements allow for continued learning and exploration while developing expertise that enables members to make significant contributions to natural resource management as local experts. For additional program information, please contact Dr. Simon Bird at masternaturalists@udc.edu