This year's class for the Tennessee Naturalist Program/South Cumberland is now FULL.
Registration for next year's class will open in June of 2019. If you would like to get on the "wait list" for the next class, visit https://www.friendsofsouthcumberland.org/tn-naturalist-program.html for more info and to sign up.
The Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP) is an education training course designed to introduce the natural history of Tennessee to interested adults, with chapters across the state. Graduates join a critical corps of volunteers providing nature education, outreach, and service to the park. Since 2011, the Friends have offered its members the opportunity to become certified as Tennessee Naturalists by completing a series of ten classes, and completing 40 hours of service to environmentally-focused organizations.
The ten, four-hour sessions run from September to May with meetings averaging once a month, usually on Saturday mornings, with a "winter break" in December and January. Classwork is divided between lectures, hands-on activities and many hours of outdoor immersion. Topics include local geology, forests, animals, plants, fungi, aquatic biology and astronomy. The fieldwork portion of the course can be physically demanding, with hikes on steep hills, rough terrain and some night activities.
The cost of the course is $250 per person if you are a current Friends member. Non-members may participate for $275, which includes a year's membership in the Friends. Participants receive a field notebook, hand lens, and a jump drive containing all class materials. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and is limited to the first 22 individuals.
See photos from some of our Tennessee Naturalist classes: