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Evening and Weekend Programs: Certificate of Accomplishment in Natural History Field Studies

Home / Evening and Weekend Programs: Certificate of Accomplishment in Natural History Field Studies

Certificate of Accomplishment in Natural History Field Studies

The Natural History Field Studies (NHFS) program has been cosponsored by the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) and Graduate School USA since 1962. ANS is the largest and oldest independent environmental organization in the Washington, DC, region, and has pioneered linking conservation activities with environmental education. The NHFS program provides a unique opportunity to learn natural science from experts while exploring the ecosystems of the Central Atlantic region. The curriculum has been designed to provide participants with a comprehensive and stimulating overview of the region’s natural history and conservation issues and applications, with an emphasis on learning in the field. In addition to meeting in Graduate School USA’s Metro-accessible Capital Gallery location (L’Enfant Plaza station) in downtown DC, classes are offered at several locations around the Washington, DC, area, including the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, MD.

This certificate program is designed for people of all knowledge and skill levels, from the budding naturalist wanting to enjoy the outdoors to the professional practitioner in landscape, horticulture, environmental studies, conservation, etc., pursuing continuing education or needing a refresher course.

Upon completion of the certificate program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the tools and resources to study and analyze the natural history of the Mid-Atlantic in the field.
  • Recognize and discuss the ecological diversity in our local environment.
  • Understand and discuss aspects of our physical environment that determine ecological communities in the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Identify taxonomic groupings that comprise biological relationships.
  • Recognize and identify local, significant, and commonly occurring plants and animals in their habitats.
  • Discuss the history of environmental conservation and its relevance to current issues.

A Certificate of Accomplishment is awarded for completion of a required curriculum of 39 Continuing Education Units(CEUs) (2 ACE credits equates to three CEUs) taken in five subject areas in the following recommended order:

  • Basic Studies: 3 courses
  • Identification: 3 courses (including at least one animal and one plant course)
  • Ecosystems: 2 courses
  • Conservation: 2 courses
  • Electives: 3–6 courses (for a total of 6 CEUs)

Elective options can be selected from any of the electives listed below, or from any course listed below that is not already used to fulfill another requirement for this certificate.

Courses not currently scheduled are linked to the Audubon website, where you can find other naturalist activities provided by the Society.

You may apply for this program online. For more information about this or other certificates, please contact the certificate advisor at (202) 314-3314 or certificates@graduateschool.edu.

Special accommodations may be requested online by requesting ADA Accommodations. All requests must be received at least four weeks prior to the class start date to be fulfilled.

Basic Studies (complete 3 courses):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Biology for Naturalists NATH1110E 2 Credits Sp Annually
Geology NATH1125E 2 Credits Wi Annually
The Living Soil NATH1175E 2 Credits Sp, Fa Annually in Spring; Fall course in 2018
Weather and Climate NATH7140E 3 CEU Fa Annually

Identification Courses (Complete 3 courses to include 1 Plant and 1 Animal course):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Fall Woody Plant ID NATH7145E 3 CEU Fa Annually
Insect Life NATH7130E 3 CEU Su Annually
Introduction to Ornithology NATH7118E 3 CEU Sp Annually
Mammals NATH8290E 3 CEU Fa Alternate years; next offered in 2018
Reptiles and Amphibians NATH8276E 3 CEU Sp Alternate years; next offered 2018
Spring Flower Identification NATH7135E 3 CEU Sp Annually
Winter Woody Plant ID NATH7146E 3 CEU Wi Annually

Ecosystems (complete 2 courses):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Introduction to Ecology NATH1160E 2 Credits Fa Annually
Eastern Forest Ecosystems NATH8215E 3 CEU Fa Alternate years; next offered in 2017
Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems NATH8216E 3 CEU Fa Alternate years; next offered in 2017
Stream Ecology NATHXXXXE 3 CEU Sp Alternate years; next offered in 2018
Wetland Ecosystems NATH8211E 3 CEU Su Annually

Conservation (complete 2 courses):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Human Ecology NATH8280E 3 CEU Wi Next offered in 2017
Land-Use Principles NATH8255E 3 CEU Wi Annually

Elective Courses (complete 6 CEUs):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Animal Behavior NATH1151E 2 Credits Wi Not currently scheduled
Biodiversity NATH7301E 3 CEU Sp Alternate years; next offered in 2017
Bird Life NATH7115E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2018
Birds of Prey NATH7155E 3 CEU Fa Alternate years; next offered in 2018
Butterflies of Early Summer NATH8270E 1.5 CEU Su Alternate years; next offered in 2018
Butterflies of Late Summer NATH8210E 1.5 CEU Su New in 2017
Ferns and Lycophytes NATH7148E 1.5 CEU Su Alternate years; next offered 2017
Introduction to Grass Identification NATH8225E 1.5 CEU Su Not currently scheduled
Introduction to Fungi NATH7203E 1.5 CEU Su Alternate years; next offered in 2018
Night Sky for Naturalists NATH8100E 1.5 CEU Fa Not currently scheduled
Non-Native Invasive Plants of the Mid-Atlantic NATH8319E 1.5 CEU Su Next offered in 2018
Owls NATH7165E 1.5 CEU Fa Alternate years; next offered in 2018
Rock Identification NATH7150E 1.5 CEU Wi Alternate years; next offered in 2018
Spring Birding NATH7187E 1.5 CEU Sp Not currently scheduled
Summer Bird Life NATH7116E 1.5 CEU Su Alternate years; next offered in 2017
Summer Wildflower ID NATH7149E 1.5 CEU Su Annually
Understanding Evolution NATH8201E 1.5 CEU Su Alternate years; next offered in 2017
Wildlife Ecology NATH8265E 3 CEU Wi Not currently scheduled
Winter Bird Life NATH7163E 1.5 CEU Wi Annually