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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

Co-sponsored by the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS)

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 Next offered in 2018
Geology NATH1125E 2 Credits Wi Next offered in 2019
The Living Soil NATH1175E 2 Credits Sp, Fa Annually in Spring; Fall course in 2018
Weather and Climate NATH7140E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2019

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 Next offered in 2019
Insect Life NATH7130E 3 CEU Su Next offered in 2018
Introduction to Ornithology NATH7118E 3 CEU Sp Next offered in 2019
Mammals NATH8290E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2018
Reptiles and Amphibians NATH8276E 3 CEU Sp Next offered in 2019
Spring Flower Identification NATH7135E 3 CEU Sp Next offered in 2018
Winter Woody Plant ID NATH7146E 3 CEU Wi Next offered in 2018

Ecosystems (complete 2 courses):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Introduction to Ecology NATH1160E 2 Credits Fa Looking for instructor
Eastern Forest Ecosystems NATH8215E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2019
Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems NATH8216E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2019
Stream Ecology NATHXXXXE 3 CEU Sp Next offered in 2018
Wetland Ecosystems NATH8211E 3 CEU Su Next offered in 2018

Conservation (complete 2 courses):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Human Ecology NATH8280E 3 CEU Wi Next offered in 2019
Land-Use Principles NATH8255E 3 CEU Wi Next offered in 2018
U.S. Conservation History NATH8252E 3 CEU Wi New in 2018

Elective Courses (complete 6 CEUs):

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Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Animal Behavior NATH1151E 2 Credits Wi Next offered in 2018
Biodiversity NATH7301E 3 CEU Sp Next offered in 2019
Bird Life NATH7115E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2018
Birds of Prey NATH7155E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2018
Butterflies of Fall NATHxxxxE 1.5 CEU Fa New in 2019
Butterflies of Spring NATH8272E 1.5 CEU Su New in 2018. Replaces Butterlfies of Early Summer
Butterflies of Summer NATH8273E 1.5 CEU Su Next offered in 2020. Replaces Butterflies of Late Summer
Chemistry for Naturalists NATH7129E 3 CEU Fa Next offered in 2019
Ferns and Lycophytes NATH7148E 1.5 CEU Su Next offered 2018
Introduction to Grass Identification NATH8225E 1.5 CEU Su Looking for instructor
Introduction to Fungi NATH7203E 1.5 CEU Su 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 Looking for instructor
Rock Identification NATH7150E 1.5 CEU Wi Next offered in 2019
Summer Bird Life NATH7116E 1.5 CEU Su Next offered in 2018
Summer Wildflower ID NATH7149E 1.5 CEU Su Next offered in 2019
Understanding Evolution NATH8201E 1.5 CEU Su Not currently scheduled
Wildlife Ecology NATH8265E 3 CEU Wi Next offered in 2018
Winter Bird Life NATH7163E 1.5 CEU Wi Next offered in 2018