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.
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.