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Whale Camp

Skills of a Naturalist: Reading Your Landscape

Course Description
Is this plant invasive?  Why is that bird here? Where did those fossils come from? What IS that?! Learn how to answer these and other questions about your local neighbourhood and the rest of the natural world through this skills-based course. Students will learn how to interpret what they see in their local area through the eyes of a natural history specialist, participate in citizen science, and share their newfound nature knowledge with others. Whether one lives in the city, by the sea, on a farm, or in the woods, there is natural history to be explored and protected. Students will finish this course with a variety of shareable skills that they can use anywhere, their own field notebook, and a piece of media (examples include a newsletter, video, or podcast) based on a locale of their choosing.  Students will also have the option to complete additional coursework to qualify for college credits!

Dates: July 13 - 20, 2020
Meet Monday - Thursday mornings virtually from 10:30-11:30am ET followed by daily field naturalist projects offline.
Optional afternoon sessions from 4:00-5:00pm ET for community time (Monday and Wednesday) and structured activities (yoga, painting, trivia, design projects - Tuesday and Thursday).

Cost: $500* for three week program
*College credit option is additional cost. 

Weekly Themes
Week 1: What is a Naturalist? Becoming a Natural History Expert
Week 2: Wildlife Monitoring and Habitat Evaluation 
Week 3: Interpretation and Conservation: Protecting What You Love 

A Day in the Course: 

Day 2: iNaturalist and being a citizen scientist 
  • Introduction to Citizen Science: What it is, why it’s important, and how we’ll practice it throughout this course 
  • Tools for Naturalists and how to use them 
  • Mini Bio Blitz: Practice backyard naturalist skills discussed in Day 1
  • iNaturalist scavenger hunt!

Day 5: Field guides and notebooks
  • Features of a field guide
  • How to use field guides for identifying wildlife
  • Making your own field guide! Students will have time to get familiar with features of field guides and their local area, then will make a guide of their very own that is customized to their interests (ie. if you love birds, you can focus on birds of the area!)

The Whale Camp, Inc. | 54 Academy Rd., Kirkwood, PA 17536 | Phone: (610) 399-1463