Introduction to the Natural World Course - 2024

Naturalist Course

Introduction to the Natural World Course

An introductory course for the outdoors people interested in learning more about the natural world they are exploring.

The Introduction to the Natural World course is designed for hikers, climbers, photographers, scramblers, and conservationists who want to learn more about the mountains, trails and parks they enjoy. The course is open to members from all branches. Using information from the lectures, homework and various smartphone apps, charts, and guidebooks, you will learn some basic ecological concepts and geologic principles, some natural history, and how to identify flowers, shrubs, trees, birds, tidal creatures, butterflies, fungi and other forms of life found in the Pacific Northwest. Instructors are volunteers, eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for nature. Field trips will be organized with a mix of terrains and distances to accommodate most fitness levels. 

The Lectures: The course includes a 45 minute introductory session and five required 90 minute classes. The classes will begin at 7pm, via Zoom, not at the Seattle Program Center. All of the lectures will be recorded, for students who are not able to participate in the live Zoom sessions. 

Google Classroom will be the platform used for Course materials, recordings, assignments and quizzes. The link to it will be available for registered students and instructors after close of registration on March 15.  Approximately one hour per class of self study will be required to help review the lecture material, to give you some practice and to prepare you for the field trips. This includes: materials to prepare you for the course; four ECOregion videos to watch; and some short quizzes and assignments to complete. The naturalist group has also compiled multiple Resources and "Taking it Further" study guides for participants who wish to go beyond the basics and get more practice. 

Field Trips: We generally offer two local field trips (FT) and two FTs in the mountains. Already established dates and times will be found under the Course listing. They are open only to students. Additional FTs will be listed as needed. Three FTs are required for graduation. The local FTs are about 3-4 hours long, during the day or the evening. Are you from Olympia, Everett or Tacoma? Or Foothills? We'll try to expand our definition of "local" to include FTs appropriate for these areas as well. The mountain trips will be a full day, including travel, and may take place in the Teanaway region, the shrub-steppe of Eastern Washington and in Mount Rainier or Mount Baker National Park. Due to differing snowpack and dates of flowers in bloom each year, we have to wait until a few weeks before the later field trips to post them. We try to offer a variety of trips on weekends and weekdays to accommodate varying schedules. Each student will submit a record of completed FTs using a Google Form for graduation.

The Course goal is to have fun, meet some like-minded folks, and to learn!

Introduction to INW 2024. March 28, 7-7:45pm

Getting to know each other, answering questions, and tips on how to use Google Classroom

Class 1. April 4, 2024 7-8:30pm

Lectures:

  • Abiotic gradients
  • Plants 
  • Trees 

Self Study: Lowland Forest ECOregion 

Required FTs: April 20&21 morning or afternoon; or April 24&25 late afternoon/evening in local area parks: additional Olympia Naturalist FTs April 27 or 28

Class 2. May 2, 2024 7-8:30pm

Lectures:

  • Life History Strategies 
  • Ferns
  • Birds & Migration 

Self Study: Shrub Steppe ECOregion 

Required FTs: May 10-May 13 in local parks, birding; or Dates TBD in shrub-steppe habitat

Class 3. June 6, 2024 7-8:30pm

Lectures:

  • Food webs 
  • Intertidal zones
  • Fungi

Self Study: Ponderosa Pine/Grassland ECOregion 

Required FTs: June 19-23 Central Washington (Swauk Pass or Teanaway); or June 5-8 Low tide beach walks; or shrub-steppe any time. More intertidal during July minus tides.

Class 4. July 11, 2024 7-8:30pm

Lectures:

  • Charismatic insects and pollination
  • Self Study: Alpine ECOregion 

Optional FTs: weekend Fri-Sun August 9-11 at Mount Baker Lodge, Check for other Naturalist activities in alpine areas

Class 5. August 1, 2024 7-8:30pm

Lectures:

  • Habitat diversity
  • Geology 
  • Summary INW 

What’s Next?

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Field Trip 3 - Seattle Naturalists Intro Natural World Course
Table Mountain/Lion Rock
Sat, Jun 29, 2024
Registration closes Jun 27
2 participants on waitlist
0 instructors
Alki Beach Park
Sat, Jul 6, 2024
Registration closes Jul 4
9 participants on waitlist
0 instructors
Alki Point
Sun, Jul 7, 2024
Registration opens Jun 24; Instructor registration open now
4 participants
2 instructors
Lecture 4 - Seattle Naturalists Intro Natural World Course
Online Classroom
Thu, Jul 11, 2024
Registration closed Mar 20
3 participants
24 instructors
Lecture 5 - Seattle Naturalists Intro Natural World Course
Online Classroom
Thu, Aug 1, 2024
Registration closed Mar 20
3 participants
29 instructors
Field Trip 4 - Seattle Naturalists Intro Natural World Course (optional)
Bagley Lakes
Sat, Aug 10, 2024
Registration opens Jul 12; Instructor registration open now
7 participants
0 instructors
Artist & Huntoon Points
Sat, Aug 10, 2024
Registration opens Jul 12; Instructor registration open now
6 participants
0 instructors
Artist Point
Sat, Aug 10, 2024
Registration opens Jul 12; Instructor registration open now
7 participants
0 instructors
Bagley Lakes Loop
Sun, Aug 11, 2024
Registration opens Jul 12
7 participants
Roster
Required Equipment

A smartphone to use free apps

Course Materials

There are no materials for this course.