Thank you for your interest. Registration for this year’s training is now closed. Feel free to review the information below about the course. Information about next year’s program will be posted by mid-summer 2023.

To learn more about the structure and content of our training, read the details below. To get started while you wait for next year’s training registration, learn more about becoming an Associate Volunteer HERE, the prerequisite for becoming a Naturalist.

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*Scholarships Available – see base of announcement for details

Newport Bay Conservancy (NBC) is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Upper Newport Bay. The cornerstone of our educational mission is the Naturalist Training course offered annually since 1990, featuring classes and field trips led by experts that provide in-depth knowledge about the natural history and ecology of the Bay and prepare volunteers to share this knowledge with the public as the leaders of our programs. Our Naturalists go on to guide public kayak and walking tours in the Bay, educate students from elementary school through college, lead restoration projects, and share our story with the broader community of our watershed. The course is offered at a nominal fee of $35.


Program Overview
Newly expanded to better support leadership development, the course consists of 2 parts: 

  1. Knowledge-Acquisition component (mid Sept-mid Dec): This includes class sessions on different topics every Thursday evening and Saturday morning over this 12-week period. Trainees will gather knowledge about different aspects of the Bay’s natural history.
  2. Skill-Building and Practice component (Jan-Jun): This flexible component asks trainees to choose a minimum of 6 group meetings (out of a possible 12 meetings), volunteer for at least 2 shifts, and collaborate with other trainees to run a new program. During this period, trainees are building the skills and confidence to take on lead roles in our programs.

At the completion of the program, trainees earn a Newport Bay Conservancy Naturalist name badge and certificate and are honored at a summer volunteer celebration.

For those not yet volunteers with us, the prerequisite for this course is Associate Volunteer Orientation/Training. Learn more about becoming an Associate Volunteer HERE.

All trainees will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 on the first day of the program.

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NBC is pleased to offer four scholarships of a minimum of $250 each (plus waiver of the $35 fee) to people from diverse groups in support of their participation in this year’s Naturalist Training course. Candidates will self-identify in their applications as a member of an under-represented group along lines of race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, or gender/sexuality identification. Applications accepted on a rolling basis until the start of the program. Learn more and apply for this scholarship opportunity HERE.

Any questions can be directed to