“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to take classes in the NHFS program. Most environmental education is aimed at children and youth.  Because nature programming wasn’t a part of my suburban childhood (and I might not have cared about it or retained it in any case) I am thrilled to be able to learn about natural history as an adult – ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears.’ Thanks to the Audubon Naturalist Society, natural history is becoming a passion.”  Field Studies student R. Gray

This unique continuing education program for adults provides a comprehensive and stimulating view of our region’s natural history and conservation issues. Taught at the college freshman level, these courses are open to anyone 18 years of age or older, professionals and amateurs alike. A Certificate of Accomplishment in Natural History is awarded to those choosing to complete a required curriculum of 39 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), but anyone can enroll in any class for the sheer pleasure of learning.

Registration Info for Natural History Field Studies Classes
Registration is now being handled completely online by the Audubon Naturalist Society (not the Graduate School USA) through our adult program registration system.

  • Questions? Contact pam.oves@anshome.org.
  • Refund Policy for NHFS classes: ANS will provide you with a refund (minus a $25 administration fee) if you cancel your enrollment no later than the day following the first class lecture. After this date, no refunds will be provided. In the event of a course cancellation due to insufficient enrollment or other events beyond our control, we will notify you as soon as possible and provide you with a full refund.

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, NHFS classes are being offered via online Zoom sessions with some courses offering optional in-person field trips as well. Students can register for the virtual lecture sessions only, or for lectures plus field trips, assuming space is available. NOTE: The locally-based field outings will be limited to groups of 8 participants, with mask-wearing and social distancing required. Different courses may offer different field trip options, so please read the course description carefully before registering.

SUMMARY OF REQUIRED COURSES

Bios Instructors

WINTER 2021 CLASSES
January 19 – March 23, 2021

CHESAPEAKE BAY ECOSYSTEMS FIELD TRIP OPTION FULL
NATH8216, 3 CEUs
Class night and time: Mondays, 6-8 pm (Please note that the class time has changed from the tentative listing in our Winter Naturalist Quarterly.)
Class meetings: January 25-March 22 (Class will meet on Feb. 15, Presidents’ Day.)
Field trip dates: March 13 and TBA (if second field trip does not run, students will be refunded $30)
Lectures: via Zoom
Online lectures only: members $240, nonmembers $265
Online lectures + 2 field trips: members $300, nonmembers $330
Instructor: Terry McTigue
The largest and at one-time most productive estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay is an integral part of our natural and national history. This course will focus on the dynamic nature of estuarine environments through study of the interaction between basic physical, chemical and biological cycles and processes in the Bay. Lectures will also discuss the interaction between nutrients and overall productivity affecting the current health of the Chesapeake ecosystems. Effects of pollution, resources management, and the processes that influence temperature and salinity distributions will also be examined. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be cancelled. REGISTER ONLINE

Image credit: Jennifer Schmidt 

Required text:
Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Third Edition, 2006 by Lippson, A.J. and R.L. Lippson. Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN: 0801883385

Teresa McTigue is an ecologist with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, located in Silver Spring, MD. Her science portfolio is diverse, ranging from coastal ecology and restoration to the restoration of mesophotic and deep sea coral communities to work in the forecasting of harmful algal blooms.  Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University.

U.S. CONSERVATION HISTORY REGISTRATION CLOSED
NATH8252, 3 CEUs
Class night and time: Tuesdays, 6-8 pm (Please note that the class time has changed from the tentative listing in our Winter Naturalist Quarterly.)
Class meetings: January 19-March 23
Lectures: via Zoom
Online lectures only: members $240, nonmembers $265
Instructor: Jean Mansavage
Through readings, lectures, and class discussion this course examines the development of environmental conservation thought and practice in the United States from the pre-colonial era through the early twenty-first century—and how past conservation efforts have given rise to our current-day programs. The course also considers how land and natural resources have fundamentally shaped the lives of the country’s inhabitants and, in parallel, how Americans’ perceptions of the environment and its resources have affected the natural world. Topics include human views of nature and wilderness; U.S. land dispersal policies; the creation of National Parks, Forests, and Wildlife Refuges; principal conservation policies from 1900-1964; and the environmental and ecology movements from 1960-2000s. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be cancelled. REGISTER ONLINE

Image credit: National Park Service

Required texts:
Down To Earth: Nature’s Role in American History (3rd edition) by Ted Steinberg, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0-19-979739-4

Preserving the Nation: The Conservation and Environmental Movements, 1870-2000 by Thomas R. Wellock, Publisher: Harlan Davidson, Inc., ISBN: 978-0-88295-254-3

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0-19-5-5305-2

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, Houghton Mifflin Co, ISBN: 0-618-25305-x

Jean Mansavage is a senior historian in the U.S. Air Force Historical Studies Office. She performs primary historical research, conducts oral histories, and writes responses to inquiries from Congress, the military, and the public. She is the author of several works about conservation on military lands, military land acquisition, and conscientious objectors to war. Ph.D., History, Texas A&M University.  

INTRODUCTION TO WINTER TREE ID FULL - WAITLIST OPEN
NATH7147E, 1.5 CEUs
Class night and time: Thursdays, 7-9 pm
Class meetings: January 21, February 4, 18, March 4
Field trip dates: Group A: January 23 and February 20; Group B: January 30 and February 27 (Groups will be assigned after registering based on preference and availability)
Locations: Little Bennett Regional Park and Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary (10 am-1 pm)
Lectures: via Zoom
Online lectures only: members $120, nonmembers $132
Online lectures + 2 field trips: members $180, nonmembers $198
Instructor: Bradley Simpson
Winter unmasks nature, revealing our local trees in their most skeletal form. Students will be introduced to the ID of the most common trees--and some shrubs­--around the DMV through the study of the “bare bones” of plants: branching structure, bark, buds, and leaf scars. Lectures, reinforced by optional field trips, will help students develop these observational skills while also using clues such as persistent or fallen fruits and leaves, aromatic twigs, and habitat to identify trees in the winter landscape. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be cancelled. REGISTER ONLINE

Image credit:  Jane Shelby Richardson

Required text:
Winter Tree Finder
 (available at the ANS bookshop) by Mary Theilgaard Watts and Tom Watts

Bradley Simpson is the Restoration Manager for the Audubon Naturalist Society, working to improve habitat quality at Woodend Nature Sanctuary. He has led the effort to survey the trees of Woodend's forest, tagging over 4,000 trees. B.S., Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Wildlife Ecology and Habitat Management, University of Maryland.