Fulfill your dream of becoming a naturalist!

Our Natural History Field Studies courses, offered quarterly on a rotating basis, provide a unique opportunity to learn natural science from experts while exploring the ecosystems of the Central Atlantic region. Intended for the lay person and taught at the college freshman level, these evening courses are open to anyone at least 18 years old. Individual courses are useful to professional and amateurs alike in acquiring knowledge of specific subject matter and enhancing enjoyment of the out-of-doors.

The Natural History Field Studies curriculum has been designed to provide participants with a comprehensive and stimulating overview of the regions natural history and conservation issues with an emphasis on learning in the field. A Certificate of Accomplishment is awarded for completion of a required curriculum of 39 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) taken in five subject areas.

Classes are offered at the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, MD, and the metro-accessible Capital Gallery (L’Enfant Plaza stop) in downtown DC. The Natural History Field Studies program is cosponsored by the Audubon Naturalist Society and the Graduate School USA. NHFS Instructor Bios

January 22–April 2, 2018

Winter Bird Life
NATH7163E, 1.5 CEUs

Class day and time: Mondays, 7-9 pm
Class duration: January 22-February 26
Field trip dates: February 3 and February 10
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $269
Instructor: Gemma Radko
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Woodland birds are easy to sight in winter when leaves are off deciduous trees, and waterfowl are numerous and easy to locate. Learn about avian winter survival strategies, how to attract overwintering birds, where to look for birds in winter, and the essential connection between waterfowl and the Chesapeake Bay. Two field trips will provide opportunities to identify and study winter birds and their behavior. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled. Image credit: Peter Massas

U.S. Conservation History
NATH8252E, 3 CEUs
Class day and time: Tuesdays, 7-9 pm
Class duration: January 23-March 27
Field trip dates: February 10 Patuxent Research Refuge; February 23, Aldo Leopold film screening at Woodend; March 3, Rachel Carson house in Silver Spring, MD; 
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $365
Instructor: Jean Mansavage
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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. 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 shaped 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. Three field trips permit students to observe how past conservation efforts have given rise to our current-day programs. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled. Image credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Animal Behavior CANCELLED
NATH1151E, 2 credits or 3 CEUs
Class day and time: Tuesdays, 7-9 pm
Class duration: January 23-March 27
Field trip dates: March 3 and one TBA
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $365
Instructor: Jane Huff
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Develop your skills in observing the behavior of animals while learning the basic concepts and theories of modern ethology. Learn the physical and physiological bases for the ways animals do things and the evolutionary and ecological contexts for what they do. Two field trips and examples drawn from familiar animals will help you understand what you see as you learn to recognize patterns of communication, aggression, social behavior and species interactions. ACE College Credit Recommendation Service Reviewed. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled.

Human Ecology
NATH8280E, 3 CEUs
Class day and time: Wednesdays, 6:45-9:15 pm
Class duration: January 24-March 21 (no class March 14)
Field trip date(s): February 17 and March 17
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $365
Instructor: Gogi Kalka
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Although existing in habitats of their own design, humans cannot escape the biological and physical constraints on energy use, food production, population growth and interactions with other species. Applying ecological principles, students will examine our role in pressing environmental problems such as global climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation and learn to critically evaluate possible solutions. We will explore renewable energies, sustainable food systems and other inspiring global and local sustainability initiatives. Recommended prior course: Introduction to Ecology (NATH1160E), or equivalent. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled. Image credit: NASA

Land-Use Principles
NATH8255E, 3 CEUs
Class day and time: Wednesdays, 6-8 pm
Class duration: January 24-March 28
Field trip dates:  February 10, March 3 and March 17
Location: Capital Gallery, DC (L’Enfant Metro)
Tuition: $365
Instructor: Katherine Nelson
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Land use planning decisions made in your community affect you every day: your decision to walk, drive or bike; the placement of parks and green space; your sense of place and connection to the past. Gain a working understanding of the legal and regulatory principles as well as the political forces at work in making land use decisions. Sustainable design and smart growth propose solutions to the tradeoffs between land and people, economic development and environmental protection.  This course integrates aspects of ecosystems, conservation, and human ecology to explore how you can influence our existing and future built environment to fit into the natural environment. Field trips allow you to see how the principles and practices are being applied close to home. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled. Image credit: Alan Scott Walker