“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

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.

Bios Instructors.pdf

SPRING CLASSES
April 13 – June 22, 2020

We’re sorry, but spring classes have been cancelled due to COVID 19 concerns.  We hope you’ll join us for the summer term.

The Living Soil                                                                                  
NATH1175E, 3 CEUs 
Class night and time: Mondays, 6:30-8:45 pm
Class meetings: March 30-June 1
Field Trip Dates: April 18, May 9 and 30 (9 am-1 pm)
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, Chevy Chase, MD
Tuition: $365
Instructor: Katherine Nelson
REGISTER ONLINE 

Knowledge of soils is basic to understanding plant communities and ecosystems. Examine the nature of soils and their influence on environment. Learn the structure, properties and the classification of soils and the significance of these factors to plant growth and other uses. Discover life in the soil, and study the soil groups and natural land resource areas of the Central Atlantic region. Previous courses in wetlands and biology are helpful. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled.

Biology for Naturalists                                                                     
NATH1110E, 3 CEUs                                               
Class night and time: Tuesdays, 7-9 pm
Class meetings: April 14-June 16
Field trip dates: April 25, May 16 and 30 (inclement weather date June 6)
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, Chevy Chase, MD
Tuition: $365
Instructor: Paula Wang
REGISTER ONLINE

Explore the basic biological principles and processes that govern the natural world. Our evolutionary and ecological lens focuses on mechanisms, patterns, relationships, adaptations, and environmental influences. Topics include the cell and the genetic basis of life; evolution; biological diversity and the tree of life; a comparative survey of the plant and animal kingdoms; and an introduction to ecology. Labs, outdoor activities and field trips provide hands-on opportunities to apply course content. This course is recommended background for other courses in the Natural History Field Studies Certificate program. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled.

Microbial Ecology  NEW                                                             
NATH7300E, 1.5 CEU
Class night and time: Tuesdays, 7-9 pm
Class meetings: April 14-May 12
Field trip dates: April 25 and May 2
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, Chevy Chase, MD
Tuition: $269
Instructor: Lynn Rust
REGISTER ONLINE
Study the biological and chemical contributions of microorganisms (bacteria, Archaea, protists, algae) to higher-order systems. Examine the contribution of microbes to microbiomes within higher plant and animal organisms; soil, freshwater, and ocean ecosystems; global nutrient cycling; and human-designed environmental systems. Field trips will explore the role of microbes in composting and ocean sponge microbiomes. Image credit: Serenella Linares.  If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled.

Spring Flower Identification                                                            
NATH7135E, 3 CEUs                                                           
Class night and time: Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 pm
Class meetings: April 15-June 10
Field trip dates: April 25, May 9, 23, and 30; students must attend 3 of the 4 trips.
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, Chevy Chase, MD
Tuition: $365
Instructor: Sujata Roy
REGISTER ONLINE

Learn to recognize common spring wildflowers. Increase your enjoyment of the season by learning about flower identification, the relationships of plants, and how they are classified. Gain an appreciation for the rich flora of the Central Atlantic region through study of the principal spring-blooming plant families in the area. Field trips emphasize practice in recognizing diagnostic characteristics and in using identification keys. The field trips feature some of the area's best wildflower locations. Recommended: a 10x hand lens. If minimum student enrollment is not reached by one week before the scheduled start date, the course may be canceled.