The Ontario Naturalist Certification Course Level I

Learn a vast array of naturalist skills from experts in the field. This ten session course provides hands-on learning opportunities for budding and experienced naturalists. In this course you will learn; species identification, ecological significance, biology, memory aids, and threats to local flora and fauna. This new found knowledge will help you experience the natural world in a whole new way.

An ‘Ontario Naturalist Level I’ certificate will be issued when all course modules are completed. In 2018, we will be launching the Ontario Naturalist Level II Certification Course, an advanced level course.

Course dates and times have been determined based on the best season and time of day for viewing wildlife in the field and speaker availability.

Module 1: Spring Wildflowers
Saturday May 6, 9am-12pm
$30 fee if not registering for the certificate course
April showers bring May flowers. Spring is a fantastic time for a walk in an Ontario park, especially before leaf-out. Learn to identify spring wildflowers like trout lily, trilliums, bloodroot, mayapple, and dutchman’s breeches using keys and memory aids.

Module 2: Beginner Birding
Saturday, June 3rd, 9:00am-3:30pm
$80 fee if not registering for the certificate course
Bird watching and backyard bird feeding are two of the most popular hobbies in North America. With a wide variety of birds living in our backyards, nearby parks and outdoor spaces, such popularity is easy to understand. This workshop is a fun and educational introduction to birding and covers topics including: bird ID, feeding backyard birds, field guides, where and when to look for birds, recording field sightings and birding ethics. Join Kristen Martyn, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Barrie and expert birder, to learn the basics of birding.

Module 3: Dragonflies and Damselflies
Saturday June 10, 1-3pm
$25 if not registering for the certificate course
Learn about the fascinating biology, behavior, natural history and migration patterns of some of the world’s most ancient flying animals – the dragonflies and damselflies! Join expert David d’Entremont for a whirlwind tour of these strikingly beautiful insects and venture outdoors to learn some in-the-field identification while observing dragonflies and damselflies in their natural habitats.

Module 4: Tree ID
Saturday, June 24, 9am – 12pm
$30 if not registering for the certificate course
Join Natalie Swaak, an experienced urban forester for an interactive, hands-on training session to increase your Tree ID skills. This course will cover common tree species found in Ontario, natural history knowledge, keys and tips and tricks for identifying tree species.

Module 5: Bat ID & Survey Methods
Tuesday, July 4, 7:30-10pm
$25 if not registering for the certificate course
Learn about the only mammals that can fly and how their incredible echo-location system works! The evening will begin with a presentation covering a wide variety of bat related topics, including the species native to Ontario and threats such as White-nose Syndrome. The participants will then go out onto the Kortright Centre property to view live bats as they forage for insects overhead and identify them using sophisticated audio detection tools!

Module 6: Bees
Saturday, August 26, 9am -12pm
$30 if not registering for the certificate course
This workshop will give you an up-close look into the lives of these incredible insects Learn all about bee biology and identification, their role in our environment, and the threats to their health. We will also tour the active hives and bee education centre at the Kortright Centre. Build a native bee habitat to take home.

Module 7: Advanced Birding
Saturday, Sept. 9, 9am-3:30pm
$80 if not registering for the certificate course
This module is for those who have participated in the “Birding for Beginners” workshop or moved beyond bird watching basics. Our expert birder, Kristen Martyn will delve deeper into the more advanced birding topics including: difficult bird ID, bird calls, birding locations and habitats, optical equipment (binoculars and scopes), other birding equipment, nesting behaviours, Ontario migrations and birding etiquette.

Module 8: Reptiles of Ontario
Thursday, Sept 21, 7-9pm
$40 if not registering for the certificate course
A hands-on workshop featuring live reptiles from around the province! Learn how to identify and conserve Ontario’s snakes, turtles, and lizard from Jeff Hathaway of Scales Nature Park. Learn threats and conservation issues key identification features, distribution, handling techniques, and much more! Participants will have the opportunity to handle various live species.

Module 9: Birds of Prey
Friday, Nov. 17, 7-9:30pm
$40 if not registering for the certificate course
Join Wild Ontario’s naturalists for an evening all about birds of prey! In the first part of this program we’ll cover the basics of biology, natural history and identification. Then meet some of Wild Ontario’s live birds of prey, up close and personal. Finally, head out on the trails as we call to Kortright owls in hopes to hear, or maybe even see, some of Kortright’s elusive nocturnal inhabitants.

Module 10: Methods in Environmental Education
Saturday, Dec. 2, 9am-3pm
$70 if not registering for the certificate course
An important part of being a naturalist is sharing your knowledge with others. This half day session will cover the current methods and practices in environmental education. You will gain hands-on experience in delivering environmental education programming and work with an experienced outdoor educator to learn the principles of environmental education.