Naturalist Training

Vashon Nature Center - Moth

Do you know this moth? Participate in a VNC naturalist workshop to learn all about local wildlife. Photo credit: Maria Metler

Public Naturalist Workshops

Vashon Nature Center offers naturalist workshops on different nature topics. These workshops can be taken singly or combined in a series. We are working towards a program where those who complete the entire VNC workshop series receive a Salish Sea Naturalist certification, which qualifies them to work as interpreters for Vashon Nature Center. We are also pursuing continuing education credit for teachers. See below or visit our calendar for upcoming workshops.


Naturalist Workshops 2018

Introduction to Nature Observation, January 21st, 2018, 9 am-1 pm, location: Judd Creek Preserve

Join certified tracker Mallory Clarke and learn how to find wildlife by track and sign. We will cover a variety of wildlife observation  techniques including how to: use soot track traps, cast tracks, place wildlife cameras, identify general track characteristics, use field guides to ID tracks, scat, and animal sign. In addition, participants will learn what to look for and measure so that your observations are scientifically credible.

We will cover different ways of recording your observations as well. From personal journals to global databases like inaturalist there are many ways to get into the rhythm of observing nature more closely while at the same time contributing important information about natural history that scientists and land managers can use.

Participants will go home with their own track cast, their own soot track trap, and a burgeoning excitement to get out there and explore!

$35 per person; $25 student rate; $45/for families (up to 2 adults and children, recommended for children 10 and up) all costs for materials are covered in this price.

SIGN UP HERE, limit 15 people!

Past workshops

Lichens and mosses:

Join lichen and moss specialist Phoebe Goit for an intensive session on the biology, ecology, and identification of mosses and lichens. There will be a presentation and a hands-on practicum where we will learn to identify different species. Bring different lichens and mosses in from your property for the practicum! Sign up here. $40 per person, $3o student rate. Space is limited, sign up soon! For more info contact our Education specialist Maria Metler:

Vashon Beach Naturalist Training:

Learn beach critter secrets! Meet nudibranchs face to face! Join a cadre of professional marine scientists and Vashon Beach Naturalists for an intensive and fun course where you will learn everything about beaches on Vashon. Course is offered on four Wednesday evenings combined with four weekend low-tide field trips to a variety of Vashon beaches. Course is free. There is a suggested materials donation and a requirement to volunteer your time on some public beach walks after you have been trained as a naturalist. Course Schedule  Questions? Call Rayna Holtz: 206-463-3153 or email: raynaholtz@ Registration form. Registration will close March 21 or when filled.

Beginning Mushroom Intensive:

We had such a great response to our mushroom workshop offered earlier this winter, that we invited mushroom expert Danny Miller (Puget Sound Mycological Society) back for an all-day intensive! This intensive will cover: 1) Intro to ecology and techniques for mushroom hunting; 2) Overview of edible and poisonous wild and urban mushrooms, as well as poisoning syndromes; 3) Beginning mushroom ID, with hands-on practice; 4) A brief overview of mushroom arts and crafts, and cultivation. Class will be based in the Land trust Bring a lunch. $40 class fee. Register here. Payment due upon registration. We have a limited number of scholarships based on need. Questions: Call Kathryn True: 206-567-5389.  

College Internships

Vashon Nature Center offers a variety of college internship opportunities. These unpaid internships provide hands-on experiences in research and conservation projects. We are open to student ideas, so please contact us to share yours. Past interns have collaborated on GIS mapping projects, notable tree data collection, and restoration monitoring.

Vashon Nature Center - Naturalist Training

Vashon Nature Center teams with Vashon Beach Naturalists in a marine naturalist training for Vashon Watersports guides.
Photo credit: Bianca Perla

Professional Training and Services

Vashon Nature Center experts are qualified to provide specialized training on a variety of nature subjects. We can work with your organization to create a workshop to fit your needs. Examples include: naturalist training for nature guide services; wildlife awareness and safety; teacher training; native plant and winter stem identification course for landscapers; and best planting techniques for restoration professionals. We also teach the ecology section of Vashon College’s Vashon 101 course. Contact us with specific requests.


(Featured photo by Shango Los)