Inspiring the desire to learn and share Tennessee's natural world
The Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP) is a 10-month training course designed to introduce the natural history of Tennessee to interested adults. Graduates become a part of a community of Tennessee Naturalist volunteers providing environmental education, outreach, and service dedicated to the appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.
What is a Tennessee Naturalist?
Tennessee Naturalists are trained volunteers. They:
- receive 40 hours of instruction combined with hands-on fieldwork on various aspects of the state's natural history -- geology, flora, wildlife, watersheds -- as well as exposure to ecological concepts and conservation issues.
- complete 40 hours of volunteer service to earn certification.
- help monitor and maintain the quality of our native ecosystems through a variety of citizen science projects.
- work with nonprofit organizations in preserving and maintaining our natural heritage.
- serve as environmental ambassadors in their communities assisting with public interpretive programs reaching school children and others across the state.
What is the role of a Tennessee Naturalist?
After training, Tennessee Naturalists are encouraged to engage in different types of nature-based volunteer activities, such as helping with a nature outreach program at a park, nature center or school; assisting with the collection of scientific data for a bird census, water quality assessment, or rare plant monitoring; working on trail building/maintenance projects; and helping with habitat restoration projects.
How Do I Become a certified Tennessee Naturalist?
To become a certified Tennessee Naturalist, you must complete the series of (10) TNP training courses offered by one of several chapters throughout the state AND perform a minimum of 40 hours volunteer service. Program costs include all classes, study guides and course handouts. Please be aware that the fieldwork portion of the course can be physically demanding at times with hiking steep hills, rough terrain and night activities.
For a list of chapters and more information, visit the Tennessee Naturalist Website