Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently asked questions about the Wenatchee Naturalist Program:

What is the mission of the Wenatchee Naturalist program?  The mission of the Wenatchee Naturalist Program is to cultivate awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the Wenatchee River region by developing an active corps of well-informed community volunteers.

Who can take the Wenatchee Valley College Continuing Education Wenatchee Naturalist course?  The course is designed for curious adults who enjoy learning about the natural world, but have limited formal science training.  Participants take the class to expand their knowledge about the Wenatchee River watershed’s plants, animals, habitats, landforms and key conservation issues. An element of the course is the introduction of a wide array of local conservation organizations, highlighting volunteer opportunities.

How do I register for the Wenatchee Naturalist course? Visit the Wenatchee Valley College Continuing Education website or  call the office at 509-682-6900.  Check your mailbox for the mailed catalogue.

How often will the class meet?   The class meets for 12 consecutive weeks for 2-1/2 hour sessions.   Three all day and one ½-day field trips are part of the 50-hour course.

Are there any tests?  No.  This course is designed to give self-paced adult learners the resources, time and space to explore areas of interest using many learning styles.  A “Learn 100” animal and plant game is part of the course, with weekly mini-quizzes during the last ten minutes of class.

What if I miss a class session? You’ll receive all handouts when you return to class and access to support materials on the class website.  Most busy adults end up having to miss a class or two.

Can I make up a field trip or a class?  Yes.  The instructor shares future dates with all past class members so you can arrange a make-up session.

Beyond tuition, what are the costs?    For field trips, participants will be asked to carpool and share mileage expenses with the volunteer driver.

What type of learning materials will be given to the class members?  Each class participant checks out a loaner resource box filled with a hand lens, field guides, visuals, and publications. Class members have free access to the course website where all texts, photo field guides, and resource links are provided.  A blank field journal is included as part of tuition.  Handouts will be provided at class, as needed.  At least half of each class is interactive and self-directed, using hands-on materials like animal study skin specimens and plant samples with access to dissecting microscopes.

What is the transportation for field trips and what do I need to bring?  We will announce destinations and coordinate logistics for each all-day field trip at the prior week night class. A logistics letter will be provided.  We will meet in both Leavenworth and Wenatchee to carpool.  Class members will be expected to share mileage costs with the volunteer class-member drivers using the IRS rate.  Plan to depart at 8 a.m. and return by 5 p.m. Class members will provide their own sack lunches, beverages, and clothing for all types of weather.  Several restroom stops are part of each field trip.

How much homework time is involved during the 12-week course?  In addition to the 2-1/2 hour class each week, students will be asked to spend at least 30+ minutes at a self-selected field site doing field journaling.  An array of optional reading and reference materials suggestions will be provided weekly.

I’m a teacher and want to sign up for clock-hours.  How does this work?  Sign up with the Wenatchee Valley College for clock-hours, when you enroll.

If you have additional questions, please contact the course instructor, Susan Ballinger at ( ; cell: 509.669.7820)