Wenatchee Naturalist course

WVC Continuing Education offers Wenatchee Naturalist course

Media Contacts: Michele Gedrose, continuing education program developer, 509.682.6906, Erin Davidson, continuing education program developer, 509.682.6913, or Libby Siebens, community relations executive director, 509.682.6436 (Mon. – Thurs.)

Wenatchee Valley College Continuing Education has partnered with the Wenatchee River Institute and Chelan-Douglas Land Trust to offer the Wenatchee Naturalist course during spring quarter. Participants will learn in the classroom and in the field using a variety of resources to examine native plant and animal life in the Wenatchee River region.

The 10-week course takes place each Wednesday from April 9 through June 11, 6 to 8:30 p.m. in Batjer Hall room 8039 on the Wenatchee campus. Saturday field trips will take place April 26, May 10, May 31 and June 7.

The course is also eligible for 50 teacher clock hours.

Cost is $350, and $315 for people age 60 and over.

This exciting course consists of lectures, extensive handouts, expert guest speakers, hands-on labs, field journaling and citizen science assignments, along with four guided field trips. Students will investigate three ecosystems within the Wenatchee watershed: shrub-steppe, low-elevation montane forest and riparian. They will examine native insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, forbs, shrubs, trees and macro-invertebrates. Students will utilize a variety of resources to identify plant and animal species, including field guides, dichotomous keys, study skins, optical instruments and websites. They will learn to write and draw in the field, and keep a field journal. Throughout the class, students will be introduced to local conservation non-profits and agencies, and a selection of citizen science projects that can be adapted to classroom or personal use.

Susan Ballinger, Wenatchee Naturalist instructorSusan Ballinger, local naturalist and creator of the Wenatchee Naturalist program, was born and raised in Montana. She developed a love of the outdoors that led to master's degrees in biology and education, and a career-long commitment to making science understandable to the non-scientist. Ballinger's passion for experiential learning is evident in her award-winning elementary school curricula for regional school districts, including Shrub Steppen' Up Saddle Rock and River of Power. She is the recipient of numerous local and state awards, and her original work has been published in scientific journals and human-interest magazines. Susan is active with the Washington Native Plant Society, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, and citizen science projects such as eBird and the U.W. RareCare Program.

The Wenatchee Naturalist program has had four successful seasons with the Wenatchee River Institute. The mission of the program is to cultivate awareness, understanding and stewardship of the Wenatchee River region by developing an active corps of well-informed community volunteers.

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Wenatchee Valley College enriches North Central Washington by serving educational and cultural needs of communities and residents throughout the service area. The college provides high-quality transfer, liberal arts, professional/technical, basic skills and continuing education for students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Visit our Web page at www.wvc.edu.