Wenatchee Naturalist

Listen for the song of an American dipper while standing under a four hundred year old cedar tree. Feel the fur of beavers and the soft grey feathers of a great blue heron. Share lunch with a new friend in the breezy shade of a ponderosa pine. Learn from local experts, and find new places close to home to return to time and again.

These are just a few of the experiences Wenatchee Naturalists have during this 12-week course. This class is designed to inspire a deeper connection to the wonders of our valley and to bring new sources of joy to your everyday life. 

Visit the Wenatchee Naturalist website here

About the Course

Wenatchee Naturalist Mission: Our mission is to cultivate awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the Wenatchee River region by developing an active corps of well-informed community volunteers.  

This interdisciplinary 12-week course runs late September through early December at Wenatchee Valley College.

  • We explore three ecosystems - shrub-steppe, riparian, and the low-elevation forest - and focus on 100 common species of the Wenatchee watershed. 
  • During class you can expect to hear from guest scientists and local conservation organizations, as well as participate in hands-on activities, practice using a field journal, and explore a variety of field guides and suggested reading. 
  • Participate in four field trips exploring habitats along the White, Entiat, Columbia, and Wenatchee River corridors, guided by expert guest field scientists.

Tuition includes supplies, a field journal, and loaned equipment. Check out photos of a past class!

Four field trips offer place-based learning in our local ecosystems.
Four field trips offer place-based learning in our local ecosystems.
Stormy Preserve
Visit new places that you can come back to over and over.
Hear from local experts about a variety of topics.
Hear from local experts about a variety of topics.

What People are Saying

"Susan Ballinger is a master teacher. She not only provided engaging guest speakers, expertly orchestrated field trips, fascinating hands-on labs, and expert teaching herself, but her enthusiasm for the subject is contagious."

"This was a life-changer for me. I see my world differently and with more understanding that everything in nature is connected."

"The field trips were fun, to beautiful places and jam packed with learning. The labs gave me a great opportunity to make observations up close." 

"I had never traveled to some of the field trip locations and now will go back over and over again."

"Susan Ballinger, guest speakers, and field experts/guides were outstanding part of this course... The hands on experience she provided made the world of difference in this learning opportunity. She always provided all kinds of resources in materials, websites, and experts in the different fields. Un millón de gracias."

After the Course

After the course, Wenatchee Naturalists have access to all of the materials presented during the class for reference. They also receive a newsletter throughout the year.

A page from a Wenatchee Naturalist's field journal.
A page from a Wenatchee Naturalist's field journal.

For Past Wenatchee Naturalists

Read the most recent Wenatchee Naturalist newsletter!

Volunteer Commitment

Upon completion of the Wenatchee Naturalist program, participants are asked to commit to volunteer with a regional conservation organization of their choice; serving 20+ hours over the course of a one-year period.

How Do I Sign Up?

You can register for the course through Wenatchee Valley College's Continuing Education. 

The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is the organizational sponsor of the Wenatchee Naturalist program. The program is a member of The Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs, the national Master Naturalist professional organization, . If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Susan Ballinger by email or by calling the Land Trust office at (509) 667-9708.