Nature University on hiatus in 2018
Metro is always working to improve its nature education programs, and sometimes that means putting a program on hiatus to take a hard look at it. While Nature University takes a break in 2018, parks and nature staff is working with community members and partners to develop inclusive nature programs that fulfill Metro’s commitment to racial equity.
Learn more about Metro’s racial equity strategy. Find more ways to get involved in nature.
Metro’s volunteer naturalists play an integral part connecting thousands of students to the natural world through fall and spring field trip programs. Volunteer naturalists also lead groups of adults and kids on explorations of Metro’s parks and natural areas through events and special projects.
Nature University’s class of 2017
- The application process is complete and the class participants have been chosen for the 2017 Nature University class.
- To be notified when the application for the next class is available, click on "Sign up to be notified when this opportunity is available" at the bottom of the page.
Applicants accepted into Nature University are expected to successfully complete a background check, attend all training sessions and commit to 50 hours of service by the end of the following year.
All volunteers first attend the free Nature University, where future volunteer naturalists receive classroom and field instruction from Metro naturalists. Participants learn about common wildlife and plants, animal tracking, bird identification, the ecology of wetlands and ancient forests, and effective teaching techniques. Participants also learn techniques for nature observation and principles of discovery learning.
Nature University is a nine-month commitment that includes weekly courses late winter through spring, and monthly training sessions in the summer and fall.
Classes take place 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays, late January through mid April in different locations. Participants are expected to attend every class session. Expect some homework between class meetings. Graduates assist with programming April through early November.
Graduates are required to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours – about 10 field trips – leading outdoor education programs within the first year.
Applications are available each fall. Because Metro receives more applications than there are spaces available, not all applicants can be accepted.
No special experience is required, but a background in natural history and biology and working with groups is helpful.
Access to personal transportation is required.
Sign up to be notified when this opportunity is available