Field Naturalist Certificate Program

Field Naturalist Certificate Program logo

Become a certified Mass Audubon Field Naturalist! During the 12-week Field Naturalist Certificate Program (FNCP), you'll gain in-depth knowledge of organismal groups and how they are connected while taking part in field research, monitoring, and communication training.  

As a Mass Audubon Certified Field Naturalist, you will make a difference in your community through a volunteer service project that supports local natural resources. Upon successful completion of the classes, fieldwork, and volunteering component, you will receive certification, signifying your expertise as a Field Naturalist. 

Stay in the Loop

Interested in receiving information about future sessions? Just email us to join our mailing list.

We have a long waitlist, so please get on the list sooner rather than later. While we would love to have you join us right away, we keep the cohorts small to facilitate teaching and learning. There is no formal application - each cohort is filled from the waitlist.


Program Details

The FNCP is conducted as an online/in-person hybrid course. Weekly lectures are held online and are supplemented by in-person field days facilitated by expert naturalists every other week.


12 Wednesday evenings online, 6 Saturdays in the field.

We run two sessions each year. Generally, Spring sessions begin in late March, Fall sessions in late August. 


Online evening presentations & field days at various Sanctuaries.

The Spring 2023 course is full. Fall 2023 is scheduled for our West region (Connecticut River Valley and Berkshires). The Spring 2024 course will be held in our Metro West region (including our Drumlin Farm, Habitat, and Broadmoor sanctuaries).

Spring 2023 Fee

Members: $1,200 • Nonmembers: $1,440

Sample Schedule (Spring 2022)

  • 3/23 - Coffee Hour & Introduction
  • 3/30 - Introduction & Connecting with Nature as Lifelong Learners
  • 4/6 - Ecology
  • 4/9 - Field Trip 1: Daniel Webster (Marshfield)
  • 4/13 - Mammalogy
  • 4/20 - Freshwater Ecology
  • 4/23 - Field Trip 2: Moose Hill (Sharon) 
  • 4/27 - Ornithology  
  • 5/4 - Dendrology
  • 5/7 - Field Trip 3: Museum of American Bird Art (Canton)
  • 5/11 - Entomology
  • 5/18 - Herpetology
  • 5/21 - Field Trip 4: Tidmarsh (Plymouth)
  • 5/25 - Mycology
  • 6/1 - Botany
  • 6/4 - Field Trip 5: North River (Marshfield)
  • 6/8 - Climate Justice
  • 6/11 - Field Trip 6: Barnstable Great Marsh/Long Pasture (Barnstable)

Course Goals

  • Understand and be able to articulate the importance of sound ecological management principles, climate change resilience, and land protection 
  • Sharpen your ability to advocate for the environment 
  • Develop a sound base of knowledge of Massachusetts ecology and natural history 
  • Learn field research techniques and methodologies 
  • Gain the skills to continue learning about the environment on your own 

Who Should Attend 

This college-level course is geared to anyone looking to gain deeper knowledge of the natural world in a professional setting. Ideal for those who want to take a more active role in habitat management, educational programming, advocacy, and community science as a volunteer, or for those that are beginning a career in the environmental field. 

Course Modules

Through lectures and hands-on field work participants will gain a comprehensive, integrated understanding of:

General ecology Mammals
Trees (dendrology) Fungi (mycology)
Plants (botany) Aquatic biology
Birds (ornithology) Climate & weather
Insects (entomology) Environmental interpretation
Amphibians & reptiles (herpetology)  


Please contact [email protected].