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catphil1213 72dpiRecertified as one of the 
"finest smaller charities
Greater Washington has to offer" 
by the Catalogue for Philanthropy

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Continuing Education
Natural History Field Studies Program

Cosponsored with the Graduate School USA since 1961

Did you know that when you sign up for a NHFS course a portion of your tuition comes back to ANS? Income from this unique program helps us carry out our dual mission of environmental education and conservation in the greater DC metro area.


Spring | Summer | Certificate Program/Required Courses | Registration | Instructor Bios | Student Profiles

Fulfill Your Dream — Become a Naturalist!

nhfs0309Thirty-six Natural History Field Studies courses, offered quarterly on a rotating basis, provide a unique opportunity to learn natural science from experts while exploring the ecosystems of the Central Atlantic region. Intended for the lay person and taught at the college freshman level, these evening courses are open to anyone at least 18 years old. Individual courses are useful to professional and amateurs alike in acquiring knowledge of specific subject matter and enhancing enjoyment of the out-of-doors.

The Natural History Field Studies curriculum has been designed to provide participants with a comprehensive and stimulating overview of the regions natural history and conservation issues and applications with an emphasis on learning in the field. A Certificate of Accomplishment is awarded for completion of a required curriculum of 26 credits (39 Continuing Education Units, CEUs), taken in five subject areas. For more information on certificate courses offered, please email the certificate counselor or call 202-314-3320.

Classes are offered at several locations around the Washington, DC area, including the Audubon Naturalist Society's Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, MD, and the metro-accessible Capital Gallery (L'Enfant Plaza stop) in downtown DC. The Natural History Field Studies program is cosponsored by the Audubon Naturalist Society and the Graduate School USA.

Instructors Needed
The Field Studies program is looking for instructors who can teach the following courses: Mammals; Mushrooms; or Wildlife Ecology. If you are interested in applying for one of these positions, or you know someone you can recommend, please email Cecily Nabors.

NHFS e-mail group
Have you ever taken a Natural History Field Studies class? Then join the NHFS e-mail group to keep in touch with other students, share natural history information and learn about nature outings and student events. Email Brady Hartley to join.


Spring Courses 2014
April 7 - June 14


FeathersIntroduction to Ornithology
NATH7118E, 3 CEUs 
Class Night and Time: Mondays, April 7-June 16, 7-9 pm
Field Trip Dates: April 26, May 24 and June 14
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Gemma Radko
Register Online
Learn about birds and their special characteristics. Study their external and internal anatomy, feather structure, plumage, special adaptations, flight, migration, courtship, mating, nesting, eggs, incubation, care of the young, habitats, ecology, behavior, conservation, evolution, classification, distribution, worldwide birds and bird-related activities. Field trips emphasize field identification, bird song and other behavior.

Required textbook: The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior by Chris Elphick, John B. Dunning Jr., David Allen Sibley, 2011. Alfred A. Knopf, NY.

Biology for Naturalists
NATH1110E, 2 credits 
Class night and time: Tuesdays, April 22-June 17, 7-9 pm 
Field Trip Dates: May 10, May 24, June 14
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Jane Huff
Register Online
Explore basic biological principles and theories with hands-on examples drawn from the natural world around us. Understand the classification and adaptations of organisms as we explore living things. Outdoor activities and field trips will help you develop the naturalist's way of seeing. This course is recommended background for other courses in the Natural History Field Studies Certificate program. ACE College Credit Recommendation Service Reviewed.

Recommended textbook: Exploring the Way Life Works by Hoagland, Dodosn & Hauck (latest edition). Jones & Bartlett pub. paperback

Freshwater Ecosystems

NATH8207E, 3 CEUs
Class night and time: Tuesdays, April 8-June 10, 6-8 pm
Field Trip Dates: April 12 and May 17
Location: Capital Gallery, DC (L'Enfant Plaza Metro Stop)
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Jai Cole
Register Online
This course will focus on the foundations of Freshwater Ecology. Topics covered will include basic water chemistry, geology, stream flow dynamics, benthic macroinvertebrate and freshwater fish ecology and identification, ecological interactions, stormwater management and ecosystem restoration. The focus will be on stream systems but lakes and wetlands will be covered as well. The field trips will visit a stream restoration site to talk about the dynamics that go into design and construction and to look at different freshwater ecosystems and become familiar with the organisms that inhabit them.

Required textbook: Pond and Brook, a guide to nature in freshwater environments by Michael J. Caduto, University Press of New England 

NorthernCopperheadReptiles & Amphibians 
NATH8276E, 3 CEUs
Class night and time: Wednesdays, April 9-June 11, 7-9 pm
Field Trip Dates: April 26, May 3 and May 17
Location: Oakton High School, VA
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Liam McGranaghan
Register Online
The course is an introduction to identification, life cycles and ecology of common reptiles and amphibians in Northern Virginia. Emphasis is placed upon the diversity of local herpetological fauna. Reptile and amphibian systematics will be reviewed and behavior, populations, ecology, and species preservation will also be discussed.

Required textbook: Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians
Required textbook: Peterson's Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern North America

Spring Flower Identification

NATH 7135E, 3 CEUs
Class night and time: Wednesdays, April 2-May 28, 6:30-8:30 pm
Field Trip Dates: April 5, April 19, May 3, May 17 (must do 3 of the 4)
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Sujata Roy
Register Online
Learn to recognize common spring wildflowers. Increase your enjoyment of the season by learning about flower identification, the relationships of plants, and how they are classified. Gain an appreciation for the rich flora of the Central Atlantic region through study of the principal spring-blooming plant families in the area. Field trips emphasize practice in recognizing diagnostic characteristics and in using identification keys. The field trips feature some of the area's best wildflower locations. Recommended: a 10x hand lens. 

Required textbook: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb
Recommended textbook: Wildflowers in the Field and Forest by Steven Clemants and Carol Gracie, 2006, Oxford University Press 

SOIL PROFILEThe Living Soil 
NATH1175E, 2 credits
Class night and time: Wednesdays, April 2-May 21, 6-8 pm
Field Trip Dates: April 19, May 3 and May 17, 9 am-1 pm
Location: Capital Gallery, DC (L'Enfant Plaza Metro Stop)
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Katherine Nelson
Register Online
Knowledge of soils is basic to understanding plant communities and ecosystems. Examine the nature of soils and their influence on environment. Learn the structure, properties and the classification of soils and the significance of these factors to plant growth and other uses. Discover life in the soil, and study the soil groups and natural land resource areas of the Central Atlantic region. Previous courses in wetlands and biology are helpful. ACE College Credit Recommendation Service Reviewed.

Required textbook: Elements of Nature and Properties of Soils by Nyle C. Brady and Ray R. Weil 


 Summer Courses 2014
June 23 - August 30

Wetland Ecosystems
NATH 8211E, 3 CEUs
Class night and time: Mondays, 6-8 p.m.
Class meetings: June 23–August 25
Field Trip Dates: July 12, 19, and 26
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Terry McTigue
Register Online
The National Capital area harbors a rich variety of wetlands, ranging from bogs to tidal marshes. Become familiar with the landscape and ecological processes that form wetlands and how to identify the plants and animals commonly found in wetlands. Gain an understanding of wetland conservation, including wetland restoration, and policy.

HoneyBeeInsect Life
NATH 7130E, 3 CEUs
Class night and time: Mondays, 7-9 p.m.
Class meetings: June 23-August 25
Field Trip Dates: TBD
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $355
Instructor: Cathy Stragar
Register Online
Learn to identify insects and discover their roles in the balance of nature. Study their life histories, the ecologies of important insect forms, the necessity of insects in biotic communities and principal insect families of the Central Atlantic region.

Butterflies and Their Conservation
NATH 8275E, 1.5 CEUs
Class night and time: Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m.
Class meetings: June 10-July 1
Field Trip Dates: June 14, 21 and 28 (must do two of the three trips)
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $259
Instructor: Pat Durkin
Register Online
Small-scale conservation projects can do much to help butterflies, whose populations are increasingly impacted by urbanization and other factors. Participants will learn to identify butterflies of the region, study the principles of butterfly conservation, and work on plans for their own conservation projects, based on an expanded understanding of butterfly biology, behavior and habitat requirements. Two all-day and one half-day field trips will include butterfly conservation projects and a variety of habitats. Students will participate in surveys for the Baltimore Checkerspot Restoration effort in Maryland and in the West Virginia Butterfly Survey in Harper’s Ferry, and will visit successful butterfly gardens.

Agrocybe pediadesIntroduction to Fungi
NATH 8230E, 1.5 CEUs
Class night and time: Wednesdays, 7-9 p.m.
Class meetings: August 6-27
Field Trip Dates: August 9 and 23
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $259
Instructor: Tovi Lehmann
Register Online
Fungi are incredibly diverse and fascinating organisms that have been shaping the terrestrial biota in many ways we are just beginning to discover and understand. Fungi evolved rather unique strategies of exploitation and cooperation with other organisms. We will cover basic biology of fungi (e.g., anatomy & physiology, life-cycles, ecology, and evolution) while focusing on our local fungi to gain a new perspective and appreciation of their place in the forest around us.

Summer Wildflower Identification
NATH 7149E, 1.5 CEUs
Class night and time: Wednesdays, 7-9:15 p.m.
Class meetings: July 9-30
Field Trip Dates: July 19 and 26 with optional kayaking field trip at Fletcher’s Boathouse on August 2
Location: Woodend Sanctuary, MD
Tuition: $259
Instructor: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Register Online
From milkweeds and morning glories to orchids and asters, summer presents a diverse array of wildflowers for study of plant family characteristics and ways to identify different species. Field trips to two scenic locations for summer wildflowers provide an opportunity for practice in the use of identification guides. Previous Spring Flower Identification class or similar course is recommended but not required.


Registration is Easy! You can sign up ...

  • Online HERE
  • By phone: 202-314-3320 or toll free at 888-744-GRAD
  • By fax: 866-FAX-GRAD or 202-475-6843
  • By USPS:  Registrars Office, Suite 120, 600 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 2004
  • In person at the Registrars office, Mon-Fri, 8 am-7 pm.

Bookshop Open!
On the first night of classes held at Woodend, our Sanctuary Shop will be open for a half hour prior toclass for students to buy books and other items. A special 20% discount will be offered to field studies students. We usually carry textbooks for classes, but call to confirm (301-652-3606).

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 REQUIRED COURSES (complete 26 credits)


Basic Studies (complete 3 courses):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Biology for Naturalists

NATH7110E

2 credits Spring Annually
Geology NATH7125E 2 credits Fall Annually
The Living Soil NATH7175E 2 credits Spring, Fall Annually in Spring;
Fall courses in 2013 and 2014
Weather and Climate NATH7140E 3 CEUs Fall Annually

 
Identification Courses
(complete 3 courses, to include 1 plant and 1 animal course):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Fall Woody Plant Identification NATH7145E 3 CEUs Fall Usually taught simultaneously at two locations; only one in 2014
Fish Ecology and Identification NATH8278E 3 CEUs Spring Next offered in 2015
Insect Life NATH7130E 3 CEUs Summer Annually
Introduction to Ornithology NATH7118E 3 CEUs Spring Annually
Mammals NATH8290E 3 CEUs Winter Seeking instructor
Reptiles and Amphibians NATH8276E 3 CEUs Spring Alternate years; next offered 2014
Spring Flower Identification NATH7135E 3 CEUs Spring Annually
Winter Woody Plant Identification NATH7146E 3 CEUs Winter Annually


Ecosystems (complete 2 courses):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
Introduction to Ecology NATH7160E 2 credits Fall Annually
Eastern Forest Ecosystems NATH8215E 3 CEUs Fall Alternate years; next offered in 2014
Estuarine Ecosystems NATH8206E 3 CEUs Fall Alternate years; next offered in 2015
Freshwater Ecosystems NATH8207E 3 CEUs Spring Annually
Wetland Ecosystems NATH8211E 3 CEUs Summer Annually

  
Conservation (complete 2 courses):

Course Title Course Code CEUs Term Comments
Conservation Philosophy NATH8250E 3 CEUs Winter Alternates with Am. Nature Lit.; next offered in 2014
Land-Use Principles NATH8255E 3 CEUs Winter Annually
Human Ecology NATH8280E 3 CEUs Winter Alternates with Animal Behavior; next offered in 2015


Electives (complete 6 CEUs):

Course Title Course Code Units Term Comments
American Nature Literature NATH8248E 3 CEUs Winter Alternates with Conservation Philosophy;
next offered in 2015
Animal Behavior NATH7151E 2 credits Winter Alternates with Human Ecology; next
offered in 2014
Bird Life NATH7115E 3 CEUs Fall Annually, but not offered in 2014
Birds of North America NATH7167E/1167E 3 CEUs Winter Alternate years; next offered in 2014
Birds of Prey NATH7155E 3 CEUs Fall Seeking instructor
Birds of the World NATH7179 3 CEUs Fall Next offered in 2014
Butterflies and Their Conservation NATH8275E 1.5 CEUs Summer Alternate years; next offered in 2014
Ferns and Lycophytes NAT7148E 1.5 CEUs Summer Alternate years; next offered in 2015
Understanding Evolution NATH8201E 1.5 CEUs Summer Alternate years; next offered in 2015
Introduction to Grasses NATH8225E 1.5 CEUs Summer Alternate years; next offered in 2015
Non-Native Invasive Plants NATH8219E 1.5 CEUs Summer Not currently scheduled
Introduction to Fungi NATH8230E 1.5 CEUs Summer Alternate years; next offered in 2014
Night Sky for Naturalists NATH8100E 3 CEUs Fall Not currently scheduled
Oceanography NATH8310E 3 CEUs Spring Alternate years; next offered in 2015
Owls NATH7165E 1.5 CEUs Fall Alternate years; next offered in 2015
Spring Birding NATH7187E 1.5 CEUs Spring Not currently scheduled
Spring Woody Plant Identification NATH7147E 1.5 CEUs Spring New in 2014
Summer Bird Life NATH7116E 1.5 CEUs Summer Alternate years; next offered in 2015
Summer Wildflower Identification NATH7149E 1.5 CEUs Summer Annually, but not offered in 2015
Wildlife Ecology NATH8265E 3 CEUs Spring Seeking instructor

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