Naturalist Course

Typical Course Schedule:

The Society for Ecological and Coastal Research’s (SEACR) Marine Naturalist training includes 16 hours of instruction including presentations on local marine ecology and practical naturalist interpretation techniques. Course will be taught by professional marine researchers and naturalists. Course fee is $200 for both days, or $100 per day. It will be held on the University of Victoria campus. Over the two days of the course we will look into marine mammal biology, ecology, adaptation and behaviour as well as key cues to identification. We will also cover skills to being an onboard whale watching naturalist including interpretation skills and how to answer questions from the public. Stories and anecdotes, as well as slides, videos, bones and other visual aids will be used throughout. Experts in their field will also join us for guest sessions to further the topics covered!

A provisional schedule is as follows:

Day 1:

8.30-9.00: Introductions, Course overview

9.00-10.30: History of the human-whale relationship

10.30-10.45: Coffee

11.00-12.30: Biology and evolution of marine mammals (baleen and toothed whales, pinnipeds)

12.30-13.30: Lunch

13.30-17.30: Whale species of BC, species-specific adaptations/facts, identification tips. The use of Passive acoustic monitoring of marine mammals


Day 2:

8.30-10.30: Ecology and behaviour of marine mammals, and its interpretation.

10.30-11.00: Coffee

11.00-12.30: The role of the Naturalist/Interpreter, and how a good Naturalist can make a difference

12.30-13.30: Lunch

13.30-15.00: History of whale watching. Whale Wise rules, compliance to regulations

15.00-17.00: From theory to practice, keeping up to date with the research, and how to address tricky questions.

17.00-17.30: Wrap up.


Why take a Naturalist Training Course?

This course is an excellent opportunity for an individual working towards a job in the marine ecotourism industry. Marine interpretation is fun and challenging work, but it is not for everyone. It is, however, an experience that delivers a unique opportunity for community education and enjoyment of wildlife. Upon completion of the course participants will receive a course pack, a recommended reading list, and a certificate recognized by Professional Whale Watching Operators on the coast.

If you would like to learn more about the evolution and biology of marine mammals this course may also be of interest to you. This course is designed for all levels of interest: those taking to enhance knowledge and general curiosity, as well as being an excellent opportunity for an individual working towards a job in the marine ecotourism industry.