Volunteer Naturalists – Sharing Nature

Volunteer Naturalist Training

Boulder County enjoys a unique and spectacular setting along the Front Range of the Southern Rocky Mountains, rising over 9,000 feet in elevation from the western reaches of the Great Plains to the dizzying heights of 14,259-foot Longs Peak. The climatic and biological diversity reflected in our modestly-sized county (750 square miles) is analogous to a 2,500 mile journey from Boulder to Fairbanks, Alaska! Volunteer naturalists have played a significant role for almost 40 years in sharing their appreciation of this unique natural heritage with the community.

Volunteer Naturalist Program

The Volunteer Naturalist Program was created in 1975, when the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department was founded. Over the years the program has grown from a handful of volunteers to over 100 naturalists, who present 250 to 300 natural history programs a year for children, families, seniors, and the public.

Volunteer naturalists lead nature hikes and indoor programs focusing on geology, wildlife, wildflowers, trees, birds, butterflies, and more.

The interpretive possibilities are so diverse in Boulder County that many volunteer naturalists continue to learn and volunteer for five, 10, 15, 20 years and longer. On a yearly basis, volunteer naturalists conduct about 80 percent of all natural history programs. The significant contributions made by volunteer naturalists is recognized by the department and reflected in one of the department’s goals: To provide public outreach, partnerships and volunteer opportunities to increase awareness and appreciation of Boulder County’s open space.

Time to Apply!

If you enjoy exploring and sharing the natural wonders of Boulder County with others, then you should consider becoming a volunteer naturalist.

We are now accepting applications for the 2015 volunteer naturalist training class. We are looking for people with a passion for nature, some knowledge of local natural history, and a strong desire to learn more and share their passion with others. This year, we are especially looking for people interested in sharing nature with children, both on the trail and in the schools. Volunteer naturalists lead interpretive nature hikes in county parks, present public natural history slide programs, and provide hands-on environmental field experiences for Boulder County schools.

Upcoming Volunteer Naturalist Training

A 10-week training program is required. Training will be held on consecutive Thursdays, January 8 through March 12, 2015, from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Participants must be at least 18 years old and attend all training sessions. Because many of our requested programs are scheduled Monday through Friday during daytime hours, applicants also must have some ongoing weekday availability. Following training, volunteer naturalists are asked to assist in planning and conducting six interpretive programs by the end of 2015.

To learn more or apply, visit BoulderCountyOpenSpace.org/volnat. For additional information, please contact Larry Colbenson at 303-678-6214 or lcolbenson@bouldercounty.org. The application deadline is Friday, November 21, 2014, or when the class is filled.