Metro now accepting applications for Nature University

Applications due November 3rd. Via Metro:


Learn how to help children and adults discover nature by enrolling in Metro’s unique and intensive naturalist training program.

What is Nature University?

Nature University is a 12-week training course that starts people along the path of becoming naturalists and teachers. Nature University students are introduced to time-honored techniques of nature observation and principles of discovery learning. Students learn about common wildlife and plants, the ecology of wetlands and ancient forests, and effective teaching techniques. Student naturalists go into the field with experienced naturalists to learn how to recognize animal tracks and signs, bird sounds and much more. Learn the importance of careful observation and the use of field guides, skills that can be applied in a lifelong process of learning and sharing with others. No special experience is required but a background in natural history and biology and working with groups is helpful. At Nature University, you receive the training needed to become a qualified and confident Metro volunteer naturalist.

Why have a Nature University?

Every year thousands of children and adults visit Metro’s parks and natural areas on school field trips and for summer programs. Volunteer naturalists make these wonderful experiences possible by helping Metro staff naturalists lead these activities and programs.

If you love nature, enjoy working with children and have access to personal transportation, consider becoming a volunteer naturalist by attending Nature University.

volunteer naturalist on field trip


Nature University classes meet from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, starting the last Tuesday in January and running through mid-April. Classes meet at different locations. There is some homework between class meetings.

Free training and resources

  • Nature University course and training notebook
  • First Aid/CPR training
  • Opportunities for continuing education and training on various natural history topics
  • Fees waived for Metro classes
  • Annual Metro park pass
  • On-going guidance and support from Metro staff naturalists.

Download the Nature University course catalog

Time commitment and requirements

  • A passion and curiosity about the outdoors and a desire to deepen children’s connection to nature
  • A commitment to provide a minimum of 40 hours of service after graduating
  • Ability to help with school field trips in the fall and spring, and some weekdays or weekends in the summer
  • Strong interpersonal skills and judgment
  • Reliable transportation.

Download the Nature University volunteer naturalist position description

Applying to Nature University

The application for Nature University 2012 is now available. Complete the application and email, fax or mail it to the appropriate address on the form.

For more information,
contact Sandy Jamison:

Download the application

Here’s an article from The Portland Tribune in February 2011 about the program.

This entry was posted in "smith and bybee wetlands", education, metro, oxbow regional park, volunteering. Bookmark the permalink.

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