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Northern Naturalist Certificate

Water, shoreline, woods, rolling landscape, dunes, plentiful trees, birds, wildflowers, and wildlife are part of what makes this “up north” region so remarkable.

Take your interest and engagement to a new level by earning a continuing education Northern Naturalist Certificate. Whether you want to increase your knowledge for personal enjoyment, volunteer work, or employment, you will explore the natural environment through classroom and hands-on encounters.

courses offered this semester

  • Wild Mushrooms of Spring-Summer
  • Wild Mushroom Identification Basics
  • Guide to Tree Identification
  • Lake Michigan Shoreline Habitats—A One Day On-the-Road Adventure
  • Native Trees and Shrubs: A Guided Walk
  • Michigan Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Into the Wilderness
  • Enjoying Dragonflies and Damselflies
  • Identifying Edible and Medicinal Plants
  • Botany Tours
  • Bird Breeding Basics
  • Journal-Keeping in Nature
  • Northern Michigan Geology
  • Northern Michigan Glacial Landforms
  • Meet the Beetles Up Close
  • Entomology for the Naturalist

Different courses are offered each semester, and on a schedule so that the program can be completed in two years (likely sooner, if desired). Register now by selecting your desired class from this list of all LIFE Academy classes » 

Certificate Requirements »

  • minimum of 8 courses designated from the Naturalist category
  • minimum of 65 classroom/field-trip hours
  • of the 65 required hours, at least 10 hours should involve field experience
    (classes that include field trips, hikes, etc.)

Enrollment and costs

It's easy and free to enroll; simply indicate your interest by filling out and sending in a brief enrollment form (PDF) »

Once enrolled, records will be kept for each certificate course you complete, and we'll help you follow your progress through the program.

Cost of the program varys according to the number and cost of the selected courses. Most courses range from $49 to $125. Payment is made at the time of registration for each course.


The instructors are experienced academic and area professionals with backgrounds in science, education, and the environment. Class time includes instruction and active learning; many include field trips.

For more information

If you have questions about the certificate program, or would like help choosing your course plan, contact the Extended Education office at (231) 995-1700 or

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