We've been training marine naturalists since 1994.

Our marine naturalist training course (MNTP) is an intensive 6 day overview of the natural history of the San Juan Islands and the marine waters of Washington and Southern British Columbia (known as the Salish Sea). This course includes an in-depth treatment of the ecology and conservation of local marine species, presented by highly trained local naturalists, environmental educators, and scientists. The next program will be offered in Spring 2024, promising a dynamic, high-quality in-person experience that leaves graduates qualified as a regional professional or volunteer naturalist. 

Come Interested, Leave Qualified

We have yet to determine whenther the Spring 2024 program will be in-person or a hybrid program. You can earn The Whale Museum naturalist certification by completing an extra 10-hour practicum, which can be arranged during the course. Completion also entitles you to become a member of the Salish Sea Association of Marine Naturalists (SSAMN). Clock hour credits are also available.


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The Whale Museum’s Marine Naturalist Training Program will enhance your opportunity to work as a naturalist or take advantage of volunteer opportunities. Presentations will include detailed information on the orca whales and other marine mammals and seabirds of the Salish Sea. This session will be a mixture of class room lectures and field trips. Hands-on learning and field identification will be emphasized. Instructors are Whale Museum staff, regional  professionals, marine scientists and environmental educators.

Price and What Is Included: 

Spring 2024 prices will be set by December. [For informatin purposes: the Summer 2023 price was $650 for TWM/SSAMN members and $700 for non-members. The fee included lectures, field trips, all class materials, transportation to field trip locations from classroom venue, an opening reception, light breakfast fare and snacks, and a graduation lunch. All MNTP class days are full days (going approximately 9 am-5 pm Pacific Time). Please note: participants are responsible for their own accommodations and travel to SJI if needed. There are only 29 spots available for this session so don't wait to reserve your spot!]     

For more information, contact: Tracie Merrill at tracie@whalemuseum.org  or (360) 378-4710 ext. 23.

Special Virtual Teachers' Marine Naturalist Training Program Session (only current k-12 grade classroom teachers are eligible for this):

August 15-18, 2023

A virtual session of our Marine Naturalist program for k-12 teachers is returning this summer! This high quality program will be entirely virtual with no live components. Presentation videos will become accessible through the virtual platform Whova starting August 15 and be available for 6 months! Thanks to a grant through NOAA, this program is completely FREE for qualified teachers* to participate! Our gift to you for the great work you do! Space is limited to the first 50, so don’t wait to reserve your spot! *To qualify, participants must be a current k-12 Classroom Teacher with a School Affiliation (Public, Private or Home School). 

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