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 upcoming summer session will be a dynamic, high-quality virtual experience that leaves graduates qualified as a regional professional or volunteer naturalist. 

Come Interested, Leave Qualified

We are virtual for Summer 2022. You can still 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.

Summer Session Dates:

July 28, 29, 30, (31-day off) & August 1, 2, & 3, 2022

Class days will mostly be full days, starting around 9 am and ending around 5:00 pm (Pacific). 

Tuition Rates:

• $425 Member Rate (for members of The Whale Museum/Orca Adopters)

• $475 Non-Member Rate (includes membership/Orca Adoption)

Tuition includes the following:

• Six class sessions (lectures).

• All class materials.

Registrations are processed in the order they are received. You will be notified with a confirmation letter once your registration has been processed. This course has a maximum class size of 50 students.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Scholarships are available.  Click here for more information. If you are applying for a DEI Scholarship, please submit the application form directly to Tracie Merrill - do not register through the website.

Refund Policy

If you cancel, tuition is fully refundable up until four weeks from the start date of your course. Within four weeks, we can only provide a full refund if your space in the program is filled. If not filled, if you cancel between two to four weeks before the start of class a 50% refund can be issued. If you cancel within less than two weeks before the start of class, no refund can be issued. Your refund, if any, will be processed before the first day of class. The Whale Museum reserves the right to cancel the program at any time. In the event the program is canceled, you will be issued a full refund.

What to Expect for Summer 2022

Lectures and site visits will take place virtually through pre-recorded and webinar/videoconferencing platforms, such as Zoom and Whova. A full schedule with log-on information will be provided to registered students. The main focus of the training is the ecology, current status and conservation of Southern Resident Killer Whales and other local marine species as well as discussions about the environments they live in. The course includes presentations on cetaceans, pinnipeds, otters, intertidal invertebrates, seabirds, and a variety of other topics such as geology and marine conservation. Faculty includes Whale Museum staff, professional naturalists, marine scientists, and environmental educators active in the region. 

Recordings will be made available to participants. As much as possible, there will be live, virtual Q & A sessions with presenters. 

While the Summer MNTP is virtual, we hope to be able to offer an additional experience in-person later this year.  MNTP participants will be given first opportunity to enroll separately in an in-person weekend program on San Juan Island. More details will be announced as soon as we can confirm.

Please refer all questions to Tracie Merrill, Education Curator, by email.


Need help? Our customer service staff is happy to assist. Call (360) 378-4710 x30. Please leave a message if after business hours. Thanks!

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