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 in-person experience that leaves graduates qualified as a regional professional or volunteer naturalist. 

Come Interested, Leave Qualified

The Summer 2023 Program will be in-person here on San Juan Island, WA. You can  earn a Whale Museum naturalist certification by completing an extra 10-hour practicum, which can be arranged during this course. Completion of this course also entitles you to become a member of the Salish Sea Association of Marine Naturalists (SSAMN).

Summer Session Dates:

Evening welcome reception on July 26. Full days (approximately 9a-5p Pacific time) from July 27-August 2, with a day off on July 30. Additional optional activities will be offered to registrants. 

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

Virtual Program Tuition Rates:

  • $650 Member Rate (for members of The Whale Museum/Orca Adopters)
  • $700 Non-Member Rate (includes membership/Orca Adoption)

Tuition includes the following:

  • Lectures
  • Field Trips
  • All class materials
  • Transportation to field trip locations from classroom venue
  • Opening Reception
  • Light Breakfast fare and snacks
  • Graduation Lunch

Please note: you are responsible for your own lodging and meals (outside of what is already being provided)

Registration applications are processed in the order they are received. You will be notified with a confirmation letter once your registration has been processed. Class size is limited to 29 so don't wait to sign up!

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 on or after 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 2023

Lectures will be in-person here on SJI. A full schedule with 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. Field trips are planned throughout the session and transportation will be provided from the classroom venue to all field trip locations. Faculty includes Whale Museum staff, professional naturalists, marine scientists, and environmental educators active in the region. 

Feel free to contact Tracie at any time with questions.


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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