Tennessee Naturalist Program at Discovery Park of America

The mission of the Tennessee Naturalist Program is to teach Tennesseans about nature in the state, instill an appreciation of responsible environmental stewardship and channel volunteer efforts toward education of the general public and conservation of Tennessee’s natural resources.

Individuals who complete Discovery Park’s TNP course will gain an understanding of native ecosystems throughout the state.  After the course, Tennessee Naturalists may participate in many different types of volunteer activities, such as helping a nature outreach program at a park, museum, nature center or school, assisting in collection of scientific data for bird census, water quality assessment or rare plant monitoring and working with trail maintenance or habitat restoration projects.


To become a certified Tennessee Naturalist, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of active class and field instruction following the TNP curriculum and provide a minimum of 40 hours of service in one or more approved volunteer opportunities. If possible, completion of these requirements within a year of the first class is encouraged. Students participating in the program must be 18 or older.

Upon completion of all required class, field and volunteer hours, students become certified Tennessee Naturalists. There are no exceptions to these requirements for certification.


August 26, 2023
Becoming a Naturalist
9am – 2pm

September 23, 2023
Tennessee’s Living Waters
9am – 2pm

October 7, 2023
The World of Invertebrates
9am – 2pm

October 21, 2023
Nocturnal Naturalist
5pm – 7pm

November 4, 2023

November 18, 2023
Geology and Ecology
9am – 2pm

January 20, 2024
Tennessee Birds
9am – 2pm

February 17, 2024
Tennessee Mammals
9am – 2pm

March 16, 2024
Tennessee’s Forests
9am – 2pm

April 6, 2024
Tennessee Reptiles and Amphibians
9am – 2pm

April 20, 2024
Forbs, Ferns, Mosses, and More
9am – 2pm