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.

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 28, 2021
Becoming a Naturalist
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

September 18, 2021
Tennessee’s Living Waters
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

October 2, 2021
The World of Invertebrates
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

October 23, 2021
Nocturnal Naturalist
5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

November 20, 2021
Geology & Ecology
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

January 22, 2022
Tennessee Birds
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

February 19, 2022
Tennessee Mammals
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

March 19, 2022
Tennessee Reptiles & Amphibians
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

April 2, 2022
Tennessee’s Forests
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

April 23, 2022
Forbs, Ferns, Mosses & More
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.