Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification Program

Become a better naturalist, communicator, and land steward by learning the ecology and natural history of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

The Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification Program provides fundamental and specialty skills in Southern Appalachian ecology and interpretive techniques. This is accomplished through field courses covering a variety of subjects including ecological communities, plant identification, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, stream ecology, the history of nature study, naturalist skills, and skills for sharing nature.

utkUpon completion of the core courses, you will receive the non-credit Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certificate from the University of Tennessee.

Courses are held at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont with excursions throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Participants may commute from home or stay onsite, and all meals are provided. All our core SANCP courses are listed as Elective Criteria I Workshops in the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification program (NC-EE).

PLEASE NOTE: The previous weekend combination of courses, “Interpretation & Naturalist Skills” is now expanded to two full weekends: “Skills for Sharing Nature” [NEW name for Interpretation] and “Naturalist Skills.” We have expanded the length of the Naturalist Skills course based on feedback from participants, as well as our own interest in this critical component.

If you have previously completed the “Interpretation & Naturalist Skills” weekend, you are not required to retake “Skills for Sharing Nature” or “Naturalist Skills” to receive your certification. However, if you have not completed either “Interpretation” or the “Naturalist Skills” course, you will need to complete them to receive your certification—keeping in mind that “Skills for Sharing Nature” is the NEW course name for what was called “Interpretation: a Teachable Art”.

8 core courses. Choose one or take them all at your own pace.

A group of teachers stands in a circle discussing an activity during Teacher Escape Weekend.

Skills for Sharing Nature

Birds of the Smokies

Plants of the Smokies

Aquatic Natural History

Reptiles and Amphibians

Southern Appalachian Ecology

Elective Courses

We also offer elective SANCP courses as staffing allows. These courses are not required for certification, but many students in the program enjoy taking these classes to deepen their knowledge on expanded topics.

Winter Woody Plant ID, February 5, 2022 (Day Program)
Likin’ Lichens, February 18-20, 2022
Geology Workshop, November 11-13, 2022


Betsy Bohannon
Barbara Browne
Keri Teller Jakubowski
Karla Miller
Susan Peterson
Tom Poole
Susan Steiner
Mary Veal

Mike Barnett
Adam Bean
Bruce Bigsby
Tina Brouwer
Tonya Chenshaw
Clare Dattilo
Roseann Graham-Tate
Boyd Hopkins
Regina Kinton
Allison Pearson
Rodney Pearson
Cathy Reas Foster
Jennifer Terry
Rachel Zizka

Amy Arnold
Jeff Cooper
Emma DuFort
Beverly Hill
Leah LaRocco
Linda Sealey

Evelyn Angeletti
Nancy East
Nicole Thurston
Derek Chase
James Dunn
Ricky Ryan
Sarah Goodman
Doug Peters
Walter Peterson

Stephanie Adams
Charles Garten
Nicole Harris
Stephen Hart
Richard Ralston
Vickie Reddick
Julia Stewart

Jeremiah Folk
Randy Hammer
Trudie Henniger
Alice Kellog
Patricia Mayhugh
Lorie Morris
Kathy Poese
Pam Rodgers
Tara Winterbotham

Shirley Andrews
Libby Gilley
Julie Labhart
Robin Paris
Dedra Scherer
Lois Snow
Marci Spencer
John Terrell
Anita Thomas
Julie Whitted

Meghan Baker
Doug Burroughs
Debi Campbell
Eleanor Gilchrist
Holly Haworth
Julia Robertson
Lisa Stalnaker
Don Taylor
Halyse Taylor
Kathy Taylor

David Bryant
Kevin England
Martha J. Montgomery

Karan Barber
Lewis Culpepper
Mary Dresser
Nannette Enloe
Val Joiner
Ellis Levine
Janet Witt

Lauren Greene
Janet Key
Bob Lash
Patria Leath
Wilfred “Mac” Post
Ron Ramsey
Mia Schmitt
Ann Shirra
Sue Watts

Jennifer Bausman
Cynthia Beal
Linda Berry
Mike Casey
Sue Charles
Liz Coburn
Margie Hunter
Kevin Kennard
Ann Lendley
Lloyd Luketin
Lorna Luketin
Clarence Mayo
Becky Priddy
Joe Strickland
Mickey Sylvester
Melody York

Jan Heinrich
DiAnne Wilson

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!