Become a Bernheim Volunteer Naturalist

By Wren Smith

As the new year approaches, you may be looking for new ways to give back and to connect with the natural world.

Bernheim’s dedicated CIG Training15 - 28Volunteer Naturalists help people of all ages understand and connect with the natural world in a way that fosters deep emotional and intellectual connections. This tight-knit community of volunteers offers the chance to not just share knowledge with Bernheim visitors, but also to learn from each other and Bernheim’s expert staff.

For the only time this year, you have an opportunity to take part in our Volunteer Naturalist Orientation. Join us Saturday, January 22, 1 – 4 p.m. in person (registration will be limited to allow for social distancing) or Saturday, January 29, 1 – 3 p.m. virtually.

We ask that all potential Volunteer Naturalists attend a general Bernheim Volunteer Orientation prior to the Volunteer Naturalist Orientation. General Volunteer Orientations will be held on Saturday, January 15 and prior to Naturalist Orientation on January 22.

Bernheim’s volunteer naturalists provide more than half of our public programs — leading Bernheim at Night programs, Guided Hikes, discovery experiences and nature hikes during our ECO Kids days, and more. They serve as our volunteer beekeepers, providing opportunities for visitors to see these important pollinators up close and personal. They also lovingly make costumes and props that make our festivals come to life.

At Bernheim we’re committed to developing our naturalists at a pace that’s best for each them and affords them the greatest success. Those in our Volunteer Naturalist program come from all walks of life. Many come with little prior natural history knowledge, some with advanced degrees. Regardless, interpretative training is an equalizer. In our training we stress that it isn’t just what you know, but how you share or interpret what you know that counts.

Not ready to become a Naturalist in Training, but want to get involved? Take the first step in becoming a Bernheim volunteer by attending the general orientation training (Click here for dates)



For Volunteer Naturalist program information, please contact Wren Smith at (502) 215-7134.

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