Tennessee Naturalist Program

Tennessee Naturalist Program

Inspiring the desire to learn and share Tennessee's nature

frogThe Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP) is an education training course designed to introduce the natural history of Tennessee to interested adults. Graduates join a critical corps of Tennessee Naturalist volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the appreciation, understanding, and beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.

The purpose of the TNP is to teach Tennesseans about our natural world, inspire the desire to learn more, instill an appreciation of responsible environmental stewardship, and channel volunteer efforts toward education of the general public and conservation of Tennessee's natural resources.

What is a Tennessee Naturalist?

Tennessee Naturalists are trained volunteers. They:

butterfly weedWhat is the role of a Tennessee Naturalist?

Individuals who participate in the program combine their diverse interests, skills, and experiences with the TNP instruction to contribute time, energy, and ideas toward the understanding and preservation of native ecosystems throughout the state.

After training, 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 the collection of scientific data for a bird census, water quality assessment, or rare plant monitoring, and working with trail maintenance or habitat restoration projects.

How Do I Become a Tennessee Naturalist?

To become a Tennessee Naturalist, a person must complete a minimum of 40 hours instruction through a TNP training course offered by one of our many chapters throughout the state and perform a minimum of 40 hours volunteer service. Program costs may vary slightly by chapter but include all classes, study guides and course handouts.

The inaugural TNP course was held at Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary in 2010-2011. Since then chapters have opened across the state.


To enroll in the program, please contact the chapter closest to you. The Chapters page shows locations of chapters. Select a chapter for details of their upcoming courses.

If you wish to learn more about the Tennessee Naturalist program, email us at info@TNnaturalist.org.