Capstone Projects & Volunteer Opportunities

One of the California Naturalist course requirements is the completion and presentation of a so-called “Capstone Project.” Participants choose a topic of interest to explore in greater depth, guided by the expertise of SSI scientists, or people at other local scientific environmental organizations. The expected time commitment is about 8 hours, including the preparation of the final 5-minute presentation.

A great way to choose a topic for your Capstone Project is to ask yourself questions such as…

  • What fascinates me?
  • What have I been wanting to learn more about?
  • What have I learned in the course so far that I’m excited and curious about?
  • What aspect of local science, nature, or habitat intrigues me?

A Capstone Project can be something that launches you into meaningful volunteer work far beyond the end of the course, or it can be a self-contained exploration of something you just wanted to learn more about. It can also be about something you’re already involved in, allowing you to deepen your knowledge. The main thing is to have fun! Susan offers free optional brief (15-20 minute) Capstone Coaching sessions via phone to assist with focusing topic ideas. Sign-up sheets will be at  classes.

Following are info and resources to guide you in choosing and completing a Capstone Project.

CAPSTONE BASICS – What’s a Capstone? What’s involved?

PARTIAL LIST OF LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS & SPECIFIC OPPORTUNITIES – How do I connect?

* For Cal Nat Capstone Project purposes, only SSI Amphibian and Bird field surveys will begin during the course. Other endeavors start later. If you are interested in other subjects, there are still ways to explore them for your Capstone.

CAPSTONE TITLES FROM PRIOR YEARS