Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a Tennessee Naturalist?
To become a Certified Tennessee Naturalist, register at a chapter of your choosing, complete 40 hours of instruction and 40 hours of volunteer service.  Find a chapter near you or read more about becoming a certified naturalist here.

How do I register for a course?
Each chapter is a separate, individual entity that sets their own course schedule. Find your closest chapter here. Posted "Class Schedules" will tell you when chapter courses typically start. Contact the chapter coordinator to be put on an "interested" list and to be notified when registration opens. Most registrations typically (but not always) open about a month before classes start.

How much does the TNP course cost?
The course costs $350 and includes 40 hours of instruction and student materials. On January 1, 2025 TNP tuition will increase to $400.00

Can I take just the classes I want?
Classes are not offered individually.

Can I cancel and get a refund if I change my mind?
Cancellations up to 14 days prior to start of the course may receive full refunds. Within 14 days, partial refunds (up to 50%) may be given. Once the course begins, refunds will not be given for any reason.

I am already certified at one chapter.  Can I get certified at another chapter?
Being a Tennessee Naturalist requires a significant commitment of time to actively participate in the course and volunteer projects. For that reason, Tennessee Naturalists are encouraged to choose just one chapter for their certification. However, some volunteers have the time and energy to fully commit to two or more chapters and have worthwhile reasons to participate in multiple chapters (a second residence or long association with a nearby chapter). Therefore, graduates may register for TNP courses at additional chapters (full program fees required). Second courses would count as continuing education hours in the database under the initial chapter.

Is there a Tennessee Naturalist course near me? 
Check out our chapter page to find the closest chapter to you!

What is the schedule for the TNP class at my chapter?  
Check out the calendar for upcoming classes or check the chapter page to see the schedule for a particular chapter. 

I missed a TNP certification class.  Can I make it up? 
Yes!  Students missing a core class must make up that class within a year. The make-up class must be arranged through their chapter coordinator and can be taken at any TNP chapter. Two make-up classes may be taken at the home chapter for no charge; additional classes will incur a fee. Make-up classes taken at another chapter will require a fee to be paid to the hosting chapter. Students must receive permission from the chapter coordinators of all involved chapters before attending a class.

I started the TNP classes and had to stop because of an emergency/family issue.  Can I finish my hours?
We understand special circumstances arise.  Talk with your chapter coordinator about resuming coursework.  

Why can't I open the database?
The database is reserved for current and past students.  Each student is given a unique username and password at the beginning of the course.  If you are a current or past student and cannot remember your username, please contact your chapter coordinator.  If you have forgotten your password, use the password reset feature on the login page. If the issue persists, contact [email protected].  

I have forgotten my password/username.
Please contact your chapter coordinator to receive your username.  Use the reset password feature on the login page to get a new password.

Can I count webinars as CE?
We encourage our students to get out and learn about nature in an experiential setting.  However, there are many quality webinars available for online learning. Webinars that are directly related to Tennessee natural history education and conducted by experts are allowed on a limited basis.  One webinar (2 hour max) per milestone reward pin is allowed.

Can I count TV nature programs as CE?
Television nature programs cannot be counted as continuing education.

Can I count college courses as CE?
Tennessee natural history related college course hours are counted as they are counted by the university (i.e. one semester of a lecture/lab is typically counted as 4 hours by the university).  College courses must be approved by your chapter coordinator.

Can I volunteer out of state?
We ask all students to seek volunteer opportunities for the benefit of Tennessee and its many organizations working towards a better environment.  Exceptions may occasionally be made for organizations and projects that are multi-state focused and include Tennessee.  Out of state volunteer hours must be approved by your chapter coordinator prior to committing to the volunteer work and are limited to 10 hours per milestone.

Can I take continuing education courses out of state?
Yes, continuing education hours must be expert driven including out of state educational opportunities and accredited online courses. Course content must directly relate to Tennessee.

Can I just make one entry of 40 hours when I am finished with my certification hours?

No.  Hours must be entered individually by event date and activity type.

Can students make bulk entries for continuing education or continuing volunteer hours?

No, education and volunteer hours cannot be entered in bulk. Hours must be entered individually by event date and activity type.

Who enters my hours?
Students must enter their own volunteer and continuing education hours. Chapter coordinators submit core course attendance.

Does travel time count toward my volunteer hours?

Not unless driving is an integral part of the volunteer activity (i.e. driving from one site to another during monitoring).