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Fall 2020

September 9th- October 14th, 2020

Wednesday Class Sessions (6 to 8:00 p.m.) and Weekend Field Sessions

(days and times vary) 

For more information, please email us.  


The Coastal Naturalist Training is a 6-week course hosted in collaboration with Trinidad Coastal Land Trust that will introduce you to wonders of our local coastal ecology and engage you in the stewardship of California’s natural communities. The course will combine Zoom classroom sessions with distanced field sessions in small groups to immerse you in the natural diversity of Humboldt’s coastal environments while protecting our community from further spread of COVID-19. Guest lecturers and field instructors include professors, geologists, botanists, biologists, long-time naturalists, and other local experts. The course is for community members interested in expanding their knowledge of the coast, as well as students, teachers, naturalists, and environmental educators seeking professional development. While you may take the course strictly for your own enjoyment, the course will also prepare you to become an active volunteer with Friends of the Dunes, Trinidad Coastal Land Trust, or other environmental organizations.


Participants should be able to access online Zoom lectures and hike several miles in soft sand, steep trails, or slippery rocks while carrying their own supplies (field notebook, water, and snacks). We will be traveling at a comfortable pace, but will be in the field for up to 4 hours per field trip. Participants should also have access to transportation to various field trip locations from Manila to Trinidad.

Course registration is FULL. Please email 

if you have any questions. 

Course Fee: Sliding Scale $50-$100

Please contribute what you can, fees support

coastal education programs and scholarships

for other participants. 

Required Course Materials:

  • Trinidad Coastal Land Trust Naturalist Guidebook*

  • Coastal Naturalist Manual published by Friends of the Dunes*

  • Field notebook (optional: colored pencils)


*Available at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center at a discounted price for course participants. Please call (707) 444-1397 to schedule a time as the Nature Center is currently closed to the public.

Scholarships are available upon request, please contact


For more information about school programs or to sign-up your class, please email us or call us at (707) 444-1397.


Friends of the Dunes offers fall and spring field trip programs designed for grades 2-5. Our programs focus on giving students hands-on experiences in nature that are crucial for developing a true understanding of the natural world. Field trips are focused on local ecosystems and provide students with outdoor experiences in their own “backyards.” Trained volunteer guides lead students through educational games and activities in coastal habitats, and alter the activities to fit the age group.


Field Trip options:

Field Trip Options change seasonal and as funding is available. Through partnerships with local organizations and agencies, we are expanding our field trip options and locations to better meet the needs of different schools. Scholarships and bus funding are available.



Canceled until further notice.

Our classic 4-5 hour field trip is preceded by a classroom presentation with an interactive PowerPoint and hands-on activities. On field trip day, students spend half the day in small groups of 8-15 exploring the dunes, and half of the day at the bay and freshwater marshes, with a lunch break in between. At the bay we dip net for invertebrates in a freshwater pond, explore the saltmarsh and mudflats, and observe birds on the bay. In the dunes, we identify animal tracks, talk about plant adaptations, learn ecosystem restoration, and have some free time at the beach. This field trip takes place at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center and the Manila Community Park. We can accommodate 2 classes (about 50 students), per field trip.


Postponed due to Covid-19

Ocean Day is a state-wide marine debris education program funded the California Coastal Commission and coordinated locally by Friends of the Dunes and the Bureau of Land Management. About 1,000 Humboldt County students will receive classroom lessons focusing on the health of coastal and marine environments. During the Ocean Day event, these students will gather at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area on the South Spit of the Humboldt Bay for a day of beach clean-up and invasive plant removal. After all this hard work, students will sit in an aerial art design while a plane flies over to capture the image. This program is completely free for schools, even the buses are paid for.


Visit our Ocean Day page for more information.

To sign up your class, or to volunteer, please email us.




We have resumed guided walks at a limited capacity. For more information, email To view upcoming guided walks, visit our calendar

Friends of the Dunes offers docent-led walks on various topics at different levels of ability from novice to advanced. Please see our Calendar of Events for our upcoming scheduled walks.


Each quarter, we publish a listing of walks and workshops that take place at various coastal locations around the Humboldt Bay area. The majority of these walks take place at the Friends of the Dunes Humboldt Coastal Nature Center and the Lanphere and Ma-le'l Dunes Units of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. 

Private guided walks can be arranged upon request. Please email us for more information.



Join our Dune Ecosystem Restoration Team (DERT) in removing non-native, invasive plants from our coastal dunes environments in order to make room for more natural diversity. To learn more about common invasive plants in the dunes, visit our Science & Nature page.


DERT Workdays take place twice a month at the times and locations listed below. Please wear closed-toed shoes and bring water. Gloves, tools, snacks, and a plant identification lesson will be provided.

Every 2nd Sunday of the month from 10 am to 1 pm 

BLM's Ma-le'l Dunes South 

Meet at the Ma-le'l South parking lot off Young Lane in Manila


Every 3rd Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Humboldt Coastal Nature Center

220 Stamps Lane in Manila

Please see our Calendar of Events for our upcoming scheduled workdays. For more information or to sign up a group, email us.

We have resumed DERT days at a limited capacity. For more information, email


Canceled until further notice.

Nature Story Time is geared for ages 3-6 and takes place every 3rd Saturday of the month from 2 to 3 p.m. Bring your young nature lovers to the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center for a seasonally themed story followed by fun movement activities and a simple craft project. Come prepared to explore the trails after the story, the Nature Center is about a 15-minute walk through coastal dunes to the beach.


For our next Nature Story Time, check out our calendar. For more information or to reserve a space, please email us .



The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center is home to a Redwood EdVentures Quest! A quest is a scavenger hunt with interpretive clues leading you through many North Coast parks. Each quest takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete. At the end of your EdVenture, you’ll find a final phrase, write this down and bring it back to the Nature Center to receive an official Redwood EdVentures Quest patch! Download the quest brochure for the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center below, and visit the Redwood EdVentures website for more quest locations.

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