Register Now for the Carolina Backyard Naturalist Program

Posted On August 9, 2021— Written By
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An online course providing a foundation for understanding the biodiversity and ecology of North Carolina.

Backyard Naturalist Program logo

Purpose and Description

Increasing urbanization,  habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, water pollution, and other factors threaten the function and viability of ecosystems across North Carolina. Improving residents’ understanding of their natural environment is critical to its protection and enhancement.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension, in conjunction with other government agencies and universities, presents a 14-week, online webinar series open to anyone interested in learning about the biodiversity, ecosystems, and conservation efforts in North Carolina.

Goals and Objectives of the Program

  • Enhance environmental literacy among participants through theoretical and applied approaches.
  • Increase participant knowledge of essential ecological and biological processes and their impacts on human and environmental health.
  • Participants will have a better understanding of ecosystem connectivity and balance.
  • Connect participants with local resources and volunteer opportunities in order to engage in local, regional, and statewide activism.

Target Audience

All that have an interest in learning about and conserving the biodiversity of North Carolina are welcome.

Webinar Schedule

Click on the topic title of the class for more information.

All webinars are held 6–8 p.m. on the given date.

Webinar Date (2021)

Introduction to the Backyard Naturalist Program

Sam Marshall & Matt Jones, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Haywood & Chatham County Centers

The Climate of North Carolina

Corey Davis, NC Climate Office

Sep. 15

Dr. Jeana Myers, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Wake County Center

Sep. 22
Botany: Plant Systematics, Anatomy, and Physiology Matt Jones, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Chatham County Center Sep. 29
Dr. John Walker, Appalachian State University
Oct. 6

An Introduction to Ecology and Ecosystem Concepts

Dr. Ashley Troth, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Durham County Center

Oct. 13

Coastal Ecology

Amy Mead, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Brunswick County Center

Oct. 20

Introduction to Entomology

Dr. Matt Bertone, NC State University

Oct. 27

Plant Communities of North Carolina

Dr. Robert K. Peet, UNC Chapel Hill

Nov. 3

Insect Ecology and Plant-Insect Interactions

Sam Marshall, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Haywood County Center

Nov. 10

Mammals of NC

Becky Skiba, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Nov. 17

All Things Birds: The Basics of Their Biology, Identification, Conservation, and Migration Research

John Gerwin, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

Dec. 1

Climate Change: What’s Happening and Why it Matters for NC Nature

Dr. Walt Robinson, NC State University

Dec. 8

Invasive Species

Dr. Zachary Long, UNC Wilmington

Dec. 15


Register for the 13-week course on Eventbrite.

After registering, an email with a Zoom link and password will be sent prior to each week’s lecture.

For families, households, or groups, one registrant may register multiple participants at once. If more than one person is watching at a single location, input their names so that we can more accurately document participation. If more than five are watching from one registration, email Matt Jones with the demographic information of the participants.


The entire series, including webinar recordings, costs $30 to register.

Continuation Education Credits

North Carolina Environmental Education Continuing Education credits will be offered.

How to View Online

The course will be conducted as a live webinar via Zoom. See this link for Zoom system requirements.

Participating Agencies

N.C. Cooperative Extension logo


NC Wildlife Resources Commission logo NC State University logo NC Climate Office logo UNCW logo UNC logoNC Museum of Natural Sciences logo

For questions, contact Matt Jones or Sam Marshall.