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history and nature

History and Nature Classes


Backyard Astronomer

 

night sky

Learn how to identify the stars and constellations seen in our local skies in this fun hands-on workshop. Using the Cabrillo planetarium and observatory you will see the wonders of the universe and learn about astronomy history, methods, equipment, and recent discoveries. Get a sense of distances to planets, stars and galaxies. Learn about Black holes, dark matter and the expanding universe.

Participants should dress warmly for outdoor observation at the observatory. In case of rain or fog, class will assemble in the planetarium.

This class is appropriate for students aged 10 to adult.

2 Fri., April 22 & 29
6:30 - 9:30 pm
Room: 707

Register by Feb. 29: $58
Register after Feb. 29: $65

 

register online

 

Karl von Ahnen has been an amateur astronomer and telescope user since age 12. He served as lab instructor-assistant in the Cabrillo Astronomy Department for many years, and is the Director of the Fujitsu Planetarium at De Anza College, one of the largest school planetariums in the country.

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A Wildlife Adventure Safari: Afloat on Elkorn Slough

sea lion

Observe wetland wildlife at close range aboard a comfortable, easily boardable watercraft, floating on calm inland slough water. Join two experienced naturalists as we see sea lions and harbor seals, sea otters  (all these midst of the otter and seal pupping season). There will be added a significant variety of aquatic birds, and close-in views of a thriving heron and cormorant rookery shoreside. We rarely record less than 50 bird species, including many northbound migrants, during the three hour outing.

Sat., May 21
8:30 am - 11:30 am
Elkhorn Slough Safari, Moss Landing - map and directions
Register by Feb. 29: $68
Register after Feb. 29: $75


register online

 

Bruce Elliott and Captain Joe Manzino of Elkhorn Slough Safari, Moss Landing.

Bruce Elliott is a retired senior Biologist Supervisor for the California Dept. of Fish and Game. Bruce has conducted dozens of natural history themed presentations at Cabrillo College over the last 30 years.

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Backyard Beekeeping and Honeybee Biology

bees

Whether you are interested in learning sustainable backyard beekeeping practices, or just want a better understanding of how these delicate, intricate creatures benefit us and our planet, you will leave this class a-buzz with new energy! Over the course of the class we will cover hive structure, colony dynamics and delve into basic honeybee biology. We will discuss the history of beekeeping, from honey production to pollination contracts, and discuss current trends (and rifts) in colony management practices. Weather permitting we will take a field trip to Emily's Apiary in Santa Cruz for a real-life "hive dive". By the end of the course, students who are interested in obtaining their own hive will have a good working understanding of equipment, tools, management practices and bee biology, and how we can work together to support these very vital pollinators.

This class is appropriate for adults with little to no experience in keeping bees.

4 Sat., April 9 - 30
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register by Feb. 29: $68
Register after Feb. 29: $75

register online

4 Sat., June 11 - July 9 (No class July 2)
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Room: 1605

Register by June 6: $68
Register after June 6: $75

register online

 

Emily Bondor is a bay area Beekeeper and Educator. Her expertise is in promoting responsible honeybee genetics and breeding queens from locally adapted genetic stock. She works in Napa Valley managing bee-hives and is currently pursuing Master Beekeeping Classes through the Honeybee Lab at UC Davis.

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Sea Otter Adventures, A Human Obstacle Course: Lecture and Field Trip

otter

Join sea otter photographer/lecturer Kim Steinhardt for a special day-long adventure.  We begin with a morning talk and multimedia presentation, followed by an afternoon field trip to Moss Landing to seek out otters in the wild. We can expect rich photo opportunities and a short, one-mile hike. We will discuss the relationship between sea otters and humans, and how it has been strained nearly to the breaking point during much of the last three centuries. With only 3,000 California sea otters remaining, this threatened species now faces new peril. In this class you will discover more about:
  • Why the sea otter attracts such fateful attention

  • How litigation threatens to halt the long struggle to come back from near extinction

  • What happens when law and politics clash with science and good ocean stewardship

Sat., April 16   
10 am - 5 pm
Room: 2501 - Morning lecture
AND
Afternoon field trip to Moss Landing
Register by Feb. 29: $68
Register after Feb. 29: $72


register online

 

Kim Steinhardt, JD, is a former Administrative Law Judge who photographs and studies sea otters, presents popular illustrated talks, and regularly writes a column called The Sea Otter File, dealing with all things otter.  He also teaches law classes on legislative advocacy in the public interest, and leads natural and cultural history walks along the coast of Monterey Bay with a focus on ocean conservation issues and sea otters.

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When El Niño Saved Santa Cruz: The Untold (and Unofficial) Story of the City’s Birth      

lydon

Does present-day Santa Cruz seem and bit unkempt and disheveled to you?  Things seem to take longer? Or never happen at all? Take heart. It’s been that way from the beginning. From the very establishment of Mission Santa Cruz in 1791, the place was known for its bickering, and contention. Even after 1850 when the Yankee immigrants broke away from much-too-Mexican Monterey County (using a forged petition), and began building their Protestant New England version of California, they continued to feud, fumble, and miss deadlines. Vigilantes, squatters mayhem, and lynchings were the norm.

Then, during the Mega Flood of 1862 (El Niño at his finest) the San Lorenzo River rose up and smacked them, almost washing the entire town into the sea.  Finally, Santa Cruz crawled out of the mud, came to their senses and putting their house in order.  Four years later, after Congress helped bail them out, Santa Cruz was able to become a city. 
What took so long?  And what are the legacies for us150 years later?

In a wide-ranging illustrated lecture, the History Dude will tell the complicated story.

Fri., May 6
7 – 9 pm
Room: 450
Register by Feb. 29:  $12
Register after Feb. 29: $15

 

 


register online

 

Sandy Lydon - see bio below

For more infromation about these classes, please see Sandy Lydon's Central Coast Secrets web page

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Re-Humanizing the Landscape: The History of Coast Dairies and Land   

coast dairies

Brand-new Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company plant, Nov. 1, 1906.  Coast Dairies and Land played a major role in the establishment and success of the plant.

The word “bucolic” is always used to describe Coast Dairies and Land because the word “dairies” conjures up an idealized rural vision filled with farmhouses and Swiss cowherds tending herds of black and white cows. Nothing could be farther from the historical reality. 

When two Swiss immigrant families combined their assets in 1901 and formed the Coast Dairies and Land Company they inspired and supported a huge industrial tidal wave that forever changed the North Coast. Then, in a reversal of the typical immigrant story where the family has financial success, puts down roots and multiplies across the land, the two Swiss families returned to Switzerland, becoming absentee landowners, managing the property and businesses from across the Atlantic for over a century.

The story of Coast Dairies and Land is a story of human ingenuity and vision repeated over and over again. It is anything but pastoral and peaceful.

In a Friday evening presentation combined with a Saturday field day, attorney Bob Bosso and historian Sandy Lydon will offer this first-ever immersion into the human story of Coast Dairies and Land. There will be some walking during the field trip. Participants will drive to a North Coast location and then take shuttle vans into the countryside for the remainder of the day.

Details about the meeting place will be provided to registrants in early April.

Because of the nature and complexity of the subject matter, children under 18 may not participate In the field trip.

Fri., April 22 (Lecture)
7 – 9 pm
Room: 450
AND
Sat., April 23 (Field trip)
9 am - 5 pm
Location: Santa Cruz County North Coast. Meeting place will be provided to registrants in early April.
Fee: $85 (Lecture and field trip)

register online

 

Bob Bosso, a Santa Cruz native (Santa Cruz High class of ’57), is an attorney in Santa Cruz and attorney for Coast Dairies and Land Company since 1972.  In 1990 he became the President of Coast Dairies and Land corporation, actively managing the property up to and through its sale to the Trust for Public Land .  He has an intimate knowledge of the property and its more recent history.

Sandy Lydon is emeritus historian at Cabrillo College where he has taught for 46 years. He has researched and written widely on the rich immigration history of the Monterey Bay Region. An award-winning author and teacher, he has been described as Central California’s pre-eminent “standup historian.”

For more infromation about these classes, please see Sandy Lydon's Central Coast Secrets web page.

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The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park: Three Adventures w/ Sandy Lydon   

Adventure #1: A Stroll through the Redwoods – The Lower Loop

We’ll begin the series with a gentle-paced saunter through some of the most recently-acquired part of the park. We’ll start with a bit of history – you can’t see the forest properly without a dose of history – then cross Aptos Creek and into a magical redwood forest of twisted and challenged trees. If we’re really lucky, we might catch a glimpse of one of the “phantoms of the forest” – an albino redwood.

This adventure would be a perfect introduction to the forest, and is appropriate for first-timers and veterans.

Walking Distance: 2.5 miles over some bumpy, occasionally steep trails. The pace is gentle and thoughtful.

This program is suitable for participants aged 16 and above.

We will meet at the Nisene Mark entrance kiosk. Participants will receive a letter & map with the details about the meeting location and are responsible to pay the day use fee of $10 per vehicle.

Sun., June 12
1 – 6 pm
Nisene Marks Entrance Kiosk
Register by June 6:  $54
Register after June 6: $62

register online

Adventure #2: What Ever Happened to “China Camp?”: The Middle Loop Trail

This adventure will up the ante in distance, pacing and logging history. Again, we’ll begin with a dose of history and then do a loop that will follow the trail of a remarkable narrow-gauge railroad, and then up Bridge Creek to the iconic Maple Falls before returning to the point of beginning.

This adventure is a bit more strenuous than the first adventure and passes through some historically-complex landscape.

Walking Distance: 6 miles with moderate elevation gains and a number of creek crossings. The optional 1-mile round-trip up to Maple Falls requires some hiking along the creek and up and over boulders and logs.

This program is suitable for participants aged 18 and above.

We will meet at the Porter Picnic Area, approximately 3 miles from Aptos Village.

Participants will receive a letter & map with the details about the meeting location and are responsible to pay the day use fee of $10 per vehicle.

Sat., June 18
9 am– 5 pm
Porter Picnic Area
Register by June 6:  $64
Register after June 6: $72

register online

Adventure #3: Big Slide and Monte Vista Falls: Deep into the Aptos Canyon

This adventure will be the treat – the pay-off – because we will be going deep into the Aptos Canyon. And we have arranged to have a bit of a boost at the beginning, as we’ll be driven by vans up the Fire Road and dropped off near White’s Lagoon and then we’ll hike up and over China Ridge (there are the Chinese railroad workers again), down Big Slide to Aptos Creek and then upstream to see and become familiar with Monte Vista (AKA Five Finger) Falls. Then, after cavorting in the pool at the base of the falls (cavorting is optional), we’ll work our way (mostly) downhill along Aptos Creek back to where we parked our cars.

This adventure will make you appreciate just how hard people worked to get to those redwoods deep into Aptos Canyon.

Walking Distance: 9 miles - This is a tough hiking day, even with our initial ride in a van to our starting point. There are elevation changes, steep sections, creek crossings, and narrow bridges. We’ll also be a long way from civilization and assistance.

This program is suitable for participants aged 18 and above.

We will meet at the Porter Picnic Area, approximately 3 miles from Aptos Village. We will then load into the vans, be shuttled up to the top of China Ridge, and then walk, eventually, back to our cars. Participants will receive a letter & map with the details about the meeting location and are responsible to pay the day use fee of $10 per vehicle.

SPECIAL NOTE: After the printing of the catalog, we were advised by State Parks that the Aptos Creek Trail is broken and off-limits to hikers. We will still be able to hike into the far reaches of Aptos Creek, but will have to come back out the same way we hiked in. We will be arranging the vans that brought us into the park in the morning to pick us up at the drop-off location in late afternoon. However, this means that we’ll have to do some pretty formidable uphill hiking up Big Slide Trail once we leave Aptos Creek to get back to the vans. Having the vans will cut off ten miles from the round-trip hike.

Sat., July 30
8:30 am – 6 pm
Porter Picnic Area
Register by June 6:  $78
Register after June 6: $85

register online

 

Register for all Three Adventures in the Forest of Nisene Marks for just: 

Register by June 6:  $178
Register after June 6: $195

register online

 

Sandy Lydon is emeritus historian at Cabrillo College where he has taught for 46 years. He has researched and written widely on the rich immigration history of the Monterey Bay Region. An award-winning author and teacher, he has been described as Central California’s pre-eminent “standup historian.”

For more infromation about these classes, please see Sandy Lydon's Central Coast Secrets web page.

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Santa Cruz Mountain Redwood Ecology: Big Basin

 

Join us for a day out in the beautiful Big Basin Park and become acquainted with the plant and wildlife association of our local redwood forest habitat. Particular attention will be devoted to interaction between species and evolutionary trends. We will also discuss biopolitics of big tree harvest and old growth, conservation, and possible consequences of projected warmer climate changes. In addition, the fascinating biology of one of the new world's most mysterious (and locally endangered) bird species, the marbled murrelet, will be reviewed in detail.

Sat., June 25
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Big Basin Park (a map and directions will be provided)
Register by June 6: $64
Register after June 6: $72


register online

 

Bruce Elliott - see bio below

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Bats of Santa Cruz County

 

Enjoy an introduction to the world of bats. After an initial on-campus review of bat flight, prey location and capture, and a spectrum of special adaptations of successful bat behavior and biology, we will visit a prime viewing area for local bats.

No extensive or strenuous mobility is required. Please dress warmly and wear shoes suitable for walking on gradual dirt trails. In addition, participants should also bring at least one flashlight.

This program is suitable for participants for ages 8 and above.

Sat., August 6
3:00 - 9:00 pm
Room: 456 (a map and directions will be provided to viewing area in class)
Register by June 6: $64
Register after June 6: $72


register online

 

Bruce Elliott - see bio below

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Wildlife of the Redwoods to the Sea

 

Join us for a day of moderate walking under the canopy of our beloved “Big Trees.” Enjoy forest streamside trails and flowering seaside dunes bordering the largest wetland complex on the Santa Cruz Mountain slope. We’ll explore wildlife and habitat relationships from the Redwood Forest of Butano Canyon to the Oceanside wetlands of Pescadero Marsh in San Mateo County. Sighting of birds, wildflowers, butterflies and other critters - including beavers - are possible in these wildlife-rich habitats. In the morning we will seek out wildlife and plant species on streamside trails and paths, then enjoy lunch at our oceanside picnic area! In the afternoon we will move to the marsh preserve.

Sat., August 28
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Butano State Park (a map and directions will be provided)
Register by June 6: $64
Register after June 6: $72


register online

 

Bruce Elliott is a retired senior Biologist Supervisor for the California Dept. of Fish and Game. Bruce has conducted dozens of natural history themed presentations at Cabrillo College over the last 30 years.

 

 

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