Skip to Site Navigation | Skip to Local Navigation | Skip to Content
Cabrillo College - Home
students on campuscabrillo campus

history and nature

History and Nature Classes



Hiking: The Path Less Traveled





Explore the greenbelts and State Parks of Santa Cruz County in this fun and challenging hiking class. You will become familiar with parts of the Santa Cruz Hiking system, learn a little natural history, identify some flora and fauna and at the same time get some great exercise. The main emphasis is on movement and fitness. Participants should have at least average fitness levels and be able to hike 5-8 miles on moderately steep terrain. We move at a fairly fast pace, about 3 miles per hour. This class is not for beginning hikers. Each week will feature a different hike on trails not commonly known. If you are new to hiking, contact Phil ( before enrolling in the class.

Many questions can be answered in our FAQs:

Students will receive upon registration information about basic dress and supplies to bring.

6 Sat., June 17 - July 29 (no class mtg. on July 1)
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
First class meeting is in Parking Lot K
Register by June 5: $98
Register after June 5: $114

register online


Phil Kaplan has taught in the Kinesiology Department at Cabrillo for 25 years and has been teaching hiking classes for the past 12 years.


Ninjas in Nature – Bujinkhan Wilderness and Awareness Skills





Bujinkan Martial Arts meets wilderness and awareness skills! In these 3 consecutive meetings throughout the summer students will connect with nature, learn the art of ninjitsu, learn to increase their sensory awareness, and have an unreasonable amount of fun! We will cover self- defense ninja skills, agility and movement, sensory awareness, plant and animal identification, tool use and safety, and nature based earth skills of the ancient ninja.

3 Sat., June 17, July 15 & August 19 CANCELLED
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location: The NEST, 645 Toll House Gulch Road in Felton
Register by June 5: $250
Register after June 5: $265

register online


Ken Clarkson is a former Alaska wilderness ranger for the National Park Service, and endangered species biologist and environmental education specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He holds a 2nd Dan (black belt) in Shorinji Ryu Karate, currently studies ninjutsu and qi gong.



Wilderness Survival Skills




Come learn the ancient skill of survival: shelter, water, fire, food. No matter what your background, from the novice camper to the seasoned backpacker, there is something for you in this class. The day-long experience offers you the opportunity to learn about the outdoors in a safe and supportive environment.

Set among the beautiful redwoods of Santa Cruz, this 1-day clinic is a great way to escape the hustle-and-bustle of the work week and get back to nature! Expert survivalists and naturalist instructors will share sacred skills with you. Learning timeless traditions, such as native shelter building and fire-by-friction, helps to build self-esteem and awareness from knowing YOU CAN SURVIVE!

Our workshop is 100% hands-on, everything you learn, you will do! Get prepared for your next wilderness adventure by practicing these timeless skills. You WILL build a shelter, you WILL make fire, you WILL learn about edible plants, see and learn about native style traps, and experience several other indigenous skills.

This program is about getting back to the earth, learning how our ancestors lived in harmony with our planet, and experiencing nature to its fullest. There is something here for everybody – come with an open mind and be ready to learn!

Appropriate for students 16 yrs and older.

Please see Extension’s Class Resources web page for a detailed map, directions, meeting place, and information about what to wear, what to bring and other details to make your day enjoyable!


Sun., July 9 CANCELLED
10 am - 3 pm
Boulder Creek Boy Scout Reservation
Fee: $125

plus a $10 materials fee paid at registration

register online


Jack Harrison is an instructor with Adventure Out, and has spent over a decade teaching people how to survive. Jack’s training began early with famed naturalist Elizabeth Terwilleger, and he spent a year at the renowned Wilderness Awareness School – one of the only accredited wilderness studies programs in the world. As a result, Jack has mastered a range of survival and primitive living skills and a passion for the natural world.




Chalk Mountain Day Hike





John Muir, one of California’s most famous naturalists, asked a carpenter in San Francisco for the quickest way out of the chaotic city. “Where do you want to go?” the carpenter replied, and Muir responded, “Anywhere that is wild.”

How about you, is the wilderness calling you? If so, how can we choose to really be in the wild so that she is our primary teacher? We will answer these questions and more as we escape our daily lives on our journey to Chalk Mountain.

This 8 mile/1600’ elevation gain hike includes a strenuous two mile climb to start, the remainder is moderate. We begin in dense forest, ending with sweeping views of the Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Appropriate for beginners 16 years of age and up.

Please see Extension’s Class Resources web page for a detailed map, directions, meeting place, and information about what to wear, what to bring and other details to make your day enjoyable!

Sat., July 30
8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Chalk Mountain in Santa Cruz
Register by June 5: $60
Register after June 5: $68

register online


Gary Marcoccia teaches in the Kinesiology Department at Cabrillo College and is a Certified Wilderness First Responder.


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., October 20 & 27 NEW DATES!
6:30 - 9:30 pm
Room: 707

Register by Sept. 11: $58
Register after Sept 11: $65
plus $5 materials fee at registration

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.


Bee-Friendly Garden - How to Create a Bee Sanctuary in Your Backyard

bee friendly

Would you like to create a beautiful garden and also do your part to save the bees, all in one? A huge part of keeping honey bees healthy is to ensure they have the plants they need to survive available to them year round. Join Emily for this one-day workshop on bee-friendly gardening by starting the day at Cabrillo for a discussion and presentation on native plants, drought tolerant plants, perennial and annual flowering plants and basic bee-friendly landscape design. We’ll then break for lunch and make our way to Native Revival Nursery, just a few minutes from campus, where we will walk the grounds to see, smell and touch some recommended plants for your very own Bee Friendly Garden. This class helps us all save the bees and make our gardens more beautiful at the same time!

Students go home with a small bee-friendly garden starter kit from Native Revival Nursery, a plant list that breaks down the best bee plants by size, annual blooming schedule, place of origin and water needs.

Sat., July 1
1:30 - 4:30 pm
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register by June 5: $50
Register after June 5: $58

plus $25 materials fee payable at registration

register online


Emily Bondor - see bio below



Beekeeping Basics and Honeybee Biology


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!

This course covers 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, there will be 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, 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.

2 Sat., October 7 & 11 - NEW DATES!
9:30 am - 12 noon
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register by June 5: $68
Register after June 5: $75

plus $5 materials fee payable at registration

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.


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


Discover the fascinating lives of Monterey Bay’s sea otters on this daylong adventure, beginning with a talk and photographic journey in the morning, then a break for lunch on your way to the afternoon field trip to Moss Landing. Enjoy stunning images of sea otters’ daily activities, review the status of recent lawsuits over the expansion of their range, and explore some otter history, including the extraordinary adaptations these creatures have undergone in evolving from land to sea.

Their struggle to survive reveals as much about humans as it does about the behaviors and antics of these threatened creatures. This annual adventure always yields rich photo opportunities and more!

The field trip portion of this adventure includes about a mile of light hiking and students should bring a lunch.

Detailed directions to the field trip location are provided in the morning lecture portion of class.

Room: 2501 (10 am - 12:15 pm)
Moss Landing (1:30 - 5:00 pm)
Register by Feb. 27: $68
Register after Feb. 27: $72

register online


Kim Steinhardt is a former Administrative Law Judge, conservationist, and marine wildlife photographer whose work has been recognized by National Geographic in an upcoming book of his sea otter photos and storytelling for kids. He presents popular multimedia talks and regularly writes on all things otter. Kim also leads natural and cultural history walks along the coast of Monterey Bay with a focus on ocean conservation issues and sea otters.


Monterey Bay Excursion





Take a 2-hour journey out onto the Monterey Bay on the comfortable Blue Ocean whale watching boat to search for seasonal whale and dolphin species over the famous Monterey submarine canyon.

After the boat excursion, we will adjourn ashore for a lunch break, then reconvene in the Seminar Room of the adjacent Moss Landing Marine Laboratory for an illustrated review of pacific west coast cetacean species, aspects of their biology and a review of their often tragic relationship with mankind.

Dress appropriately for the weather. Bring your binoculars and/or camera to enjoy unique photography opportunities while learning about the individual species.

Please see Extension’s Class Resources web page for a detailed map, directions, meeting place, and information about what to wear, what to bring and other details to make your day enjoyable!

Sat., July 15 CANCELLED
8:45 am - 3:30 pm
Moss Landing Marine Labs
Register by June 5: $78
Register after June 5: $85

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.





    Was this page helpful?    
Ask Cabrillo WebAdvisor Cabrillo Library Cabrillo Bookstore  Canvas icon  Facebook Icon Twitter Icon YouTube

© 2013 Cabrillo Community College District

Campus Safety | Accessibility | Title IX

Main Campus, 6500 Soquel Drive Aptos CA 95003, 831.479.6100