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Cabrillo Extension Classes
History and Nature


Backyard Astronomer


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 8 to adult.

2 Fri., October 10 & 18
6:30 - 9:30 pm
Room 707

Register by Sept. 8: $58
Register after Sept. 8: $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.


Three North Coast Railwalks: 25 years of Industrialization and the Davenport Line

Come join us for three day-long hiking installments on the railroad line between Davenport and Santa Cruz. We will explore how two railroad companies combined to create the most intense 25-year industrial explosion in Central California. The course will begin with an illustrated lecture followed by three days of hiking the line. Subjects included will be the impact on cement manufacturing, logging, bitumen mining, agriculture as well as the ethnic diversity of the North Coast.

Walking Distance: Approximately 4 miles each day. Moderate difficulty with several steep trails.

This program is suitable for participants aged 18 and above.

Participants will be responsible to provide their own transportation.

Participants will receive a letter & map with the details about where to meet and what to bring.


Friday, Sept. 19 (7 – 9 pm) – Room: 454 - Lecture

Saturday, Sept. 20 (9 am – 5 pm) – Davenport to Laguna

Saturday, Oct. 4 (9 am – 5 pm) – Laguna to Wilder

Saturday, Oct 25 (9 am – 5 pm) – Wilder to Santa Cruz

Register by Sept. 8: $150
Register after Sept. 8: $165


register online

Sandy Lydon,Historian Emeritus from Cabrillo College, has written and lectured widely on the history of the county’s railroads and the North Coast. He has been teaching at Cabrillo College since 1968.


Return to the Epicenter: A Journey to Ground Zero - 25 Years Later

On the warm, still afternoon of October 17, 1989, at 5:04 PM, deep in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, the earth directly below quite literally exploded. Shock waves radiated out interrupting the World Series, collapsing freeways, and crumbled buildings and lives many miles distant. When the dust finally settled, the landscape resembled a war zone: entire hillsides had collapsed sending huge redwood trees down into Aptos Creek, boulders as big as cars had crashed down through the forest, and the forest floor was a jumble of broken limbs and treetops. On the silver anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, we will take the opportunity to reflect on what happened and whether or not we’re prepared for the next big one.

Back to the Epicenter!
How does it look above the epicenter 25 years later? The area most affected by the earthquake is only legally accessible on foot. Gary Griggs and Sandy Lydon will be guiding an expedition and providing lectures to those wishing to see the effects of the passage of time.

This program is suitable for participants aged 18 and above.

Bring liquid and lunch.

Participants will meet at 10 am in Aptos Village and be shuttled to White’s Lagoon. We will hike approximately three miles to the epicenter.

Participants will receive a letter with a map and additional important information.

Prices includes: round trip shuttle, escorted hike to the epicenter, AND the Saturday night lecture.

Fri., October 17
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Meeting Location: Aptos Village
Register by Sept. 8: $100
Register after Sept. 8: $110


register online

Gary Griggs & Sandy Lydon - see bios below


Are We Ready to Rumble? The Lessons of Loma Prieta

An illustrated lecture by Gary Griggs and Sandy Lydon exploring the history of the the earth- quake and its local physical and psychological effects.

  • What have we learned?
  • What have we done?
  • What can we do?

Sat., October 18

7:00 - 9:00 pm
Room: 450

Register by Sept. 8: $18
Register after Sept. 8: $22


register online

Gary Griggs has been a geology professor at UCSC since 1968 where he is presently a Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Sandy Lydon is Historian Emeritus at Cabrillo College where he has taught since 1968.


Elkhorn Slough Wildlife Safari

Explore the calm waters of a premier wetland habitat, Monterey Counties Elkhorn Slough, from the unique advantage of a comfortable seat aboard a large pontoon craft as we observe water-associated birds and assorted marine mammals at very close range. Seals, sea lions, sea otters and a wide spectrum of resident and migratory bird species are abundant.

Two of the most experienced naturalists in the Monterey Bay area will be your personal guides.

Bring your binoculars and/or camera to enjoy close-up observations and unique photography opportunities while learning about the biology of individual species.

A location map and letter will be made available upon registration.

Sat., Sept. 6

8:45 am - 12 Noon
Elhorn Slough

Fee: $68


register online

Bruce Elliott & Yohn Gideon


Summer Seabirds

Certainly the most exciting and satisfying viewing of Pacific Coastal Marine Birds in the United States is along the autumn environs of Monterey Bay. Without us leaving the dock, this program will take you on tour through the avifauna of California’s central coast, introducing participants to such seasonal visitors as albatross, storm-petrel, puffins, and all their allied species.

The program will serve as a strong preparation for one of the commercial birding trips on boats out of Monterey during the prime seabird viewing season in late summer and autumn, details of which will be provided.


6:30 - 9 pm
Room: 403

Register by June 9: $25
Register after June 9: $28

Bruce Elliott - see bio below


Summer Shore Birds of Elkhorn Slough

Mid-summer in Central California marks the return of northern tundra-nesting water-associated birds, especially shorebirds on their southbound migration to winter area south of Old Mexico. Pausing here to ‘re-fuel’ body fat from the rich invertebrate animal life of the Elkhorn Slough tidelands provides in an opportunity to enjoy views of, and discuss the biology of the spectrum of transient species on the tidal mud flats. The ability of the birds to navigate through the challenges of navigation will be reviewed.

All walking is on graded track.

Bring a sack lunch, beverage, and binoculars.

Click here for additional information about Summer Shore Bird

Sat., August 16th NEW DATE!

6:30 - 9 pm
Room: 403

Register by June 9: $64
Register after June 9: $72


register online


Bruce Elliott - is a retired senior Biologist Supervisor for the California Dept. of Fish and Game. He is a skilled field trip leader who conducts a variety of tours and explorations of the area's natural resources.




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