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History and Nature Classes

Explore Astronomy at Lick Observatory (photo credit: © UC Regents / Lick Observatory)

 

The Lick Observatory, a world class
observatory and historic site, was founded
in 1888, and was the first mountain top
observatory in the US! It sits high atop
Mount Hamilton at 4,200 feet elevation.
The property includes historic and
important modern research telescopes,
beautiful architecture, and breathtaking
views of the valley below and sky above
like no other!

The first class meeting takes place at
the Cabrillo planetarium to explore basic
astronomical concepts, historic and
modern instruments and methods. A
discussion of astronomical history and the
development of telescopes will help
prepare students to get the most out of our evening at the Lick Observatory.

Our second class meeting at the Lick Observatory includes a guided walking tour, a lecture on
the history of Lick: the man and the observatory, and a visit to the dome of the famous 36 inch
refractor. Weather permitting, we will look through this awesome instrument. It was once the
largest—and remains the 2nd largest refracting telescope in the world!

Please note, the trip to Lick Observatory includes 365 turns as you wind your way up Mount Hamilton
road to the observatory! Plan to take it slow and take in the views as you make your way up the mountain.
You may even plan to arrive at the site early for a picnic dinner as you enjoy some of the most
spectacular views of the bay area you’ll ever see! Bring warm clothes; the nights can be quite cool.


2 Fri., Sept. 21 & 28
Sept. 21: 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Sept. 28: 5:30 – 10:30pm
Room: 707 and Lick Observatory
Register before Sept. 10: $98
Register after Sept. 10: $115
Register 2 or more: $95 each

register online

 

Karl von Ahnen is the retired director of the Fujitsu Planetarium at De Anza College, and is president of the Pacific Planetarium Association. He has been teaching ‘Back Yard Astronomy’ classes at Cabrillo College since 1988. His infatuation with astronomy started with a trip to Lick Observatory when he was 9 years old.



Chalk Mountain Day Hike

John Muir, one of California’s most famous naturalists, once asked a carpenter on the streets of 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? Is so then please join us as we escape our daily lives on our journey up Chalk Mountain. This eight mile/1600’ elevation gain hike includes a strenuous climb to start, with the remainder of the hike being mostly moderate-level. We will begin in dense forest, and find ourselves in the chaparral with sweeping views of the Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. If time permits, we will stop at a “local secret” beach on our way home.   

This course is designed for participants 18 years of age or older. Students 16 and 17 years old may attend with an adult.

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

Sat., Oct. 27
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Please see Extension’s Class Resources web page for directions and meeting place

Register before Sept. 10: $58
Register after Sept. 10: $65

Register 2 or more: $55 each

register online



 

 

 

 

Big Sur Condors

Big Sur is blessed with incredible bio-diversity and is home to several rare and endangered species. Take the beautiful drive south on Highway 1 to Big Sur Station and enjoy a day of learning about, and searching for, the majestic California Condor. Known to nest in this location, this is a prime viewing area for adult condors and their young. The location is also a main migratory raptor route so sightings of owls, hawks and other large birds of prey are common. This day long workshop will begin with an “old-school” slide show at the Big Sur Station Conference Room with images collected by your instructor over decades of field research and study, and a discussion about condor biology. Then it’s out into the beautiful Big Sur coast to view condors from the Big Sur introduction population.

Participants will meet at Big Sur Station just beyond the Big Sur State Park.

Please check the Extension Class Resources web page for a map with directions to the meeting place. Bring a lunch and a drink, and wear comfortable walking shoes!

Dress warm, and wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Sat., Oct. 6
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Participants will meet at Big Sur Station just beyond the Big Sur State Park.

Register before Sept. 10: $88
Register after Sept. 10: $95

Register 2 or more: $85 each

register online

 

Bruce Elliott - see bio

"Bruce Elliot is excellent; he's an expert in Natural History, excited about his subject, and a great instructor."



Winter Wildlife of the Central Valley

 

 

 

 

The Grasslands District of the Western San Joaquin Valley is host to a wide spectrum of wildlife species including waterfowl, waders, birds of prey and a sizable population of Sandhill Cranes. During our day at this wildlife refuge we should find a minimum of 50 bird species, and among the highlights would be the preliminary courtship dancing of huge Sandhill Cranes, and great horned owls in stream-side thickets. Some of the flocks of snow and cackling geese number in the thousands. There will also be the opportunity to enjoy views of tule elk, the largest of the mature deer in California, while we review the process of elk herd reintroduction and the management challenges presented by these large, powerful herd animals.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for changing weather. Bring a bag lunch, beverage and binoculars. After arrival students will carpool during the day to access specific areas of the preserve.

Please visit our Class Resources web page for maps and directions! 

Sat., Jan. 26, 2019
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Los Banos State Wildlife Area

Register before Sept. 10: $68
Register after Sept. 10: $72

Register 2 or more: $65 each

register online

 

Bruce Elliott - see bio

"Bruce is a great instructor with a depth of knowledge. Highly recommend this class. I look forward to whatever he offers next. "

-Winter Wildlife with Bruce Elliot student



Wetlands of Watsonville

The recently established Watsonville Wildlife Area is known for muskrat sightings, is a great place for bird watching, and is home to over 23 species whose survival is in danger - including the peregrine falcon and osprey. In the cool and clear winter months there are a wide variety of water bird species, and during your morning walk your expert guide will review the in-depth biology and migratory patterns of each species you encounter - like a verbal version of a bird book and wildlife guide! There are plenty of walking trails that offer easy-access, comfortable wildlife watching on a paved lakeside trail. The trail is a level, paved walkway with benches and beautiful views. This South Santa Cruz County Park is part of the recently established Watsonville Wildlife Area, and is one of the largest remaining freshwater marshes on the central coast. Spend the morning enjoying the beautiful location, while you learn about the fascinating local creatures that call the Central Coast home..

Students should dress warm and wear comfortable walking shoes.

Please visit our Class Resources web page for maps and directions! 

Sat. Dec. 8 - CLASS FULL, see new date below!
9:00 am - 12:00 noon
Location:
Watsonville Wildlife Park
Register before Sept. 10: $48
Register after Sept. 10: $55

Register 2 or more: $45 each

register online

 

Sat. Dec. 15
9:00 am - 12:00 noon
Location:
Watsonville Wildlife Park
Register before Sept. 10: $48
Register after Sept. 10: $55
Register 2 or more: $45 each

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.



Beekeeping Basics and Honeybee Biology

beekeeping

 

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., September 15 & 22
9:30 am - 12:00 noon
Room: Horticulture 5001
- Click HERE for a campus map.
Register before Sept. 10: $68
Register after Sept. 10: $75

plus $5 materials fee payable at registration

register online

 

Emily Bondor - see bio below



bees

Intermediate Beekeeping

 

 

This class is designed for students with knowledge of beekeeping, and those who have beehives. We will discuss keeping bees locally, the way to start a hive (package versus nucleus), and different option for foundation. The class will focus on IPM approaches, different options for tackling parasitic Varroa mites, and seasonal hive management techniques. We will review natural approaches to IPM in place of harsh chemicals.

Students will be encouraged to compare notes and strategies, and to foster community engagement and mentorship. Students will leave with detailed knowledge about treating for Varroa mites, and a seasonal outline for hive management. 

Sat., September 29
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5001 - Click HERE for a campus map.

Register before Sept. 10: $68
Register after Sept. 10: $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.

 

 

"Instructor Emily Bondor is a wonderful teacher. She has a wealth of knowledge about bees and is able to convey her passion and mastery of beekeeping in a delightful way. The class was informative and fun. I highly recommend Ms. Bondor as an instructor. "

-Beekeeping Basics student

 

 

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