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History and Nature Classes

Owls of Santa Cruz County

Owls are some of the most magical, powerful creatures on earth. The sound of an owl can stop you in your tracks, and their gaze is mesmerizing. Fortunately for those of us residing in Santa Cruz County, the coast and mountains of Western Santa Cruz County host as many as seven species of owls. This two-part class will provide an opportunity to learn about these fascinating creatures, then venture out into their habitat for an evening walk in search of these majestic and mysterious nocturnal creatures.

We begin on-campus with a lecture in the afternoon, full of “old-school” slides from photographs taken by the instructor during his decades of studying these beautiful birds of prey.  He will review biology, species identification and habitat for our local owls. Students will learn to identify owl species by silhouette and their unique calls. After a dinner break, the class will meet again for an evening of nocturnal searching in Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

Directions and details about the location of the evening walk will be provided in class. Students should dress warm, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring a flashlight!

Sat., March 2 CLASS FULL! See new dates below
2:30 - 9:00 pm
Room: 403 and Rancho Del Osos

Register before Jan. 28: $78
Register after Jan. 28: $85

Register 2 or more: $70 each

register online



Sat., March 9 - CLASS FULL! See new dates below
2:30 - 9:00 pm
Room: 403 and Rancho Del Osos

Register before Jan. 28: $78
Register after Jan. 28: $85

Register 2 or more: $70 each

register online

 


Sat., March 23
2:30 - 9:00 pm
Room: 403 and Rancho Del Osos

Register before Jan. 28: $78
Register after Jan. 28: $85

Register 2 or more: $70 each

register online


Bruce Elliott - see bio



 

 

 

 

Elkhorn Slough Safari – Spring Wildlife

Spend a day at Elkhorn Slough learning about and viewing wetland wildlife at close range aboard a comfortable, easily boardable boat, floating on calm inland slough water. This day trip will offer a unique spring-time spectrum of wildlife, including shore bird species. Join two experienced naturalists as we see sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters during the otter and seal pupping season. There will be a significant variety of aquatic birds, and close-in views of a thriving heron and cormorant rookery shore side. We rarely record fewer than 50 bird species on our trips, including many northbound migrants, during the three-hour outing. This trip offers a view of the Elkhorn slough, and the wildlife that live there, that is only visible when you are moving through the slough on a boat!

Please bring $8 for parking meters, in $1 bills or change. These meters do not give change!     

Dress warm, wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Please check our Class Resources web page for maps, directions, and other important information.

Sat., April 6 - CLASS FULL
12:30 - 4:30pm
Participants will meet at Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing.

Register before March 25: $78
Register after March 25: $85

Register 2 or more: $70 each

register online

 

Sat., May 11- NEW SESSION!
10:30 am - 2:30 pm
Participants will meet at Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing.

Register before March 25: $78
Register after March 25: $85

Register 2 or more: $70 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.

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




 

 

 

 

Wildlife, Wildflowers and Condors at Pinnacles West

 

This gem of a pristine wildland tucked into the center of the Inner Coast Range along the boundary of Monterey and San Benito County features towering, brightly-hued volcanic cliffs, cool riparian streamside woodland, riotous spring flower displays, and is home to nesting prairie and peregrine falcon and wide variety of songbird species. An extra inducement for this visit is the introduction and breeding of the California condor within the park, which now roam free at the Pinnacles. We may have opportunities to observe these birds during our time on the trail.

We will explore portions of this fascinating wildlife mecca at the height of the spring wildflower season and the onset of the annual bird migration. An excellent, easily navigated trail system provides comfortable access to excellent viewing opportunities.

Our early meeting time puts us in the park when parking is easier to find closer to our trailheads, so be sure to plan for travel time.

Park entrance fees apply, unless you have a National Park Service annual pass or Golden Eagle Passport.

Please check our Class Resources web page for meeting location, maps, directions, and other important information.

 

Sun., April 7
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Pinnacles National Monument - West

Register before March 25: $78
Register after March 25: $85

Register 2 or more: $70 each

register online


Sat., May 4 CLASS FULL! See above for new dates.
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Pinnacles National Monument - West

Register before March 25: $78
Register after March 25: $85

Register 2 or more: $70 each

register online

 

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


Backyard Astronomer

beekeeping

 

Learn how to identify the stars and constellations in our local skies in this fun hands-on workshop. Using the Cabrillo planetarium and observatory discover the wonders of the universe and learn about astronomy history, methods, equipment, and recent discoveries. We’ll show some of the newest images from the Hubble of Mercury and talk about the 400+ newly discovered planets.

Participants should dress warmly for outdoor observation on the hill. In case of rain or fog, class assembles in the planetarium.

This class is appropriate for students aged 10 to adult.

2 Fri., April 26 & May 3
6:30 - 9:30 pm
Room: 707

Register before March 25: $58
Register after March 25: $65
Plus a $5 materials fee paid at registration

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, representing planetariums in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii. 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.


Explore Astronomy at 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., August 23 & 30
Aug. 23, 6:30 - 9:30 pm
Room: 707
August 30, 5:30 - 10:30 pm
At Lick Observatory

Register before May 30: $98
Register after May 30: $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, representing planetariums in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii. 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.

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., Feb. 23 & March 2
9:30 am - 12:00 noon
Room: 1606

Register before Jan. 28: $68
Register after Jan. 28: $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., April 13
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Room: 1605

Register before Jan. 28: $68
Register after Jan. 28: $75

register online

 

Emily Bondor - see bio



Small Scale Queen Bee Rearing

Do you consider yourself an intermediate to advanced beekeeper, and want to try your hand at raising queen bees? In the morning portion of this class we will cover different methods and techniques for raising queen bees, including methods to split a hive, breeding programs, and an intro to grafting. In the afternoon, we will head up to the hives at the Cabrillo Horticulture Center for a demonstration of basic grafting.

Beekeepers will leave with a more intimate knowledge of queen bee biology and development, and information about techniques to harvest and incubate queen cells.

Your materials fee will include a grafting tool, several cell cups, and a special langstroth grafting frame.

Bring your bee veil & optional bag lunch.

Sat., April 27
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Room: 1605

Register before March 25: $68
Register after March 25: $75

plus $15 materials fee payable in class

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



Sea Otters on the California Coast

 

 

Sea Otters are amazing, adorable, and vitally important to our coastal ecosystems. Discover the captivating sea otter survival story, and explore the beautiful sea otter habitat in Moss Landing, with an expert guide. This updated version of our ever-popular annual Sea Otter Adventure begins with a presentation and photographic journey, including the latest sea otter conservation news, then a break for lunch before heading to Moss Landing to search for the otters.  This annual adventure always yields rich photo opportunities, the chance to view the sea otters, and to make new friends!

Kim will also discuss some of the topics from The Edge: The Pressured Past and Precarious Future of California’s Coast, a new book he has co-authored with local marine expert Dr. Gary Griggs, exploring the sometimes-complex relationship between humans and nature.

The afternoon includes about a mile of light hiking. Students should bring a lunch. Detailed directions to the field trip location are provided in the morning lecture portion of class.

Sat., May 18
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Room: 2501 and off-site in Moss Landing
Register before March 25: $68
Register after March 25: $72
Register 2 or more: $65 each

register online

 

Kim Steinhardt is a former administrative law judge who now writes about the coast and photographs marine wildlife. His photographic work and storytelling has been recognized by National Geographic Books, where he has served as a consultant and photo contributor regarding sea otters.

 

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