Teaching

Environmental Studies Professor Karen Holl demonstrating vegetation sampling to senior seminar course.

More than 150 undergraduate courses across the UC system visit UC Natural Reserve System reserves each year. Class subjects range from botany to zoology, archaeology to environmental planning, public health to the performing and visual arts. Reserves welcome university-level courses on virtually all topics of study; photography and outdoor writing are considered as valid as the natural sciences.  Institutions from around the world also bring their classes to the NRS to learn.

In the field, students learn by doing. They readily absorb concepts difficult to teach in a traditional classroom, such as how to set up a transect, obtain tissue samples from wildlife, or observe animal behavior using professional standards. They experience what the land smells and feels like—characteristics that provide clues to the workings of an ecosystem. Their direct observations enrich lectures and textbook readings. Being outdoors lets students witness for themselves the importance of ecological relationships, and the interconnectedness of species.

Younger Lagoon Reserve is located on UC Santa Cruz's Coastal Science Campus, and is within minutes of the main campus, making it convenient for class visits.  Younger Lagoon Reserve regularly hosts courses in restoration ecology, plant physiology, general ecology, entomolgy, as well as field courses from the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies departments, including Field Quarter and the Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse.  Reserve staff work with course instructors to assist with class needs, from simple site orientation to developing course materials and co-teaching.