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First-Time Native American Ecology Course (NATAM 76E) Looks at Sustainable Living; Starts 3/1

7 February 2019

Darby Price has taught over three dozen courses during his teaching career, and most have covered some aspect of ethnic or environmental studies. So he is especially excited to offer a new course that combines both at Merritt: “California Indian Ecology of the Central Coast” (Native American Studies 76E, starting March 1.

“California Indian ecology is a broad topic that is underrepresented in the curriculum, so this course will cover a variety of topics focusing on ecology and the interaction between nature
and humans,” says Darby. “Native American ecological life provides important lessons for
sustainable living, from the arrival of peoples 13,000 years
ago on the California coast to the present.

Students will spend most of the course exploring the Bay Area’s incredible biodiversity through field trips to Point Reyes Miwok Cultural site, Coyote Hills Ohlone site, an Oakland shellmound site, East Bay Regional Park’s Native California botanic garden, and the Native American Health Center (where Darby is a member of the board of directors).

“We all have indigenous roots, and this course is for everyone who wants to reconnect with indigenous ways and learn how to live closer with nature,” says Darby, who is Chinese, Scots, Welsh, and Cherokee, and has lived off the grid in
nature as his ancestors did. “We will focus not only on American Indian ecology
and culture but their ability to survive into the present.”

This course is part of Merritt’s new Natural History & Sustainability Program
which brings together environmental-related classes from a variety of disciplines that offer the knowledge, training, and skills to find a career and help tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Other courses still available for the Spring: Feb. 4: Bay Area Field Studies (GEOL 21, #23387); Feb. 19: Herpetology (BIOL 60C: #24194); March 7: Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail (BIOL 62W, #24207; March 13: Islands of California (BIOL 62S, #23388).

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