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Natural History & Sustainability Home

Last Update: 7/18/19

Go Green in 2019.
Welcome to Natural History & Sustainability (NHS)
  Fall Semester 2019

Hot Off the Press! Read NHS article in April issue of Oakland Magazine:
“Merritt College is Training the Next Generation of Naturalists” 


We’re hiring!

Interested in teaching with us? Email Director Brad Balukjian at

Coming soon: The list of Fall 2019 classes (begins 8/19)

  • Vote yourself ON the island--everything about the natural history of our unique California ecosystems. BIOL 62S - Islands of California (click photo)

Job Training. Transfer Prep.

Your career in the environment starts here.

Merritt’s new Natural History & Sustainability (NHS) Program emphasizes the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to tackle the major environmental challenges of the 21st century. The interdepartmental program offers career- and transfer-driven coursework in three tracks: (1) Natural History and Resources; (2) Conservation and Resource Management; and (3) Urban Agroecology. It is ideal for students interested in the basic science of the natural world and its effect on human society, and provides training for the following jobs: Park ranger, naturalist, field technician, urban farmer, food production analyst, water quality technician, environmental consultant, interpretive aide, environmental educator. Certificates of Achievement are currently being developed for each track and are expected to be active by the Spring 2020 semester.


Latest News

Come join us! Schedule of Fall 2019 classes now up online. Experience hands on learning with many of our classes in the Natural History and Sustainability Program. click here to enroll/apply


Free Lectures

Quantify Watershed behavior using Geophysical Methods. Quantifying how terrestrial systems respond to climate change and other perturbations is challenging due to the complexity of associated processes that occur from bedrock-to-canopy and over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. This presentation describe the development of several new approaches to help bridge these compartments and scales through integrating disparate geophysical, hydrological, geochemical and microbial datasets. Thursday, May 30th, 12 noon – 1:15 P.M. Mitchell Earth Science Buildings, room 350/372. Stanford University. Click here for more info

Food, Agriculture, Biotechnology and Some other thoughts. Come for an evening of learning about how foods have changed over centuries and how they are being modified today.  Use of modern tools of genetics allows researchers to make changes in the genetic makeup of some foods we use and eat in a than we have made such changes in the past. Thursday, May 30th, 5 PM – 6:45 PM. Cafe Scientifique Silicon Valley. HanaHaus, Pall Alto,CA. click here for more info


Summer Class

Spend a summer at 5,700 ft above sea level in the beautiful Sierras! San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus is dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of the biological diversity, geosciences, hydrology, astronomy, plein air art and written word in the Gold Lakes Basin and Sierra Valley regions of the Sierra Nevada through education and research. The summer classes start early June and run until August. Scholarships are available to current college students. Current students can receive a discount of 30% tent and meal costs.

click here for more info

Merritt’s Natural History Program was featured in the Oakland Magazine. Check out the article about Merritt’s efforts in training “Next Generation Naturalists” written by Angela Hill. Click here to read more


The summer is almost here! Why not spend it gaining hands on experience with environmental agencies. Consider a internship.  

  • North Coast Environmental Intern. California State Coastal Conservancy – Oakland, CA 94612 $2,345 – $3,126 a month – Internship. The Environmental Services Intern is a nine-month position at the Coastal Conservancy. The incumbent will assist Conservancy staff with management of projects in the North Coast region that restore coastal habitats, increase public access for all Californians, and help communities adapt to climate change and sea level rise, and also assist with outreach and communication about the projects and programs of the Conservancy.  Click here for more info


Night Life

Looking for a way to relax after a long semester and busy spring?Consider Nightlife at the Academy of Sciences. Every Thursday from 6 pm – 10 pm the Academy offers themed based events where visitor can enjoy live entertainment, delicious treats, and special exhibits. Themes vary based on the Thursday. Please note, this event is for the 21 and older crowd. For more info and pricing click here

  • May 30th – Nightlife Spotlight: Flight
  • June 6th – Under the Sea Prom 
  • June 13th – Design Nightlife 



Alcatraz Historic Garden Tour. Beginning in 2003, the Garden Conservancy formed a partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the NPS to rehabilitate the Historic Gardens of Alcatraz. Join Shelagh Fritz (Project Manager of the Gardens), to learn about the preservation process of a cultural landscapes: through the planning stages, preparation of treatment plans and receiving approval, to implementing the plan. Friday, May 31st, 8 AM – 12 noon. Donations are encouraged. Pier 33, San Francisco, CA. Click here for more info

FREE first Wednesday at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Free admission all day. Wednesday, June 5th. 9 AM – 4 PM. 557 McReynolds Road Fort Baker, Sausalito, CA. click here for more info


NHS Logo


Why a lichen (a combination of fungi and algae) for our logo? Read more about why we chose the mottled tube lichen, Hypogymnia inactiva, to represent our program. Fun fact: The lichen in our logo was drawn by Merritt student Mary Ann King in Prof. Sheila Metcalf-Tobin’s “Botanical Drawing” class.