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Natural History & Sustainability Home

Last Update: 5/22/19

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

Late-start Spring 2019 classes

GEOL 21: Bay Area Field Studies, Prof. Teresa Williams, Course #23387, 1 Mon., 6 Saturdays, 2/4-4/20

BIOL 60C: Herpetology, Prof. Andrew Gottscho, Course #24194, 6 Tuesdays and 4 Saturdays, 2/19-5/4.

NATAM 76E: Indian Ecology of the Central Coast, Prof. Darby Price, Course #24239, 3 Fridays and 5 weekend trips, 3/1-3/17.

BIOL 62W: Wisconsin’s Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Prof. Ron Felzer, Course #24027, 5 Thursdays and 1 Saturday, 3/7-5/18.

BIOL 62S: Natural History of the Islands of California, Prof. Brad Balukjian, Course #23388, 9 Wednesday evenings and 3 weekend trips, 3/13-5/15.

  • 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

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


Hardcore Natural History Series – Marine species that hitchhiked to North America on the debris field of a tsunami. Professor Jonathan Geller of Moss Landing Marine Labs will discuss how this project came together, the broader issue of introduced marine species in the US, and how this event fits into the broader picture of present and future human impacts on the sea. Please note, there is a cost associated with this event. Thursday, May 23rd, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. 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 23rd – Ting Nightlife
  • May 30th – Nightlife Spotlight: Flight
  • June 6th – Under the Sea Prom 


Family Events:

Marine Science Sunday: Back from the Brink – Saving Species. Marine Mammal Center. Sunday, May 26th, 10 am – 4 pm. FREE Admission. “This month we celebrate the work taking place to help save endangered and threatened marine mammals found along the California coast and Pacific Ocean, including the threatened Guadalupe fur seals, Southern sea otter, the rarest seal in the United States, the Hawaiian monk seal.” click here for more info

Welcome to Wildlife! Calling All Eco-Explorers! Youth ages 5-15 will be up to their elbows in FREE, hands-on activities. Learning through fun interactive, nature science experiences and regional field trips, your kids will find out all about the Bay Area ecosystem and become the next generation of Citizen Scientists! We have extended Welcome to Wildlife hours this year! You’re kids can expect 5 hours of science fun each Saturday! Saturday, May 25th, 10 am – 3 pm. Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. Oakland, Ca. Contact Miguel Lopez. 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.