Spring 2021 Courses in Natural History & Sustainability

Spring classes run from January 25-May 28 unless otherwise indicated.

Enrollment is now open! Follow the steps to apply and enroll here.

COVID-19 Update: Due to the ongoing pandemic, spring classes will be taught online. It is up to the individual professor’s discretion whether to teach the class “in real time” (synchronously) or asynchronously. The times listed for each class below are the original planned meeting times. We anticipate beginning some in-person classes again in Summer 2021.

New Certificates of Achievement in Conservation & Resource Management (CRM), Natural History & Resources (NHR), and Urban Agroecology (UA) are now approved; the acronyms at the end of each course description indicate the Certificate to which that course belongs; core (required) courses are in boldface. If you have questions about a specific course, please e-mail the professor. All courses are taught at Merritt College’s campus unless otherwise noted.

Environmental Management and Technology (ENVMT) Courses:

ENVMT 2/2L (24111/24112): Introduction to Sustainable Environmental Systems. Prof. Ben Nelson (bnelson@peralta.edu). Interdisciplinary study of the impact of human civilization on the earth’s major ecological systems: Issues examined in historic, contemporary, and future settings, including both Western and non-Western contexts; material presented from a theoretical point of view, with a focus on core concepts and methods related to ecology, sustainability, human population, natural resources, wastes and pollution; reflection of how human economic, political, and ethical behaviors are inextricably interwoven with the environment; and presentation of environmental career options. Zoom Meetings Thursdays 9:00-10:50 AM.4 units. CRM; NHR; UA.

ENVMT 14 (24117): Environmental Impact Reports. Prof. Richard Grassetti (gecons@aol.com). Introduction to, analysis, and writing of environmental impact reports, statements, assessments and reviews: Background, purposes, uses, and content of EIRs (Environmental Impact Reports); analyzing and commenting on EIR elements and tests of significance.  Late-start course: 3/9-5/11; Zoom meetings 6:30-8:20 PM on Tuesdays. 2 units. CRM; NHR; UA.

ENVMT 35 (23117/24237): Introduction to Urban Agroecology. Prof. Paul Rogé (proge@peralta.edu). Introduction to the expanding production and distribution of healthy food and environmentally sustainable agriculture in and near cities: Organic and intensive agriculture, field methods, policy, economy, ecology, and equity. Zoom Meetings Wednesdays 6:30-8:20pm. 3 units. NHR; UA.

ENVMT 55 (23142): Principles of Conservation and Land Management. Prof. Jim O’Connor (joconnor@peralta.edu). Introduction to natural resources conservation and management: Historical and political overview of conservation and natural resource policies in California and the United States. Zoom Meeting Thursdays 6:00-8:50pm. 3 units. CRM; NHR; UA.

Biology (BIOL) Courses:

BIOL 9  (23006/23007): Marine Biology. Prof. Benjamin Nelson (bnelson@peralta.edu). Introduction to the natural history of marine algae, invertebrates, fish and mammals, focusing on Northern California coast environments: Basic concepts of biology, oceanography, ecology, and current environmental issues. Zoom Meetings Thursdays 4:00-5:50pm. 4 units. CRM; NHR.

BIOL 61K (23084): Natural History of the Bay Area: Lichens. Prof. Allie Weill (aweill@peralta.edu). Common Lichens of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area: Microscopic analysis and field study. Optional Zoom meetings 7-7:50 PM on Tuesdays. Late start course: 3/16-5/11. 2 units. CRM; NHR.

BIOL 80B (23549): Bird Songing: The Ecology of Bird Songs and Identification by Ear. Prof. Daniel Edelstein (dedelstein@peralta.edu). Introduction to the identification, classification, and ecology of birds in terms of how they communicate and use their songs: Emphasis on Central California and Bay Area birds, with special attention paid to birds such as passerines, hummingbirds, and parrots that memorize and learn their songs; concepts relating to how birds sing, learn their songs, mimic one another, and play duets together. Late-Start Course: Zoom Meeting Thursdays 7:00-7:50pm on 3/11, 3/25, 4/8, 4/22, and 5/6. 2 units. CRM; NHR.

Landscape Horticulture (LANHT) Courses:

LANHORT 2/2L (23555/23556): Plant Materials: Tree ID and Culture with Lab. Prof. Laura Forlin (lforlin@peralta.edu). Fundamentals of equipment used in the arborist trade. Zoom Meetings Thursdays 10-11:50pm, 1:00-3:50pm. 3 units. CRM; NHR; UA.

LAND HORT 5EB (23557): Plant Materials: Spring Native Plant ID. Prof. Stew Winchester (stewwinchester@sbcglobal.net). Identification and culture of Spring native plants used in the landscape. Zoom Meetings Wednesdays 6:30-9:20pm. 3 units. CRM; NHR; UA.

LAND HORT 23 (22730): Plant Terminology. Prof. Laura Forlin (lforlin@peralta.edu). Terminology used in identification of plants: Terms relating to roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit used in all plant identification courses and in Introduction to Landscape Horticulture. Zoom Meetings Tuesdays 1:00-3:15pm. 2.5 units. CRM; NHR; UA.

LANHORT 28A/28AL (22736/22737): Permaculture Design. Prof. Lawrence Lee (lelee@peralta.edu). Strategies and techniques of applied ecology/permaculture design and application for designing livable human communities: Observation of natural patterns, gardening in urban settings, water and nutrient recycling in the landscape, and an introduction to the Bay Area bioregion; emphasis on permaculture ethics and principles, soil fertility, composting, and synergistic plant associations. Zoom Meetings Tuesdays 5:00-7:50pm, 8:00-9:50pm. 2 units. UA.

LANHORT 76/76L (23012/23013): Edible Landscaping. Prof. Lawrence Lee (lelee@peralta.edu). Use of food-producing plants in the constructed landscape for homeowners, renters, school gardens, community gardens, senior centers, and micro-farms. Zoom Meetings Fridays 10:00-11:50pm, 1:00-3:50pm. 3 units. UA.

Art (Art) Courses: 

ART 166/166L (22866 / 22867): Beginning Botanical Drawing. Prof. Sheila Metcalf-Tobin (smetcalftobin@peralta.edu). Exploration through drawing of basic plant structures: Recording details of various plant forms; emphasis on rendering form and texture with graphite pencils, graphite powder, white drawing pencils and ink pens. Zoom Meeting Mondays 12:30-2pm. 2 units. CRM; NHR.

Geography (GEOG) Courses: 

GEOG 1/1L (22719 OR 22988 / 23532): Physical Geography. Prof. Teresa Williams (twilliams@peralta.edu). Basic elements of the earth’s physical systems and processes: Earth sun relations, weather, climate, water, plate tectonics, landforms, soils, and ecosystems and their interrelationships and global distribution patterns.  Asynchronous course; Zoom office hours Mondays 7-8:30 AM; 6-7:30 PM; Wednesdays 2-3:30 PM. 4 units. CRM; NHR; UA.

Geology (GEOL) Courses:

GEOL 1/1L (22720/22721 OR 23533/23534): Introduction to Physical Geology. Prof. Teresa Williams (twilliams@peralta.edu). Survey of materials and structures comprising the outer portion of the earth, and geologic processes responsible for sculpturing the earth: Plate tectonics and mountain building; formation of minerals and igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; deformation of rocks by folding and faulting; and erosion of the land surface. Zoom Meetings office hours Tuesdays 7-8:30 AM, 6-7:30 PM; Thursdays 2-3:30 PM. 4 units. CRM; NHR.

Native American Studies (NATAM) Courses:

NATAM 76E (23154): California Indian Ecology on the Central Coast. Prof. Darby Price (dprice@peralta.edu). Native American relationships to the California Central Coast: PreIndian environment; abundance; human-environment interactions; adaptations; challenges; environmentally situated lives; ethnoecology of specific tribal groups; beliefs and worldviews; norms and practices; ecological knowledge bases; resource management. Asynchronous online course. CRM; UA; NHR.

Nutrition (NUTRITION) Courses:

NUTRITION 31 (22786/22787): Food Production Systems. Prof. Ashley Reaver (areaver@peralta.edu). The functions of institutional food-service production: Menu development and standardization; forecasting, purchasing, storage, preparation and service; staffing, equipment selection and maintenance; evaluation of the food-service system; medical diets including texture and nutrient modifications; information technology in food service settings including budgeting, cost/inventory control, nutritional analysis, recipe development, production forecasting, menu production; selecting or upgrading systems software. Zoom Meeting Mondays 4:00-5:50pm. 3 units. UA.