• Mike Vasey
  • mvasey@sfsu.edu

  • July 28 - August 2, 2013
  • 1 SFSU Unit
  • $348
  • Class Open

  • Request Registration Forms by emailing sfsu.snfc@gmail.com. Please include the keywords "Conserving Biodiversity" in the subject line.

Conserving Biodiversity in the Sierra Nevada

General Description:

We focus on the challenge of conserving biodiversity in the Sierra Nevada. Daily trips to forests, meadows, chaparral, wetlands, and aquatic ecosystems provide a backdrop for profiling progress on conservation policy and practice fifteen years after the seminal Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project was concluded. The Sierra Nevada Field Campus is at a crossroads for these developments.


Mike Vasey is a lecturer at San Francisco State University. He attained his Ph.D in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz and his MA in Ecology and Systematic Biology from San Francisco State. He has taught a non-majors conservation biology class at San Francisco State (Biology 318: Our Endangered Planet) for almost twenty years.

Class Schedule

Plan to arrive at the Field Campus on Sunday before dinner. We can meet for an orientation to the class on Sunday evening after dinner. The first official class session will begin after breakfast on Monday. We will finish up around noon on Friday. In each of the following ecosystems, we will profile at-risk species/habitats and measures utilized to promote their conservation. Most of our time will be spent in the field at locations where discussion of these topics will occur in the context of the affected environment. Monday - Old growth forest diversity, timber harvesting, and conservation policies; Tuesday - Diversity, fire, climate change, and conservation policies; Wednesday - Aquatic diversity and conservation policies; Thursday - Wetland diversity and conservation policies; Friday - Summary of policies for conserving biodiversity in the Sierra Nevada.

Supplies and Other Useful Items

Class Equipment

Any special equipment will be provided.

Field gear

Bring a field notebook, binoculars and a hand lens if available.

Camping gear


Although days are generally warm, or even hot at lower elevations, be prepared for temperatures as low as freezing at night. Variable weather clothing that may be layered is best. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, warm sweater and jacket, t-shirt and shorts or skirt, tennis shoes or hiking boots, sun hat, rain gear, and a warm hat or gloves for cold weather or night activities. Old sneakers, rubber boots, or hip-waders may come in handy for marsh prowling.


  • day pack
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • alarm clock
  • water bottles

Required Reading

  • I will provide students with pdf versions of documents that relate to the topics we will cover in the field and during evening class sessions. I am working on special guests to talk to the class about issues surrounding the conservation of biodiversity in the Sierra Nevada. Details will be provided as they materialize.

For carpool email jrblair@sfsu.edu

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