• David Lukas
  • July 6 - 11, 2014
  • Workshop
  • $348
  • Class canceled

Natural History and the Naturalist's Mind

General Description:

What else do naturalists do besides observe and identify plants and animals? Come along and see for yourself as we launch into a vigorous and exciting week of exploring northern Sierra Nevada landscapes through the eyes and ears of a naturalist. Building on skills of observation and identification, we will weave together critical thinking, reasoning, and introspection as we search for the deeper patterns, forms, and flows that underlie the surface appearances of the natural world.

Class Schedule

Plan to arrive at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus on Sunday. We will get acquainted that evening, but the class will begin at 7:30 AM on Monday. The week's activities will be flexible to take advantage of some of the best viewing opportunities but in general each day will be spent in the field, with time to relax at lunch, and returning to the field campus by dinner. Lectures and discussions will be held informally in the field or in the evening. Evening activities may include searching for owls. Walks will be generally short but could range up to 5 miles over moderately rough terrain. The class will end around noon on Friday.

Supplies and Other Useful Items

Field gear

  • binoculars
  • spotting scope (optional)
  • hand lens
  • bug boxes or small jars (optional)
  • butterfly net and pond dip net (optional)
  • field guides
  • headlamp

Camping gear


Days are warm, even hot, while evenings are quite cold (close to freezing). Clothing that can be layered for variable weather conditions is best. T-shirts and shorts are often perfect during the day, with a wind jacket or raincoat as backup. Long pants, warmer shirts and sweaters with a coat are necessary in the evening. Comfortable shoes, sun hat, wool hat and gloves are important. Old sneakers or rubber boots and a swimsuit may come in handy while visiting marshes.


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


  • Sierra Nevada Birds. David Lukas. Lukas Guides. A comprehensive guide to the life history and distribution of all the birds in the Sierra Nevada.
    Order at www.lukasguides.com
  • Sierra Nevada Natural History, T. I. Storer, R. L. Usinger, D. Lukas; The classic book on all aspects of the natural history of the Range of Light.
    Order at UC Press
  • A Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide to the Sierra Nevada, S. Whitney. A modern and comprehensive guide to the region's natural history.
    Order at Amazon

For carpool or additional information, email jrblair@sfsu.edu

Click here for printer friendly Version

site design by Nica Lorber