Bay Area Field Ecology 2017-10-11T19:57:10+00:00

Bay Area Field Ecology

This course focuses on using ecological field tools and journaling to explore one’s “backyard ecosystem”. During the semester students will have the opportunity to research in depth their own backyard environment.  Students will be supplied with a kit which contains tools that they will use throughout the semester to study bay area ecology.  The course will focus on journaling and documentation to demonstrate growth in the field.  Participants in this course will document their weekly studies through inaturalist observations and field journal entries.  Students who like the outdoors and/or want to know more about the biodiversity of the San Francisco bay area should strongly consider this course.  All students will also complete an individual field service project that relates to an area they are interested in. During our face-to-face meetings students will work with scientists and naturalists and learn instrumentation and methodology for field study and practice it in a field setting.  Students will have the opportunity to present an interpretive talk during one of our face-to-face trips on a topic or species that interest them.  The class meets every other week during mutually agreed upon times (typically evenings 8:30 pm to 9:15 pm) through Zoom (virtual) meetings to check in, build community and share work.  This course culminates with a certification field practical that tests students’ growth in the field of bay area ecology and naturalists skills.  This course is well suited for students who are self motivated, interested in ecology, journaling and who want to spend more time outside! Students should expect to spend 2 hours a week outside for this course and 1.5 to 2 hours indoors reading, analyzing and sharing data.
What past students have to say about this course:
Bay Area Ecology

  • “I treasure the small things in our natural environment more after the course.  For example, I could not care less about lichen or gum plant before this course, but actually studying them as individuals makes them more interesting (especially lichen!) I want to know even more about California’s birds and their lives in the bay area now!”.
  • “I love trying to identify the species around me now.  Even driving down the highway I see things like the common bird’s foot flower, coyote bush and cow parsley I never noticed before.”
  • “Group outdoor learning was my FAVORITE part of this class. I learned so much from Liz and fellow classmates.  The engagement was more fervent when we were all together outside studying our surroundings!  I loved the hands on learning opportunities that helped me appreciate and love the parks and organisms that are all around me!”
  • “I really liked the Zoom meetings, actually.  I enjoyed spending time with and getting to know my classmates through these virtual classes.”

Face to Face (F2F) outings :  Please review dates carefully.  These F2F outings are a required part of the course and integral to your success in this course!

  • Friday, August 25 @ 5 pm meet @ Marin Academy to Saturday, August August 26 @ 5 pm return to Marin Academy (Point Reyes camping trip)
  • Sunday, September 17 @ 9:30 am to 3:30 pm meet @ Athenian high school.  (Mt. Diablo natural history)
  • Sunday, October 22 @ 10:30 am to 2:30 pm meet @ Sports Basement (Crissy Field natural history)
  • Sunday, November 5 @ 9:30 am to 2:30 pm meet at North Tower/Golden Gate Bridge parking (Marin side) across highway from Vista Park  (Headlands & Mt. Tamalpais Natural history)
  • Monday, December 4th @ 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm  @ Marin Academy (Final practical, presentations & celebration!)


LizGottliebLiz Gottlieb – Marin Academy
Liz currently teaches Biology and AP Environmental Science and coaches the Cross Country team at Marin Academy. She also leads a number of running, hiking, and restoration outings, including a cross-country summer running outing in Tahoe. She received a BA from Colby College and also studied Education at Loyola Marymount and Social Justice at San Francisco University. Liz began her teaching career by participating in Teach for America, where she taught seventh- and eighth-grade science at Roosevelt Middle School in Compton, California.