Currently offering the following small, interactive online classes.
All classes June 22 through August 28 (Ten weeks)
Humans and the Natural World with Madeline Goodwin
Section 1 – Ages 7-10
Section 2 – Ages 11-14
Today, we live in a world where there are supposed boundaries between wild “nature” and developed “civilization,” but this has not always been the case. For most of human history, our lives were deeply intertwined with our natural surroundings, which played important roles in driving the course of human development. Even today, we are far less separated from the world around us than we are led to believe. From the origins of agriculture and the evolution of housecats, to the spread of diseases and our current climate crisis, we will look at the ways humans have been and continue to be interconnected with plants, animals, soil, geography, and weather, and how those factors shaped the world we live in today.
Planet of Pests with Madeline Goodwin
Everywhere you go, you will hear someone complaining about weeds, insects, and other “pests.” Dating back to even before the domestication of house cats to hunt rats and mice, humans have been trying to control their environment and keep unwanted species out of our spaces. Spiders, ants, roaches, birds, weeds, stinging insects, invasive species, pollen, mold… you’ve likely heard or experienced the inconveniences or problems caused by at least one of these organisms. But what role do these species play in their ecosystems? Can we learn to live with them in peace? In this course we will explore the various forms “pests” have taken over the centuries, how we have approached pest control, and what roles these pesky species play in their native ecosystems.
Photographing Nature with Anastasia Risley
Tuesdays, 11:30am Pacific Time
Photographing Nature is a course for students that are interested in photography and the outdoors. In this course, we will take and share photos of various subjects, from pets to flowers to landscapes. First, students will become acquainted with the possibilities of their own individual cameras, whether they be Digital SLRs or on a cell phone. We will also study important photography concepts such as composition, lighting, exposure, and content by examining beautiful photographs that coincide with each week’s subject. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to give and receive positive feedback from classmates on “Gallery days.” Finally, students will compile a portfolio of their favorite photographs taken over the course, which they will be able to share with family and friends. You don’t need to live in the forest or even near a park to take this course; part of the creative journey will be finding artistic inspiration in your own surroundings.
Historical Geology with Anastasia Risley
Tuesdays, 10am Pacific Time
Historical Geology is for anyone who is interested in learning about how the surface of the Earth formed, and what that means for land both above and below the sea today. In this course, we will learn about the methods geologists use to study layers of rock, and the main theories that drive conclusions geologists have made. The aim of Historical Geology is to equip students with the ability to study rock stratum in person and on diagram and “read” the geologic history of an area. Students will also have a general understanding of how the surface of the Earth formed up until this point. We will accomplish this by studying real-life examples of rock strata via video, as well as iconic rock strata, like that of The Grand Canyon, through academic resources. Then we’ll “time travel” through pronounced segments of geologic history, examining how layers formed in real-time, and how they relate to the evolution of life on Earth. Remaining true to geology’s most famous topic, we will also be discussing theories of the evolution and extinction of dinosaurs!