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Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series NEW

Led by Senior Naturalist, Garth Harwood 

Our Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series of classes (SCNHS) is designed to highlight many facets of the natural world that are most readily observed at particular seasons. Understanding the interplay of seasonality with ecology is key to making connections that will transform a collection of discrete facts (knowledge) into something closer to the true, intricately woven patterns of the living world (understanding). We invite you to take this journey with us, in Hidden Villa’s living laboratory.

Classes take place on Saturdays from 10 am -12 pm. A typical format will be 30-40 minutes of formal presentation/discussion, followed by a field experience. Significant format exceptions will be noted in the class descriptions. All classes will begin at Hidden Villa’s Wolken Education Center unless otherwise noted in the class description.

Registration Information

SCNHS classes may be taken singly or in any combination. Many of them will likely repeat in future seasons as natural cycles repeat themselves. However, to get the most out of the series it is suggested that participants register for multiple classes across the seasons of a single year. Discounts are available for those who sign up for 4 or more classes, which need not be consecutive. It is also suggested that participants choose at least one topic that does not sound as intuitively appealing at first glance. It is often that ‘blind spot’ that has the most to offer in terms of growing one’s awareness.

Please email [email protected] with any questions.

About our Senior Naturalist

Garth Harwood served as Director of Education at Hidden Villa for many years, visiting schools and directing field experiences for over 20,000 elementary-school students in a typical year, in addition to providing training to young-adult interns and adult volunteers. He holds graduate degrees in Experiential Education and Restoration Ecology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he also served as an instructor of classes in Environmental Studies and Human Physiology.

Just as impactful as his formal educational experiences, however, Garth has been mentored by Jon Young, a protege of famed tracker Tom Brown, and more than one Native Californian tribal elder along the way.

An accomplished naturalist, birder, and wildlife tracker, Garth participates in numerous community-science projects such as iNaturalist and eBird. He serves as a volunteer organizer for the Bay Area Tracking Club, and holds a Level 3 Tracker Certification from Cybertracker International. He was recognized in 2011 as Northern California’s “Environmental Educator of the Year” by the Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educators.

His inner child is a 4th grader, however, and he remembers how to play. A favorite endorsement from one young, urban, Latinx student read “You are a kid like us.”


    Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series

  • Fun with Fungus Fundamentals, Part 1

    A playful introduction to the awesomely strange, wonderful, and utterly essential world of the fungi.
    Price: $30.00
    Duration: 2 hours
  • Fun with Fungus Fundamentals, Part 2

    We’ll go exploring for the entirety of this class, in search of examples of the wide variety of fungi that occurs at Hidden Villa during the rainy season.
    Price: $30.00
    Duration: 2 hours
  • Let It Rot! An Exploration of How Soil Happens

    We'll bundle up and venture out with hand lenses to observe soil formation and organisms in action, both on the farm and in the forest.
    Price: $30.00
    Duration: 2 hours
  • Make a Wild Salad! Foraging Basics

    In this class, we will harvest from the wild lands and field edges of Hidden Villa and conclude the morning by sharing a communal wild salad.
    Price: $30.00
    Duration: 2 hours
  • Night Hike

    We'll call upon our ears, noses, and other senses much more than usual in this nighttime "wandering" session, as opposed to a true hike, around Hidden Villa's farm and forest edges.
    Price: $10.00
    Duration: 3 hours
  • No Kids Allowed: Nature Games for Grownups

    Rediscover the joy in learning to stalk "prey" as quietly as you can, to try out your camouflage skills, to discern the finest nuances of colors in the forest, and much more. For ages 12 and way up.
    Price: $30.00
    Duration: 2 hours
  • Slug Quest

    You bring the questions, and we’ll explore the answers. Let’s see how many slugs we can find together in the slimiest 2 hours you'll ever spend at Hidden Villa.
    Price: $30.00
    Duration: 2 hours