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Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series

Led by Senior Naturalist, Garth Harwood

About the Natural History Series

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.

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.

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.”

Seeds Gone Wild! (Dispersal, functions, and animal interactions)

Uncover the many marvels associated with seeds, including their fascinating interaction with animals (to say nothing of wind, water, and fire).

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Ah Nuts!…and fruits and berries

Explore these 3 extravagant categories of wild pant crops, their significance to the animal communities around us, and their potential for human foraging as we search for them along Hidden Villa’s trails!

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Wildlife of the SF Bay Area: Mammals

Touch a Fox, smell a Skunk, listen t true, local wildlife tales and marvel at the infinite and intricate physical and behavioral adaptations that make our local mammals so very good at what they do.

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What’s Really Out to Get You (and What’s Not)

Build your confidence and competence through a field exploration of what poses actual danger in our local habitats. We’ll also cover how to avoid them!

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Getting Started with Wildlife Tracking, Part 1

It’s surprisingly easy to find animal evidence wherever you may be. A few basic resources, techniques and principles could launch you into a lifetime of discovery.

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Getting Started with Wildlife Tracking, Part 2 (Field Day!)

Rendezvous at Gazos Creek State Beach for some actual field tracking. Sand is among the most treasured substrates for tracking and it can sometimes capture long trails that tell intricate stories of an animal.

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Resist! Building a personal toolkit for countering climate change

Climate change affects everyone, but the impacts fall most heavily on the most vulnerable among us – please join this conversation, to support the survival of all.

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Audubon Bird Counts: You can do it!

For well over 100 years, regular folks have helped to create one of the world’s largest databases of scientific information on the abundance, diversity, and distribution of birds during the critical winter season.

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Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series Bundle

Register for a bundle of 4 classes and receive the discounted price of $100. The registrant can attend up to 4 classes of their choice and receive a discount price.

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