Spring 2017 Homework

We employ a somewhat different approach to homework. The intention of this approach is to foster greater engagement with the course material and cultivate wonder and curiosity. You are also encouraged to review the standard homework/study questions prepared by the UCANR California Naturalist Program and request instructor clarification of anything you’re not sure about. You may opt to answer and submit these standard questions for each chapter instead of the other homeplay.  See below for a link to the PDF with those questions for all the chapters. NOTE: the PDF has not downloaded properly for some people. If this happens to you, please email cnssi@sierrastreamsinstitute.org and we’ll send it to you via email. 

2017 Homework Assignments

Class 1- Wednesday, March 8 6:00-8:30pm at Sierra Streams Institute
Introduction to Instructors; California’s Natural Resources and the Cal Naturalist Program – Kelly Santos and Sol Henson, Sierra Streams Institute

Reading: Chapter 1 – California Natural History and the Role of Naturalists
Word document: Homework_1
PDF: Homework_1

FORMS TO FILL OUT – There are three forms to complete (emergency contact, liabililty release, photo release) before the first class:
CNat-Form2of3-CA Naturalist Waiver of Liability

Optional Chapter 1 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 1- Introduction

Class 2- Wednesday, March15 6:00-8:30pm Meet at Providence Mine for mini field trip, then SSI
Geology, Climate, and Soils – Kyle Leach, Geologist, SSI; Katy Janes, Geomorphologist, Grant Writer, SSI

Reading: Chapter 2 – Geology, Climate, and Soils
Word Document: Homework_2
PDF: Homework_2

Create an account on the iNaturalist website http://www.inaturalist.org

Optional Chapter 2 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 2- Geology

Class 3- Wednesday, March 22 6:00-8:30pm at Sierra Streams Institute
Plants – Eric Engles, PhD, Botanist, Writer, UCSC Natural History Field Quarter

Reading: Chapter 4 – Plants
Word Document: Homework_3
PDF: Homework_3

Optional Chapter 4 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 4-Plants (It says “Chapter 5” but it really is for Chapter 4)

Class 4- Wednesday, March 29 6:00-8:30pm Start at SSI, then mini field-trip to Hirschman’s Pond
Forest Management – Jeff Lauder, PhD Student, UC Merced, Denise Della Santina, Restoration Ecologist, SSI

Reading: Chapter 5 – Forest, Woodland, and Range Resources & Management
Word Document: Homework_4
PDF: Homework_4

CAPSTONE PROPOSALS DUE this week or next – Capstone Proposal Form: Capstone Proposal Form for Cal Nat at SSI – PDF | Capstone Proposal Form for Cal Nat at SSI – Word

Optional Chapter 5 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 5-Forest Ecology (title slide says Chapter 6, but matching content is Chapter 5 in the textbook)

Class 5 – Wednesday, April 5 6:00-8:30pm Meet at Pioneer Park for mini field trip, then SSI
Water – Joanne Hild, Executive Director, SSI; Sol Henson, Education Program Director, SSI; Mo Loden, Lab Director, SSI

Reading: Chapter 3 – Water
Word Document: Homework_5
PDF: Homework_5

CAPSTONE PROPOSALS DUE TODAY – Capstone Proposal Form: Capstone Proposal Form for Cal Nat at SSI – PDF | Capstone Proposal Form for Cal Nat at SSI – Word

Optional Chapter 3 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 3-Water

SPRING BREAK – NO CLASS or Homework due Wednesday, April 12
You can use this time to catch up on any overdue homework or work on your capstone project

Class 6 – Wednesday, April 19 6:00-8:30pm at Meet at Burton Homestead for mini field trip, then SSI
Animals – Rick Berry, Founder and Executive Director of 4 Elements Earth Education, Bill Wilson, Biologist and Botanist, Chloe Tremper, Americorps, River Scientist, and Wildlife Biologist

Reading: Chapter 6 – Animals
Word Document: Homework_6
PDF: Homework_6

Optional Chapter 6 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 6-Animals (title slide says Chapter 7, but matching content is Chapter 6 in the textbook)

Class 7 – Wednesday, April 26 6:00-8:30pm Sierra Streams Institute
Flex Week – Fire Ecology, Capstone Presentation Readiness – Christy Sherr, John Muir Project, Susan Sanford, California Naturalist Instructor Emerita

Read “Natural History of the Sierra Nevada” ~ This is the first in a UCANR publication series for the California Naturalist program about each of California’s bioregions. It’s a 12MB (fairly large) PDF document, 19 pages. Info here: https://cnssi.wordpress.com/resources/california-naturalist/

Class 8 – Wednesday, May 3 6:00 – 8:30pm Sierra Streams Institute
Interpretation, Collaboration, and Outreach – Shelly Covert, Nisenan Rancheria, Laura Peterson, Community Engagement Manager, Bear Yuba Land Trust

Reading: Chapter 8 – Interpretation, Collaboration, and Citizen Science
Word Document: Homework_8
PDF: Homework_8

Optional Chapter 8 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 8- Interpretation

Class 9 – Wednesday, May 10 6:00 – 8:30pm Sierra Streams Institute
Global Environmental Issues – Melinda Booth, Festival Director, Wild and Scenic Film Fest/SYRCL, Alex Keeble-Toll, Program Manager, Sierra Fund

Reading: Chapter 7 – Energy and Global Environmental Issues
Word Document: Homework_9
PDF: Homework_9

*** Upload an observation to iNaturalist if you have not already done so
*** Submit a sample from your Journal if you have not already done so


Optional Chapter 7 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Chapter 7-Energy (title slide says Chapter 8, but matching content is Chapter 7 in the textbook)

Class 10 – Wednesday, May 17 6:00 – 9:30pm Seaman’s Lodge, Pioneer Park
Graduation Celebration, Potluck, Capstone Presentations


Student Checklist_Cal Nat Course Requirements_SSI 2015

Capstone & Phenology Opportunities-CNat 2015_as of 041715

Capstone Presentations-Helpful Hints


For Each Class:

Submit for Homework:

1. ENGAGE with material from reading and PDF by briefly noting:

  • Two things that caught your attention. What interested you? Why?
  • Two questions that come to mind about the material. What are you curious about?
  • One or two things you’d love to share with someone. Share it if you can!
  • Was there anything that was confusing, or about which you’d like more info or clarification? Write down questions to bring to the speakers for next class.


  • What has worked well so far?
  • Opportunities for change?
  • Anything else?


  • These will be posted below with each class

Do throughout the course but no need to submit. Instructors will request samples of your journal as part of homework assignments.

  • OBSERVE and journal about your experiences in nature! Here are some ideas for how to observe:
    • BOWLING ~ see handout ~ BOWLING Nature Observation Activity
    • Sit Spot (also: Place In The Woods, Place In Nature) ~ If this is new to you, do some research!
    • Grinnell journal format – see textbook – Chapter 1, pages 16-19
    • Choose one thing to observe for the whole week, or the whole course. Observe this chosen thing using one method, or a variety of methods to see how they compare.
    • Drawing
    • Photography
    • Sound recording and/or sound maps
    • Just sit, or walk intentionally and more slowly, and observe what comes into your awareness
    • Make and post iNaturalist observation(s)
    • 365 journal
  • Optional :
    • Research answers to the questions you had about the reading materials or something you observed in nature. Remember to use people as resources!
    • Review the standard homework/study questions prepared by the UC California Naturalist Program. You may request instructor review of anything you’re not sure about. This PDF contains study questions for all the chapters in the textbook: Cal Nat Handbook_All Chapters_Questions and Study Guide.

Here’s how to submit homework assignments: 

  • Create a new email with subject line: CNat-Class x-FirstName LastName. For example: CNat-Class 1-David Attenborough.
  • Then either attach your completed Homeplay or paste it into the body of the email. Submissions WILL ONLY BE OPENED IF they meet these criteria.