Spring 2018 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 assignments.  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. 

2018 Homework Assignments


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

Optional Chapter 1 Summary Slides – View PDF here:  Biodiversity_and_bioregions

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: Geology

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

Optional Chapter 4 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Plants

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: Forest managment

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: Water

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

Optional Chapter 6 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Animals

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/

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

Optional Chapter 8 Summary Slides – View PDF here: Interpretation

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: Energy


Student Checklist_Cal Nat Course Requirements_SSI 2018

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 homework or paste it into the body of the email. Submissions WILL ONLY BE OPENED IF they meet these criteria.