Posts Tagged ‘Docent’

Trees and Cacti and Sculptures, Oh My!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy’s life when… he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

From the foothills to the bay....

Stanford consists of 8180 acres.  That’s mildly ridiculous.  Let me put that into perspective: if you count just Disneyland Park itself, that’s roughly 96 Disneylands.  So Stanford waaay outranks Disneyland as the happiest place on earth!  Q.E.D., right?!  But seriously, folks: we students rarely encounter the vast majority of this immense, beautiful campus with which we have been blessed.  And I think a change would do us good.

Just like Twain’s rightly-constructed boy, I implore you, the rightly-constructed Stanford student, to explore the hidden treasure concealed before your very eyes in Stanford’s beautiful outdoors.  Channel your inner Tom Sawyer and ready your treasure map, because this post is all about ‘sploring the outdoor wonders that Stanford has to offer.

Bring me a shrubbery! Ahem, tree….

No, not that kind of Tree.

We have over 27,000 trees growing on central campus.  Whaaaat?  We have so many trees that we have an online encyclopedia of them, with precise bookkeeping identifying essentially every tree on central campus.  In case you’ve ever wondered, you can check out these freakishly thorough tree maps to plan your own adventure.  Rare, old, and historically important trees can be found here, and an assortment of special gardens and alluringly flowering courtyards can be found here.  In the springtime, check out the seasonal blooms along this route of hidden treasure.   In the fall, you can see Stanford’s best fiery autumn leaves by following these instructions.  There’s even a Stanford flora and fauna podcast!

Don’t consider yourself an arboreal connoisseur?  Well, have you ever gazed longingly at the tippy-top oranges on the trees by the Post Office and wondered where to find more?  Halt your awkward fruit-gazing and check this out: a listing of all edible fruit trees on campusKumquats, tangerines, and peaches are just a few of the tasty treats you’ll be able to find around campus.  For additional help, here’s an earlier TUSB post with a partial map.  Please be courteous and leave a fair share of fruit behind for your fellow scavengers!

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

The elusive checkerspot butterfly.

Jasper Ridge has been the site of scientific research since Stanford was opened in 1891, and to this day its researchers work “to contribute to the understanding of the Earth’s natural systems through research, education, and protection of the Preserve’s resources.”  There are approximately 60 projects going on at any given time, focusing on the four major areas of environmental and biotic change, structure of ecological communities, geology and geophysics, and direct human influences.  Current projects range from long-term studies of the checkerspot butterfly to testing of camera-trap mammal monitoring to earthquake prediction from electromagnetic anomalies.  Cool stuff!

(more…)

Stanford’s Hidden Treasures: Jasper Ridge

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

In my three years at Stanford, I’ve come to discover just how much there IS to discover on our beautiful campus.  Like a lot of students, I tend to stick to my normal haunts without too much variation: Stern dining, my dorm, the gym, the Row, Hewlett 200.  On  the plus side I now know that I can leave lunch at exactly 1:11 pm and arrive perfectly on time for class in the Quad at 1:15 pm,  but the downside is I often miss taking in some of the many wonders our campus has to offer.  So in an effort to savor my last year at Stanford, I’ll be writing a series of posts for your viewing pleasure (or viewing apathy) illuminating some of the lesser-known and/or under-appreciated parts of Stanford.

0811_001 jrbp annual report

First on my list?  Japser Ridge Biological Preserve.  I first stumbled upon this gem, located about a 20-minute Marguerite ride from the Oval, as a result of my Bio 44Y class (or as I sometimes like to think of it, “Introduction to Nature Walks”).  At approximately 1,100 acres, Jasper Ridge constitutes of about 1/7 of Stanford’s total land and has been host to the research of 9 different Stanford departments in the past five years.  Although my natural inclination whilst wandering the trails was to keep my eyes glued to the ground for poison oak, I could help but be awestruck by the rolling hills, lush greenery, and sparkling lake down below.  With the wildflowers just about to burst into bloom, now is the best time to take advantage of this stunning biological preserve.  Contact Carolyn Taylor at (650) 851-6813 to schedule a tour.  And for the real nature enthusiasts out there, think about taking the two quarter sequence Bio 96A/B: The JRBP Docent Training program.  Whatever you do, just make sure you make your way to Jasper Ridge at least once before you graduate – the view alone is worth it.