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 campus. Kumquats, 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!