Monday, October 4, 2010


ENVMT 19/ENVMT 50 CODE: 43725
Robin Freeman, 510-434-3840
Tuesdays 6:30-9:20pm beginning 10/5 at the Environmental Center, Self-Reliant House (SRH)

Course Requirements: The course may be taken for credit/non-credit (audit) or for a letter grade. For credit or a letter grade, reasonable attendance, participation, and completion of reading assignments are required. For a letter grade, written papers and the data annotation project are also required. To use the course towards a certificate or degree you must take it for a letter grade. At the end of the semester, you will evaluate the course and suggest your own grade.

Text: Freeman & Rauh; Hope, Stress and Authority, Reader Version 3.1,The Conservation Press, 2010
Recommended Reading: (Available at bookstores and on line.)
Diamond, Jared, Guns, Germs, and Steel, Norton 1999
Taylor, Shelley, The Tending Instinct, Times Books Henry Holt, 2002

Learning Outcomes should assist in being able to:
1. Describe the basic psychological, cultural, and economic systems of humans.
2. Analyze and describe ecosystem concepts as they relate to human behavior.
3. Explain and discuss examples of sustainability problems, solutions, and scales from both a human psychosocial and an ecological perspective.
4. Analyze and discuss methods of measuring obstacles and opportunities for action.
5. Propose or identify potential psychological and sustainable ecological interventions and plans.

Oct 5– Introductions, Hunches, Evidence and Research and What is Human Nature?
– Ecosystems Where And How We Live In Them
a. Ecosystem and system definitions
b. Homeostasis and feedback loops
c. Niches
d. Exponential growth
e. Stress and carrying capacity
f. Adaptive/maladaptive behavior
About course, Introductions

Assignment: list what you think are basic human nature characteristics. Read pages 5-13

Oct 12 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm – Psychological Development and the Natural History of Humans
Key Background concepts and definitions- , Human development, learning, and psychology, Sustainability, Infrastructure, and Ecosystem

Assignment Due: Human nature list due

Assignment: Write about a childhood experience of friendship, good will, and/or bullying, and fear. Read, Glossary p14-22

Oct 19 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm – Civilization, Authority, Stress and Collapse; Characterizing the Problem
Despair vs. Hope; what is our sense of the future? Naming the problem.
Do human development and ecology interact?

Assignment: - Write about an expansive, inspiring, pivotal, important or epiphinal experience, or the closest thing to it you have had.
Read pages 21-43 Which terms from the glossary apply to each case study?

Oct 26 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm
- Authoritarian Stress Syndrome Caretaking, Tending and the Infrastructure of solutions.

Chaos theory, scale and interventions. How does it all fit together?
The nature of hope. Connect the Dots

Assignment: Analyzing systems and research methods: Choose a data set to read and annotate.
Read 44-78 and pages 97-98 Which terms from the glossary apply to each case study?

Nov 2 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm – The Shared Narrative and Sequellae;
Characterizing the Solutions Maintaining the Problems
- Empire, Social Class, Power, Money Decision Making And Democracy
– The Invention Of Economics And Corporations
- Symbols of Authority
- Creating Violence; Infrastructures Of Addiction
- Creating Peace Environments Integrated Against Alienation
Building a village by hand, Building a city by fiat. The Artisan and the Empire

Nov 9 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm – Infrastructure and Interconnections
– Give Hope a Plan– Institutional capacity
– Characterizing the Solutions/ Building a Research Agenda and an Action Plan

Choosing the future: Creating visions, plans, next steps, strategies:
a. Planning methods
b. Developing a vision: Where ideas come from, uses of the imagination
c. Social-based marketing
d. Designing interventions

Assignment: Read: pages 79-93

Nov 16 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm –Case Studies and Developing a Plan Research Data Case Histories

Nov 23 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm – Case Studies/Data sets

Nov 30 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm – Case Studies/Data setsFinal

Assignment Due: Final Project

Dec 7 Tuesday 6:30-9:20pm – Next steps/Roundtable
Course evaluations.

Final Project: Review and write an annotation about 2 of the case studies listed on page 97/98. We will discuss how to find the data to review from the Institute archives or by interview. We will also choose an application of the concepts during the class to work on together.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sylibi for Fall 2010

CODE 44694 1.O UNIT.
ROBIN FREEMAN 510-434-3840,

Recommended texts (not required): The Complete Guide to Environmental Careers. Island Press; and What Color is Your Parachute?, 10 Speed Press

Course Requirements:
Environmental Careers is a required core course for Environmental Studies majors. It may be taken for 1) a letter grade (required of majors or for transfer grade point average), 2) for Credit (no grade, gives transfer elective units), or
3) No Credit (does not affect transcript). For those taking a letter grade, the course is self-grading.

1) Course attendance, 2) a minimum of 4 hours volunteer work for any environment related organization or firm, 3) an Informational Interview or Research Report on an environmental career are required for a letter grade. There will be brief evaluations of the interview and volunteer/intern projects (see due dates). An Environmental Career Portfolio will be developed during the course.

Your volunteer work can be for the Environmental Program at Merritt or at a location of your choosing which willing to have you for a short period of time.
Some organizations would rather have you for at least a full day. Of course, you are welcome to put in more than four hours. You should choose work that is interesting to you and fits into your career development. There will be listings available in class on line, at the Ecology Center on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley and numerous government agencies.

Sep 13, 10:00am to 12:50pm - Introduction to the course, Class Introduction Interviews

Sep 20, 10:00am to 12:50pm - Preference Profiles, Environ. Careers Slide presentation

Sep 26, Sunday 10-4pm Bring bag lunch, 5 Year Plan, Strategy A and B, Resume, History of Work, guest. To accommodate religious services, you may attend the afternoon only.

Break time for Interviews and Mini-internship

Oct 18 10:00 am to 12:50pm Reports on interviews/internships due, discussion/task,

Oct 25 10:00 am to 12:50pm Reports continued, discussion, evaluation.

Codes: 43728, 43729   2.5 units
Instructor: Robin Freeman, Contact: 510 434 3840 for office hours at SRH  

SRH Environmental Center or field. Mondays 6:30-9:20 pm (9/13-12/6). Sat 10-4pm (9/25, 10/16, 10/30, 12/4).


Student Learning Outcomes: You will be able to initiate writing projects in your own voice. This is an introduction to technical, experiential or narrative, descriptive, grant, report and publicity environmental writing. You will be able to identify, write rough drafts for, and edit several types of writing commonly used in the environmental field. You will be able to prepare a document to submit for publication.

Monday 9/13 Introductions, About Program, About Course,
Writing Experience discussion. Tidbits from writers on writing
Every class: Journal Exercises, Readings from other writers, read-around
Writing Assignment: Write about your best and worst writing experiences in the past. Due 9/20

MON 9/20,. Shitty first draft. and finding your own voice. Categories of Environmental Writing
Read Best and Worst Experiences
Assignment: Childhood experience in the environment due 9/25
Due: best and worst writing experiences

SAT 9/25 Bring Lunch. Read from Childhood experience.
Interpretive trail walk and writing.
First experiences in this course. Review writing types you would like to suggest and your preferred order. Lecture/Sample/Exercise choice
Review library and select reading
Assignment: . Writing a clear description, directions or instructions for a general audience; Due: Childhood experience in the environment

MON 9/27 What are you going to use writing for? Tailoring the exercises to the class. Discuss final project possibilities.
Assignment List final project unedited draft ideas/annotate the subject categories at least 2 of your ideas
Due: Brief descriptive paragraphs Description of your first experience in this course. Selected readings
Assignments: as determined by class from here on.

MON 10/4
Due: Draft interpretive sign or brochure element for Nature Trail

MON 10/11 Brainstorming and begin writing final project.
Assignment: Write unedited lousy first draft

SAT 10/16 Field trip: Pt. Pinole Richmond Shoreline Festival
Assignment: Event description, interviews, interpretive
Due: Project first draft

MON 10/18 Review final project
Assignments: as determined by class goals
MON 10/25
SAT 10/30
MON 11/1
MON 11/8
MON 11/15
MON 11/22 Final project due – submit for publication
MON 11/29
Sat 12/4
Mon 12/6 Read-around, pot luck

Course Requirements: If you want to take the course for credit/non-credit you must do that on the user unfriendly PROMT/Passport system right away, if you haven’t already.
This course satisfies requirements for several ENVMT majors. If you are taking the course for a letter grade, there are ongoing writing and research assignments and a final project. The final project is to prepare one piece of writing for publication. It can be of any length. You will research and identify at least one venue where you can submit it. For a longer piece, you may prepare a proposal and query letter without having completed the work itself. You will evaluate the course and suggest a grade for yourself based on the value you have or might receive from participating in the course.

Examples of Environmental Writing Types from which to choose:
Narrative telling the story; - autobiographical/place/descriptive/regional
Technical report writing – Environmental Impact Reports, Legal, Scope of Work, etc.
Natural History and Nature Writing
Persuasion; essay, letter to editor, press point of view or promotional Press Release
Social and Environmental Justice
Grant writing
Interpretive writing, Educational
Instruction writing
Power point writing / film/photo essay
Creative writing and Environmental Poetry
Spiritual and/or Religious
Green Business
Your idea here…..

Introduction to Green Building and Ecological Design (ENVMT 20) Code: 44399

Instructor Team Contacts:
Leslie Geathers: c. 510-292-7266
Bruce Douglas: 510-759-5280

Thursdays 6:30-9:30pm (9/9-12/2), and 3 Saturdays 10-4pm (9/11, 9/18, 10/2)
Environmental Center, Self Reliant House
Text: Introduction to Green Building, Freeman, Geathers, Douglas et al. text: $15 CD: $2
Sustainable Architecture White Papers, Brown et al. approx. $17 Builder’s Booksource

Please subscribe to the course email list: to receive announcements, and see related materials. Also, some information will be posted on Robin Freeman’s Classes at under “links”. See Environmental Jobs at the same site.
Th 9/ 9:  Introductions, “What Is Green Building?”
Course Project introduction.  Explanation of on-going projects, Merritt Environmental Center tour.
Sat 9/11: Introduction to Concepts of Sustainable Design & Systems, Body Solar & Sun mapping exercise, (*Note: Please bring lunch)
Assignment 1: Home analysis
Read: Introduction to Green Building (IGB): Chapter 1,2,3.
Th 9/16:  Passive Solar Design: Principles and building/testing model passive house
Sat 9/18: Menu of green materials: Green materials trailer tour, Building systems review, Assignment 1 review.
Assignment 2: Home materials/ systems analysis
Read: IGB: Chapter 8,9.
Th 9/23: Water management details installation, door sealing/preserving on green materials trailer. Intro to energy auditing. Residential energy career paths and professional certifications. Green building rating systems.
Th 9/30: Water Resource Management: Grey Water Action: Guest Lecture.
West Coast Green Begins.
Sat 10/2: Final Project review; client presentation, Review Assignment 2.
Afternoon: Tour local Eco Complex & salvage yards. West Coast Green Alternate activity.
Assignment 3: Materials cradle-to-cradle use/impact list.
Th 10/7: Solar power systems + Redwood bench back construction
Read: IGB: Chapter 4,5,6,7.
Th 10/14: Green wall systems: Greenhouse bench - west wall construction.
Th 10/23: Thermal & moisture protection:
Th 10/28: Project check-in day
Th 11/4: Sustainable Planning &Transportation:
Th 11/11: “Living Architecture” urban food systems: Living Wall. Guest Lecture
Th 11/18: Project check-in day Environmental Center green building projects hands on work.
Th 12/2: Final project presentations Pot Luck meal/desserts.
You may take the class Credit/Non-Credit or for a letter grade based on:
55% Attendance/participation
45% Projects

Code # 43724, 43725 3.0 Units
Instructor: Robin Freeman;; 510-434-3840

9/13 Monday 1-3:50pm First general class meeting. Students select projects; tour the Environ. Center if new to program. Special project schedules to be arranged. (18 hours per unit – ie 0.5 unit = 9 hrs). Discuss relationship to ENVMT 501, or contact the instructor

Civilization's Impact: The Psychology of Trashing the Earth. Envmt 19 Lab Version. Sign up for Envmt 50 (Special Projects) with code 43725 for 3 units
This lab course will meet Tuesdays 6:30-9:20pm beginning 10/5 at SRH and can be substituted for Envmt 19 for those who need it for credit. We will cover the theory first and then apply it locally through the Merritt College Environmental Management and Technology and to our Brower, Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies goals as we brainstorm how to integrate partners and resources in the East Bay Green Corridor. We will review and organize the Institute data and written material to help make this possible.

Civilization's Impact Course Description: Intro to civilization's impact on the environment: Connections between human psychological development and the creation of both environmental problems and their solutions, human communities and their niche within the relative balance with the environment in past millennia; the human psyche, its origins in nature, and its influence and obstacles to planning a sustainable future.

Restoration of Watercourses: ENVMT 50 can be used for a field lab hours to substitute for the required units which are not being offered this semester.

Student Designed Projects - This is always an important part of this course. Use our faculty and resources to support your selection and design of a project of your choice.

Requirements: Written Agreement describing your project and either written evaluation report or oral presentation for those completing special projects.

Learning Outcome: You will be able to select, plan, and execute green related projects utilizing available resources.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

SYLLABUS Envmt 40 From Tree to Sea: A Bay Area Cross Section Spring 2010

From Tree to Sea: A Bay Area Cross Section
ENVMT 40 CODE 24508

Hike, bike and boat Field study of ecosystems of the bay, explorations of sustainable cultural, ecotourism, and economic uses of the Bay environment. Choose any or all field trips.

1.0-3.0 units Freeman SRH, Field
Wednesdays 6:30-9:20pm, 3 Saturdays 10am-4pm 3 Sundays 10am-4pm Contact (510) 434 3840 office (510) 915-1452 cell, Oakland Emergency OPD: (510) 777-3211, Alameda County Sheriff Emergency: (510) 351-2020

NOTE: The field locations may change. It is strongly recommended that you attend the previous Wednesday to your selected weekend(s). Instructions will be given the evening meeting before the field day otherwise contact the instructor several days in advance for details. All the meetings and field days together are a 3 unit course. 18 hrs = 1 unit.

Wednesday 3/24 Introductions, Responsible Ecotourism, Intro Watershed and Community – What it takes to know a place and each other, re – spaces between us
6:30 – 9:30 Environmental Center (SRH): Introductions, Field walk and field information, Recording field observations, Purpose and methods of the course.


Saturday 3/27
10am: Ridge Trail and Upper Sausal Creek Watershed
Downhill through the Redwoods, some fairly steep areas. Bring on all trips: lunch, water, snacks, sunblock and sun hat and wear walking shoes and layered clothes.

Sunday 4/11
San Lorenzo Creek Upper Watershed Dinosaur Ridge
Up and downhill, some steep areas

Wednesday 4/14 SRH Tour Sunset 7:43


Sunday 4/25 San Lorenzo Piedmont or San Lorenzo Ashland / Cherryland

Wednesday 4/28 SRH Sunset 7:56, Full Moon Assemble data and review

Wednesday 5/5 SRH Sunset 8:02, half moon Lion/Arroyo Viejo watershed hike


Wednesday 5/12 Sunset 8:08 Bay Trail San Lorenzo creek, Hayward shoreline

Saturday 5/15 San Leandro Creek
Wednesday 5/19 SRH Sunset 8:14 Final Trip Prep, Assemble data

Saturday 5/22 Raft or Angel Island

Sunday 5/23 Raft, Angel Island or Bay Trail

GRADING: This course may be taken for a letter grade or credit/non-credit. It may be taken for 1.0 to 3.0 units (18 class hours= 1 unit; If taken for a letter grade, this course satisfies the 2 unit field course requirement for the EMART majors. For Credit only; 80% class attendance is required. For a letter grade attendance, participation, and assignments are required.
ASSIGNMENTS: Most of the work is done in the field where we will record data. The text is the East Bay Watershed Center CD which contains the Intertidal Directory and the Feasibility Guide. Review these, especially the “Sample Flowchart” in the beginning of the Intertidal Directory and the “Summary”, “Study Uses” and “Goals (focusing on Stakeholders)” in the Feasibility Guide. Our responsible ecotourism assignment will be to 1) research and coordinate with local stakeholders towards supporting their goals where possible, and 2) enter the data we gather, including photos, in the East Bay Watershed Directory format. Since this may be time consuming, additional credit and hours are available through ENVMT 10, Special Projects.
FIELD DAY INFORMATION: Each trip will have its own information sheets which will be handed out either the Wednesday before or the morning of the trip or by email. NOT ALL FIELD DAYS MEET AT THE SAME PLACE. Make sure you contact the instructor beforehand if you do not have the meeting information. In all cases bring a day pack with your lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, hiking shoes or boots with lugs (ie not smooth soles except for on board the boats) camera (optional), any medication you may need, snacks, long pants and sleeves as needed and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. The hikes are moderate to light and usually not more than 4 miles. For bicycle trips, bring a helmet, windbreaker (and wind pants, if you like) and gloves are recommended; the pace will be slow to moderate. We will carpool between the start and ending sites. Some days we will be driving between several sites. R. Freeman’s emergency cell phone (510)915-1452.

Tree to Sea Directions

Upper Sausal Creek
From Park Boulevard, just below Highway 13, turn southeastward onto Monterey (it's a frontage road, here.) Stay to the right. After 1500', just past the Montclair Golf Course, look for a trash can and trailhead sign. The trail here leads down into the redwoods -- the small stone bridge may not be passable immediately after big rain. Our Redwood Understory restoration site is a narrow band along the switchbacks that lead up to the Bridgeview Trail (1,000 feet beyond this trailhead is a pedestrian tunnel that leads under Highway 13, and into Joaquin Miller Park.)

Shuttle from Monterey Trailhead on Sausal Creek to Moon Gate:
Take Monterey ~3/4back to Joaquin Miller Rd., turn left uphill across the freeway and follow Joaquin Miller Road 1+mile up to Skyline Blvd. Turn left 2+ miles to Moon Gate dirt parking area hidden sign on right near 9383 Skyline Blvd mailboxes. Ridge trail starting point.

Upper San Lorenzo Creek
Meet at Merritt campus, parking lot E at 10am. From Merritt, turn right onto Campus Drive back to Redwood Rd. Turn right onto Redwood Rd, up the hill. You will cross Skyline Blvd, dropping into the Upper San Leandro Reservoir watershed passing the reservoir. Proceed on Redwood Rd for 10.1 miles, where the road makes a hairpin right turn and you will make a left into the Chabot Staging Area parking lot.

From Chabot Staging Area to stopping point
Make a left onto Redwood Road. After roughly 2.5 miles, you will come to Heyer Ave – make a Left onto Heyer. Take Heyer over the Cull Canyon Lagoon to Cull Canyon Rd and kake a Left onto Cull Canyon Rd. Make a Left just after the parking lot onto Columbia Dr. Follow Columbia through a sub-division for roughly 1.8 miles until it turns sharply to the right and becomes Bellhurst. Once you identify the EBMUD access drive on the left, park.

End of hike shuttle back to Chabot Staging Area
Take Bellhurst to Columbia Dr, and go back down the hill to Cull Canyon and make a Right onto Cull Canyon. Turn Right onto Heyer, and follow back to Redwood Rd. Turn Right onto Redwood Rd, and follow it roughly 2.5 miles until you see the Chabot Staging Area on your right hand side.

SYLLABUS Envmt 21 Solar and Sustainable Energy Options Spring 2010

Envmt 21 (24506) Solar and Sustainable Energy Options Spring 2010

SYLLABUS: Bruce Douglas, P.E., Robin Freeman M.A. 434-3840

Meeting times: 6 Thursdays: 6:30pm – 9:20pm AND 5 Weekend days: 9am – 4pm.

Grading and other Policies for this course: The course is available for a letter grade or credit/non-credit for those who are not using it for a certificate or degree, but you must designate Cr/NC on line at the beginning of the course. 80% Class and lab participation is required for credit and completion of assignments is required for a letter grade. You will provide a class evaluation at the last class and suggest your grade based on your assignments and participation.

See next page for reading assignments:

Final Project: Goal: to show your thought about addressing SCALE GAPS to achieve sustainable solutions. Groups: 2 or more people. Product: prepare and present a 5 minute proposal. Your proposal must SYNTHESIZE the technical details learned in this course and LINK you, the Environmental Program at Merritt, Government, Industry, and the Global picture. 3 hours of class time will be used for final project work time.

Thursday 4/15
Introductions, About this course, what is the final project?
The Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies (ISPS) theme.
Scale, the power grid and the power structure.

Saturday 4/17 Reading #1 due today.
Sun’s motions: Solar pathfinding
Infrared radiation & greenhouse effect
Solar cooking demo
Basic Electricity, photovoltaics (PV)

Sunday 4/18
PV system components and set up
Thermodynamics, Efficiency
PV economics, payback, ROI

Thursday 4/22 PV questions due.
Energy and society: Philosophy, Policy and Economics.
Mapping student & staff travel

Saturday 4/24 Reading #2 due today.
Electric Vehicles and Boats: Concepts, Physics of motion, power, and energy.
Motors, Controllers, Batteries, Transmission, Equipment selection

Thursday 4/29
Energy: Sources / Impacts, Conservation, No to Nuclear
Light the Spectrum and Wave behavior

Thursday 5/6 EV questions due.
Transportation issues: Planning, Affordability of living, Locality.
Energy jobs.
Student personal energy picture.

Saturday 5/8
Electric Vehicle lab: concepts review, electric vehicle designing and building. Field visits.

Thursday 5/13
Water Resources & Systems, water and energy, watersheds, water conservation.

Sunday 5/16 Reading #3 due today.
Solar Hot Water
Solar Hot Water lab.: Hands-on with SRH water systems.

Thursday 5/20 Solar DHW questions due.
Final Project Presentation

Reading/Research #1 due 4/17:
Excerpts from: Photovoltaics-Design & Installation Manual, SEI 2004. This is posted on the GreenBuildingDesign Yahoo Group. To join this group go to:

Reading / Research #2 due 4/24:

Reading / Research #3 due 5/16:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Envmt 30 Ecological Restoration: Uplands

Envmt 30 Ecological Restoration: Uplands Code 24507
Robin Freeman,, 434-3840; 510-915-1452 cell

Thursdays 6:30-8:20pm Saturday Sunday 9 or 10am-3 or 4pm
!!!!!NOTE: Field Times and dates may be re-arranged. Check with instructor beforehand!!!!!!

Principles/techniques of ecological restoration: Emphasis on use of native trees, grasses, shrubs,wildflowers in urban/suburban/parks/wildland areas "Uplands" distinguishes this course from "Wetlands Restoration" and "Restoration and Monitoring of Watercourses", which are either within the intertidal zone, in- stream, aquatic or bank focused. Uplands receive precipitation and ground water, but not standing or flowing water and include terrestrial from low to high elevations.

ASSIGNMENTS: This class is primarily a lecture and field course compressed into a short time. There is basic background reading, some research and a class project that support what you will do in class.
1) Read SER Primer (see "Text") . Use additional research and resources as needed. Review Merritt East Bay Watershed community documents on CD
2) The course project is reviewing our on-site materials and projects at Merritt and the adjacent parks, organizing, and/or implementing a restoration, planning or research project here. You may organize your project using appropriate section headings from the SER Primer and from what you learn in the course. You can use any resource books or other material as handbooks to help plan your project. If you choose to take the course Credit/Non-Credit, you don't have to do a project. If you are using the course towards a certificate or degree, then take it for a letter grade,. You may do your project as a group if you wish. 3) Ongoing research for our course site visits and logistics organizing.

TEXT: The SER (Society for Ecological Restoration) International Primer on Ecological Restoration. Free download : Or GoogleThe Primer for a PDF version. It is a short general introduction from which you can draw project goals. Recommended:.Arthur Kruckberg, Introduction to California Soils and Plants, UC Press - useful uplands restoration information.

Thursday 2/4 INTRODUCTIONS, goals, schedule, assignments
What is “Uplands” Restore to What; Scale and Goals
Assignment: Read SER Primer (15 pages) by 2/18; begin research on sites below and Ca Watershed Manual

Thursday 2/11 Restoration is a Social Act – Artisinal, Psycho-Social, Caretaking and Community,Economic, Scientific, Scale Alhambra Creek Watershed report in class

Thursday 2/18, Charli Danielson, Native Here Nursery, California Native Plant Society, Tilden Park: Local Plant Material; Selecting, Propagation And Care Alhambra Creek Watershed report in class (if time allows and it is needed)

Saturday 2/20 9:00am -3:pm (45 min from Oakland) Strentzel Meadow, Alhambra Creek workday, tour, canyon hike, Beaver Damn

Sunday 2/21 FIELD TRIP options; You schedule for Native Here volunteering groups of 3-5 only. Friday 9-noon, Sat 10-2, Tues noon-3 Possible Skyline Serpentine Prarie; Huckleberry Preserve restoration project, On campus projects

Thursday 2/25, Stew Winchester, Vegetation Communities Of The Bay Area And The Environmental Influences That Shape Them

Thursday 3/4, Student EBWC project planning – Invasives/Guest Sausal Creek report in class

Saturday 3/6 10:30 FIELD TRIP Friends Of Sausal Creek; meet at the Dimond or Redwood site for a walkthrough "lecture" and an hour of work (10:30-12:30?), lunch; nursery day 1:30-4:30 meet at the nursery at 1:30

Thursday3/11 Student EBWC project planning – Invasives/Guest Pacific Open Space/grasslands report in class

Saturday 3/13 Pacific Open Space Nursery, Petaluma

Thursday 3/18 Daylight Savings Merritt East Bay Watershed project hands on and planning discussion.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


SPRING 2010 ENVMT 11 CODE: 24505 3 UNITS

Tuesdays: 6:30-9:30pm, 1/26 – 3/23;
Saturdays: 10:00am-4:00pm, 1/30, 2/6, 2/27, 3/20;
Sunday: 10:00am-4:00pm, 3/7
Location: The Environmental Center, Self-Reliant House (SRH), Merritt College Campus. Instructors: Robin Freeman MA,, 510-434-3840, 510-915-1452 cell David Ralston Phd,

Description: This is a nine-week intensive practicum course, meeting once a week with four additional weekend day-long field research sessions. The course will introduce students to current issues and prospects for incorporating sustainability within urban and regional planning. Specific case studies will investigate “Connecting the Dots” in the Oakland/East Bay “Green Corridor” region (e.g., green industry/job-shed; neighborhood centers; open space; watershed; transit; wildlife; cultural art and other points of connection). In the course, students will gain a background in the key concepts, debates, history, legal/regulatory framework, strategic approaches, and terminology associated with the US planning profession.. Students will become familiarized with various skill-sets utilized within the planning profession including geographic-based mapping; site data assessment methods; reading/interpreting maps and General Plans; and strategies for neighborhood-scale bottom up urban planning as a means for achieving sustainability. .

Course requirements: Urban and Regional Planning may be taken for a letter grade or Credit/No Credit . It must be taken for a letter grade for a Certificate or Degree. For Credit, 75% attendance and participation is required. For a letter grade, minimum 75% attendance, class participation, assignments and a Final Project are required. You will evaluate the course and suggest a grade for yourself. This course satisfies requirements in several ENVMT majors.

Primary Text: Sustainable Oakland by Durst ($12, order in class).

Tues January 1/26 – Introductions, Course Overview, Community Meeting Prep; Where Cities Come From/ LINCS Research from the Brower Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies
– Freeman, Ralston
Where cities are headed. Planning in the Public Domain: From Theory to Implementation. Preview of some key efforts – the context for connecting dots. Exercise: Mapping Oakland

[Course Assignments: Read Forward, chapters 1-3 in Durst (Pending arrival of books); Connecting the Dots, Smith; Optional Readings: American City Planning, APA Press; Mumford, The City in History, City Reader. You may choose a classic in the planning literature (see Bibliography) and give a brief synopsis and an annotation for our bibliography.
Neighborhood assets, problems, goals - 1. Make a brief list of what you like about a neighborhood where you live, work, or otherwise use; also list what you like least. 2. Briefly list goals you would envision for that same neighborhood.

Saturday 1/30 10:00 am SRH Community Meeting Green Workforce Development meeting set up at ASMC Conference Room in the R-Building for the 11:00 am meeting with the High School students from the GWD You will help with identifying neighborhood assets and problems in breakout sessions with them, recording them and locating them on maps., lunch, tour campus/city overview, meeting de-brief mapping

Neighborhood Assets/Problems list #1 due.
Read: Durst, Chapter 4

Tuesday 2/2 Meeting Review in class discussion
Critical Sustainability and Planning; Resiliency and the Ecological Footprint
Durst Sustainable Oakland Chapters 5 and 7

Saturday 2/6, Scoping and site visits: Coliseum Redevelopment. area, North Richmond Shoreline
Read: Durst, Appendices
Due: Neighborhood goals list #2

Final project: This is either a written report or a hands-on activity, or both. Choose a project or site from the course and propose how you will either work directly on that area, or how you will research or analyze some aspect of one of the study sites from the point of view of neighborhood scale sustainable planning. In your research assess what will local and global impact be of the project; address issues of inclusiveness; gentrification/displacement, effect on local assets and surrounding neighborhoods, jobs. Set-up your own indicators in assessing the potential of the project. List stakeholders/ agencies/ CBO’s associated with the project (including local residents and a city planner/county planner, elected officials)These are due March 16th, the second to last meeting of the class and are a major part of the course grade. Students will make a presentation to the class on the project at the last class meeting.

Tuesday 2/9-Planning through History - Ralston
• Legal and Regulatory Basis of Planning in U.S.
• The Cumulative Planned City (De-constructing the layers)
• Structure of Oakland’s Planning Office (Politics and Planning)

Introduction of Connecting the Dots and small scale interventions in the Oakland/East Bay Region – Freeman

Tuesday 2/16 – Background on Planning Practice and Tools - Ralston
Tools for Planners: Land-use Mapping, Site Assessment (Spatial and Place-Based). GIS exercises
Project-Based Planning: CEQA and the EIR process, zoning, design review

Tuesday 2/23–Neighborhood Case Studies: Problems, Solutions, Effectiveness; Planning a discussion panel - Ralston
Neighborhood-Based Planning and the Neighborhood Scale
Invited speakers

Saturday 2/27 Coliseum Redev. area survey, and/or:
Presentation for East Bay Regional Park District planning
APA Panel preparation

Tuesday 3/2 – Current Corridor Case Studies: Problems, Solutions, Effectiveness - Freeman
• Hands on planning in class
Due: Book annotations and brief report in class

Sunday 3/7 TBD APA/City/ Climate action planning/resilience/re-villaging Presentation for East Bay Regional Park District
(Option: Change to a weeday lunch?)

Tuesday 3/9 – Case Studies Comprehensive Neighborhood Based Urban Plans and Policies – Freeman and Ralston

Tuesday 3/16 Utopias, Distopias and Trends; Creating the Future
Final project draft due

Saturday 3/20
APA/City/ Climate action planning/resilience/re-villaging Presentation to EBRPD as arranged by the class

Tues 3/23 – Student Project Presentations – Freeman and Ralston
 Student Presentations (5-10 minutes each)
 Course wrap-up.

Handbook (optional): Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area, Urban Ecology Inc., 1966 ($15, 414 13th St. Suite 500, between Franklin and Broadway, Oakland 251-6330)

Suggested Readings:
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Anything by Louis Mumford – e.g., The City in History
Illich, Ivan. H20 and the waters of Forgetfulness
Hawkins, Paul. The Ecology of Commerce, and other works
Brechin, Gray. Imperial San Francisco
Taylor, Shelley. The Tending Instinct
Urban Habitat publications including Race, Poverty, and the Environment, Pacific Institute Project Reports (both of these organizations are in Oakland)
McHarg, Ian. Design with Nature
Garreau, Joel. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier
Mugerauer. Dwelling, Place and Environment;
Alexander, Pattern language
Buttimer, A. Dynamics of the Lifeworld
Hough, Nature in the City?
Beatley, T. Sustainable Planning


Spring ‘10 SYLLABUS
Environmental Center, Self Reliant House

Recommended texts (not required): The Complete Guide to Environmental Careers. Island Press; and What Color is Your Parachute?, 10 Speed Press

Course Requirements:
Environmental Careers is a required core course for Environmental Studies majors. It may be taken for 1) a letter grade (required of majors or for transfer grade point average), 2) for Credit (no grade, gives transfer elective units), or
3) No Credit (does not affect transcript). For those taking a letter grade, you will participate in grading yourself.

1) Course attendance, 2) a minimum of 4 hours volunteer work for any environment related organization or firm, 3) an Informational Interview or Research Report on an environmental career are required for a letter grade. There will be brief evaluations of the interview and volunteer/intern projects (see due dates). An Environmental Career Portfolio will be developed during the course.

Your volunteer work can be for the Environmental Program at Merritt or at a location of your choosing which willing to have you for a short period of time.
Some organizations would rather have you for at least a full day. Of course, you are welcome to put in more than four hours. You should choose work that is interesting to you and fits into your career development. There will be listings available in class or on line, the Ecology Center on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley and numerous government agencies.

Learning Outcomes: You will be able to research and survey environmental job or entrepreneurial opportunities, prioritize your choices and make and execute a plan to work in that career pathway.

Jan 25, 6:30-9:20 pm - Introduction to the course, Class Introduction Interviews
Feb 1, 6:30-9:20 pm - Preference Profiles, Environ. Careers Slide presentation
Feb 7 - Sunday, 10am – 4pm Bring bag lunch, 5 Year Plan, Strategy A and B,
Resume, History of Work,. To accommodate religious services, you may attend the afternoon only.
Break time for Interviews and Mini-internship
March 1, 6:30-9:20pm Reports on interviews/internships due, discussion/task,
March 8, 6:30-9:20pm Reports continued, discussion, evaluation.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Connecting the Dots: Merritt College Environmental Program Hosts Community Forum for Environmental Activists in Oakland CA.

Photo by Jennifer Jordan-Wong

Connecting the Dots: Merritt College Environmental Program Hosts Community Forum for Environmental Activists in Oakland CA.
Phoenix Smith Thu, 10 Dec at 5:44pm

Merritt College Ecology Center, home of this cool event
During a time in which Oakland was listed as the third most violent city in the United States, an eclectic blend of goodness gathered at Merritt College last month to create a community of possibilities in Oakland, filled with opportunities for solutions and co-creation. Nestled among the Oaks and Monterey Pine trees at the back of the Merritt College parking lot and overlooking the hills in Oakland, lies an inconspicuous house. As you walk along the path leading to the Self Reliant house you might forget that you are on a college campus. You’ve stepped into a project that is a work in progress. The Self Reliant House home to the David Brower, Ronald Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies and Environmental Management and Technology Program at Merritt College is the meeting place of students and community members and a living lab of green and ecologically sustainable building materials. Oakland is the home of dozens of organizations, non-profits, and governmental entities addressing environmental issues including food justice, climate action, gardening, and water justice. These concerns often compete for publicity, grants, and an audience, and rarely come together to share a big pot of soup, engage in arts and crafts and tell their stories. But on a beautiful day in November, Robin Freeman, Chair of Merritt College Environmental Management and Technology program, City Planner David Ralston and their students hosted a forum bringing some of these groups together to do just that. Connecting the Dots in Oakland was a conversation, between individuals, organizations and communities working to grow and preserve Oakland’s green heritage by sharing their stories and imagining how to initiate greater connection with others to create a community of renewed possibilities in Oakland. Luisah Teish, acclaimed author, griot, and ecospiritualist, set the stage by leading the group in a visualization that connected people to the depths of the earth and to the stars above. Her open visualization reminded us that we, as humans share a destiny with all that exists, the animals, the rocks, the water, the sky and the trees. The intergenerational, culturally diverse forum consisted of youth workers in the Oakland Green Jobs program, environmental students at Merritt College, and a representative from a local neighborhood creek organization, city planners, eco-spiritual activists of Ile Orunmila Oshun, DIG Cooperative, the East Oakland Boxing Association, East Bay Greenway members, and green entrepreneurs. This gathering not only sought to connect organizations and individuals but was also designed to honor the connection between one’s head and one’s heart through shared activities such as planting seeds, making paper and cooking and sharing a meal together. The panelists on the afternoon roundtable included Don Neuwrith of Urban Ecology, Ingrid Severson of DIG and members of East Oakland Boxing Association, Jane Wardani Community Green space planner and youth workers from Oakland Green Jobs, Oakland City Planner David Ralston, Luisah Teish, Eco-Spiritual activist, and Diony Gamoso of Friends of Peralta Creek Don Neuwrith of Urban Ecology shared how listening to the community when planning new projects can lead the work into unexpected directions. “We convened hundreds of community meetings to find out what the community needed in East Oakland to support open space. Parents told us that unlike other neighborhoods in the East Bay their children do not have safe places to be outside.” The lack of safe, green open space in the neighborhood prevented children and community members from spending quality time outdoors. To address the lack of open space, Urban Ecology targeted health issues such as childhood obesity and subsequently received funding to begin the East Bay Greenway. The East Bay Greenway will build multi-use trails connecting neighborhoods, schools and public transit among the region's diverse, low-income communities. These trails will create safe and accessible places to be active as well as address childhood obesity and asthma. DIG and East Oakland Boxing association shared how despite the recent murder of one of their youth workers; they were committed to serving youth from various neighborhoods in East Oakland through boxing, cooking, gardening and water harvesting. David Ralston, Oakland city planner, shared the successes and challenges to creating green and open space for youth in Oakland. Diony Gamoso of Friends of Peralta Creek offered his ten year vision of engaging Ohlone storytellers to illuminate the history of the creeks and the land in his Laurel neighborhood. The synergy of the day inspired many participants to comment that Oakland is such a gem and one participant even pointed out that “This was the first forum I’ve attended where everyone was on the same page of wanting to connect more with each other and to share resources and ideas ”. As folks mingled outside during breaks to create paper, gather herb pots and eat the collective soup of goodness a spark was created rooted in connection to each other and to a shared narrative of hope and new possibilities for Oakland. One flame born from the spark of this meeting and created by two Merritt College students and green entrepreneurs Leslie Cleaver and Nikki Woulk, is Oakland Commons a soon to be launched local online reference and resource guide for all of the great green happenings in Oakland.
The plan is to hold more forums designed in a similar fashion but to extend the invite to artists, spiritual organizations, more neighborhood groups and others interested in continuing the conversation. Freeman and Ralston will continue the discussion in the spring semester with Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning at Merritt’s Environmental program, About Phoenix Smith

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