Jasper Ridge

Today, the DVF group took a tour of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve just outside of the Stanford campus. It was hot, hot, hot! I had never gone to Jasper Ridge when I was a student, though I knew of it through Alex Rubio during my senior year on campus. He was in some class that allowed him to mountain bike some of the trails, from what I remember (or maybe he was a docent?).

Here’s a far better description of the preserve from the Jasper Ridge web site than I could possibly write: “Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is located near Stanford University’s campus in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. An undeveloped jewel set amidst a rapidly urbanizing area, the Preserve provides refuge to native plants and animals, rich educational experiences to students and docent-led visitors, and a rare natural laboratory for researchers from all over the world.

The Preserve encompasses remarkable geologic, topographic, and biotic diversity within its 481 hectares (1,189 acres), including one of the few formally preserved serpentine grasslands in the world and the only freshwater lake in California managed primarily for research and instruction. These unique features, along with the Preserve’s chaparral slopes, mixed evergreen forests, oak woodlands, and freshwater wetlands, provide researchers, students and visitors with a rare opportunity to experience many of the ecosysystems that were once extensive in this part of California.”

Ed and Cindy were our tour guides, who split the DVF group into two groups of 6. I went with Stuart, Amy, Shuji, and Geoff/Jeff with Ed as our guide. He knew more about the plants in the preserve, while Cindy spoke more of the geology. I really liked seeing the dam at the preserve. It doesn’t quite compare to the Three Gorges Dam in China (which I hear is simply immense), but it was big to me!

Do the fellows actually do any work? All I’ve been writing about have been museum tours, hikes, and workshops! The work begins in earnest this week with the start of classes on Wednesday and beginning of the DVF seminars on Tuesdays. Stuart had a dinner at his house for all of the fellows and their families Monday evening. Rae and I went to it, though I didn’t bring my camera along for the ride. After publishing 5 days worth of entries in just under an hour on Monday afternoon, I couldn’t bring myself to put in the work for another.

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