Geography 35S
Section 2278


details of our spring 2014 field activities are still developing. They include local one-day trips on Saturday, March 29 (our Eat Your Way through L.A. Cultural Tour) and Saturday, April 5 (Santa Monica Mountains) and our full weekend trip to the Wind Wolves Preserve on May 9-11. We will study coastal, mountain, desert and human landscapes and the forces and processes that are shaping them, including natural and human history. Details will follow.

Here you will find some details about our Spring 2014 field activities as they develop. If you are in the class or are joining us on one of our field trips, carefully read the instructions and requirements on all of this page.  Details for each trip are being added at the bottom of this page.

Weather Updates

You should first attend our first meeting to prepare and organize and find out what is expected on these trips: Friday, February 21, 4-7pm, HSS 251. During our one weekend in the field together (May 9-11) and two one-day Saturday trips, March 29 and April 5, we will explore the natural history and human history of a wide variety of California landscapes. We will meet at SMC (HSS 251) at 8:30am for each trip to carpool to diverse coastal, mountain, and urban locations, except March 29, when we will meet in HSS 105 . Specific details will be added to this page as they develop. During our trips, we will learn about the natural history (geology, weather and climate, plants and animals, coastal processes) and human history of these regions, their landscapes and the processes that are changing them. Each trip will require car pools to get into the field, so we must meet promptly at 8:30am in HSS 251 (except HSS 105 on March 29). More details (including directions) will appear at the bottom of this page as they evolve. Remember that all field class students are also required to attend the final wrap-up session in HSS 251 on Friday, May 30, 4-7pm.  

For our first Saturday, March 29 L.A. Cultural Tour trip only: Only students registered in our field class can attend this trip and everyone must have reserved a bus seat ($10) through Joan Kang at our SMC International Education Center (Pearl Street side of campus). Your money will be refunded when you board the bus.

To participate in each field trip, you are required to sign waivers. This means you will not sue Selby or the college or anyone connected with the college no matter what unexpected or bad things might happen to you or us on our field trips. You should also use common sense when preparing for the trips. That means wearing comfortable clothes and shoes and bringing water, food and other personal items and necessities that will improve your comfort level and enjoyment. Finally, during each field trip, you will be expected to follow SMC and all camp, host and park rules and codes of conduct. Besides the obvious rules banning drugs, alcohol, and smoking (especially in areas of fire danger), we must respect one another and contribute to a positive atmosphere that will add to the educational experience. After all, these trips are also part of our Global Citizenship efforts. Curiosity, learning, safety, and fun are some of the main themes for this semester’s field trips.
William A. Selby
Earth Science/Geography/Environmental and Urban Studies (310) 434-4743

Here is the course description edited with the one date change to Saturday March 29:

GEOG 35S, Geography Field Studies    1 unit

Transfer: CSU • Prerequisite: None.

This course combines classroom and laboratory studies with actual field studies in geography. Field experiences are designed to apply basic geographic concepts and techniques in the study of diverse landscapes and the processes shaping them.

2278   4:00p-7:05p F   HSS 251   Selby W A

   Arrange-Time        Selby W A

Above section 2278 has two on-campus required Friday meetings February 21 and May 30, 4:00-7:05 p.m. in HSS 251. There are also three required weekend field trips that may include coastal, mountain, desert and other locations: Saturday March 29, Saturday April 5 and all weekend May 9-11.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
What can students do, think, or know as a result of their studies in this class?
Students will be able to apply concepts - from recent research, texts, and the classroom - to real world field observations. Students will learn the nature of fieldwork and of using the scientific method to interpret and analyze physical and human landscapes.
What can students do, think, or know as a result of their studies within the more general geography program?
Students will be able to identify spatial patterns and interrelationships between systems and cycles that affect life and shape landscapes. Students will demonstrate cartographic literacy, including map interpretation and, using spatial analysis skills, will be able to analyze, recognize and evaluate spatial distributions on all scales from local to global  to become better global citizens.


We geographers offer several unique opportunities to learn about California’s natural and human landscapes this spring 2014. This semester, we focus our attention on our coastal, mountain, and urban landscapes. Students in the field course will earn one unit credit for their work. Other geography students are invited to join us, but you must sign up and learn about the details of each trip ahead of time. Field trips play a vital role in geography. They provide opportunities to apply geographic concepts in the field as we examine the systems and cycles that shape our world. During our natural history adventures, we will explore geology, geomorphology, weather and climate, and learn about the plants and animals of the area. We will also learn about human history, cultures, and how humans change landscapes. 


All students in the field class (Geog35S) must attend the two class sessions at the beginning and end of the semester (listed here and on the class schedule), all field trips, and keep a journal that will be graded at the end of class. If you have any questions, you can call Selby and leave a message at (310) 434-4743 or e-mail at Safety and common sense are essential to successful field trips. All Santa Monica College rules and regulations for student behavior will be strictly enforced on every trip, such as NO alcohol or drugs and the assumption that everyone will be treated with respect. Together, we can share some great learning experiences this semester. If you would like to join us, sign up for the course and meet with our class, or contact me ahead of time. You will be required to sign a waiver, follow all SMC rules of conduct, and prepare yourself for the trips. To view photos from some previous field trips, click back to my homepage.


Students will meet for each field trip in HSS 251, the lab on the south side of the second floor, at 8:30 am to prepare for departure (except March 29, when we will meet in HSS 105). Students in the one unit field course must also attend both Friday class sessions on February 21 and May 30, 4-7 pm, also in HSS 251.

We will be travelling together and learning about natural history, from weather and climate, to geomorphology, to plants and animals. We will also learn about Native American history and other cultures and their histories, including our Eat Your Way Through L.A. Cultural Tour. You will need the proper personal items, food and a water bottle, and you must dress for the weather. There are plenty of reasons to take precautions on these trips. Go to our February 21 orientation session (see above) even if you are not enrolled in the one-unit course so you can prepare for this. Since we will be travelling through and staying in County, State and National Parks and a Private Preserve, you must follow all Park rules and regulations designed to protect the parks and the public. Here are some important details:

Rules, Guidelines, How to Prepare and What to bring

For all trips, make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen and bring water and dress for the weather: also bring food for the trip. We will carpool from the college. Wear comfortable hiking shoes. Again, don't forget your hat, sun screen and water! Since we are staying overnight for the weekend of May 9-11 at the Wind Wolves Wildlife Preserve, you will need the typical camping gear. The camping cost will be about $10/person for the weekend (which will be our donation to the Preserve), but you must bring your own food. Everyone has their own style and comfort level, but the minimum required will be a sleeping bag or good blankets, tent, flashlight, and all personal items you will need to keep you safe, clean and comfortable for the weekend. Our camp has running potable water and bathrooms. NO firearms or weapons of any kind and you must follow all fire safety guidelines. Of course, no camping gear is needed for the March 29 and April 5 one-day trips, but you will still need water, food, and comfortable clothes for the field.    

Review These General Field Rules and Guidelines!
In case you still have questions, below is a summary of some specific rules and regulations shared by other SMC field instructors. If you still have questions after reading them, ask me! 

All SMC rules and regulations apply at all times, including no drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances. The field is our SMC classroom, so stay involved and become an active member of the group so you can enjoy this special learning experience. 
You must be enrolled in my class to attend any field trip unless you have special permission to participate; that includes signing all waivers. 
No smoking during any field events or on the trails, especially near others or where there is ANY danger of fire.
Field trips are adventures, so exercise the greatest caution while driving. If you drive, you are required to have a dependable vehicle in good condition, a good driving record, license and insurance, and enough gas to get to our destinations.
Electronically amplified music or any other distracting noise will not be tolerated.
Keep cell phones off while in the field and on the trail, just as in the classroom.
Dangerous Flora and Fauna: Be careful not to taste anything wild or touch anything (such as poison oak) unless you are sure it is safe. Watch where you place your feet or hands, especially where you might encounter hidden rattlesnakes or other surprises. Check for ticks regularly, especially when brushing against vegetation. Though we must all avoid stinging insects, you are required to carry your own special kit if you have allergic reactions. 
Whether on the road or the trail, do not wander away from the group.
If nature calls, move to a safe and inconspicuous location at least 50 feet from any water body; carry your Kleenex/tissue out with you in an extra plastic bag.
Proper clothing is essential for a rich and comfortable learning experience in the field. You must dress for the wide variations in weather conditions encountered at different places and times and you should always have plenty of water.
Don't forget your field notes, maps, books, camera, binoculars or other equipment that will enhance your learning experience.
If you are participating in an overnight trip, you must bring the personal items, food and proper camping gear that will get you through the weekend with ease. Consult this page and ask in class about these specifics.      

Any Questions?

Read through this entire web page (above) to learn about safety, rules and regulations on these trips, including SMC rules of conduct and the waiver requirement. Once you are introduced, contact me (310 434-4743) or go to the orientation session Friday Feb 21, 4-7p.m., HSS 251.

For students in the one-unit field course, remember you must also attend the wrap-up class session on Friday May 30, 4-7pm with your completed field notes. All other geography students are also invited to join us on that last evening. 

Some Details and Directions

Each field trip will begin when we meet our carpools in HSS 251 at 8:30am (except HSS 105 on March 29 for the bus). More details will follow as they develop.
For our Saturday March 29 L.A. Cultural trip only: Only students registered in our field class can attend this trip and everyone must have reserved a bus seat ($10) through Joan Kang at our SMC International Education Center (Pearl Street side of campus). Your money will be refunded when you board the bus. Go to that office and get on her sign-up sheet ASAP.     

Saturday March 29 and April 5 : These are our local one-day trips. We will meet at 8:30 in HSS 105 on Saturday March 29 and HSS 251 at 8:30 on Saturday April 5 so we can leave before 9. Details follow:

Saturday March 29:

This is our famous Eat Your Way Through L.A. Cultural Tour day. After we meet in a larger HSS 105 at 8:30AM, we will walk to our bus (this is our only trip with bus transportation) with other Santa Monica College participants and leave the driving to the bus driver. We will visit as many cultural neighborhoods in L.A. as possible that may include more formal stops to visit local restaurants. This will be our tour to learn about the cultures of the world without leaving Los Angeles. As usual, remember your water, hat, and sunscreen and dress for the weather, but also bring some extra money so you can sample the food. Only students registered in our field class can attend this trip and everyone must have reserved a bus seat ($10) through Joan Kang at our SMC International Education Center (Pearl Street side of campus). Your money will be refunded when you board the bus. Here are Joan's specific instructions for Saturday, October 18 only:

Reservations (for this field trip only) are required.  To reserve your space, you will need to submit a $10.00 cash deposit in person to Joan Kang in the International Education Center.   The deposit is only refundable if you attend the Cultural Tour of L.A. event.  Deposits are not transferable.  When you provide the $10.00 cash deposit, you will be asked to show your SMC student ID and provide your first and last name, SMC student ID number, phone number, and email address. Only one ticket can be reserved per student. Each student must be present to sign up. All participants must use the organized/arranged transportation provided by our International Education Center, both to and from the event. There are no exceptions.

Saturday, April 5:
For this one-day trip, meet in HSS 251 by 8:30am for our carpools. We will explore the coastal landscapes of our Santa Monica Mountains and we will return before sundown. Stops will depend on the weather, fire and coastal conditions as we will study natural and human history, but some details follow this paragraph. Bring food, water, hat and sunscreen, comfortable hiking shoes and clothes for the weather and any other necessities that will enhance your learning experience. 

Learn about the SMMNRA and get a map:

May 9-11 Weekend:
We are fortunate to be invited to spend our weekend at the Wind Wolves Preserve within an isolated canyon near the foot of the mountains southwest of  the San Joaquin Valley: Visit this web site and note all rules and regulations. We will be escorted by rangers to our camp behind a closed gate at 4PM Friday, so everyone must meet us there at that time. Don't forget all essentials for survival and comfort including sleeping bag or blankets, tent, flashlight, water bottle, food (for the entire weekend), and all clothes and personal items you will need to keep you safe and comfortable for the weekend. Camp costs should be at least $10/person for the entire weekend, a donation to the Conservancy. The end of spring in the canyon is likely to be warm by day and cool by night, but a late cool period is possible: check the weather forecast for the area. Bring sunscreen and a hat to protect from sun burns and dehydration. Weather conditions update:

Itinerary is evolving on this web site:

We will meet and then leave from HSS 251 on Friday, May 9, 8:30AM 
Get your good map and gear and enough food for the entire weekend. We go north on the 405 merging with I 5 north toward Sacramento and up and over the Grapevine and then down into the Central Valley. We will make some interesting and informative stops along the way, so keep up with our caravan. In case you lose us, here are the directions: Continue north on Interstate 5 just past the split with Hwy 99 and turn on Highway 166 west toward Maricopa. From this interchange the access road is 9.5 miles. After you pass Old River Road, continue 1.8 miles to the access road on your left. Immediately following a grove of orange trees, look for a large sign indicating, "Wind Wolves Preserve". Turn left onto the access road and travel south for 3 miles. Turn right and proceed through the main entrance gate and follow the signs to the gate at the end of the vehicle road. Here, we will wait at the hiking biking trailhead near the waterfall at 4PM for our ranger escort behind the otherwise locked gate. This escort will lead us to our group camp (Willows) so you can settle in and make dinner before sunset. Make sure you bring enough food for the entire weekend. If you arrive after the group, you will be locked out and not be able to join us. We will be living in the canyon behind the locked gate for the weekend.

If you have read this far, is it assumed you have checked the Wind Wolves Preserve web site (see link above) for rules and regulations, but there are a few obvious ones: All SMC rules and regulations will be followed, such as no firearms or smoking. If you violate SMC or their rules,  you will be asked to leave. In an effort to keep facility use rates low no janitorial services are provided. Users are expected to leave the camping site and restrooms cleaner than they found them. In this way conditions will improve instead of degrade. Cleaning supplies are provided in the bathrooms. Failure to adequately clean up will result in cleaning fees. All of our recyclables and trash will be carried out by us.

And now, back to our Itinerary:
Late Friday afternoon: Meet together at 4PM for our escort in and settle at our Willows Group Camp. Make dinner (no open fires). Friday night: Star gazing (bring your own star chart or phone app and binoculars or telescope), then get to sleep early to prepare for a big day Saturday. Speaking of phones, remember that most of you may be out of service range all weekend.

Saturday: This will be a very busy day for anyone who likes to study natural history of any kind, including geology, weather and climate, plants and animals, hydrology and human history. We are up early to fix and eat breakfast, pack our lunches and ready to hike and learn by 8:30 AM. Be prepared for a long day in the field away from camp. That means lots of water, sunscreen, your hat, comfortable clothes and hiking shoes and lunch. We will meet back at our Willows Group Camp for dinner before dark and then have a look at the stars and perhaps a night walk. Get to sleep early again so you are ready for another big day on Sunday.

Please remember that we are working together as a team to be the model visitors at this Wildlife Preserve. Pick up and clean after yourself, show common courtesy and care for your companions, and follow all SMC and Preserve rules and regulations

Sunday, May 11:Wake early again so we are done with breakfast and have cleaned our camp and bathrooms, leaving our camp and the Preserve cleaner than we found it by 8:30. We will donate at least $10/person for use of the facilities to the Conservancy. Our drive back to Santa Monica should include plenty of interesting stops, arriving home long before sundown for those lucky enough to fix dinner for Mom.  

Our Last Meeting
For those in our Geography 35 course, don't forget about the required final meeting on May 30, HSS 251, 4-7 PM. You must bring your completed field journals. All other SMC Geography students are also invited to attend this event, whether you attended our field trips or not.