Fall/Spring Classes

Summer Field Trips

Field Course Requirements

Trip Logistics

Equipment and Food

Frequently Asked Questions

Plant Sales




Trip Logistics


Also see the FAQ page about how to prepare for a trip and what to expect.

Watch for Trip EMAILS. After you have completed the registration process and signed up for a trip, you will be on the email list for trip updates and notifications. About two weeks before each trip begins, emails are sent out to students signed up for that trip listing who is signed up, contact information (so students can arrange carpooling), meeting location, and details about the trip itinerary. Additional emails announce updates to the itinerary if necessary. If your participation hasn't been confirmed by a week before your trip, call Stew. The instructor reserves the right to amend the trip destination and itinerary due to weather or traveling conditions.

Arrange Transportation. All students carpool to the class meeting location. Riders compensate drivers for fuel costs.

Get in Condition! It is imperative that you get used to walking hilly stretches with your day pack/backpack and hiking shoes or boots. Better to find out about problems before the trip than on the trail. Repeatedly walking up hills rapidly until you're out of breath is advised. Although we average about 1 mile per hour, it is important to make enough progress on the trail to enjoy the view and the flowers to their fullest. She who climbs highest sees furthest.

Assemble Gear. Assemble your personal gear and food for the trip. Do not wait until the day before the trip. See Materials and Food for suggestions.

Bring CASH for Class Fees and Expenses.  You will need to bring CASH money to cover the materials fee of $30, collected at the beginning of the trip. This covers shared group camping materials such as water filters and stove fuel. An optional trip packet fee of about $10 to $15 will cover trip packets (maps, plant keys, and other references). Additional expenses may include campground fees and/or wilderness permit fees where applicable. Emails before the trip will include information about whether you will need to bring CASH money to cover these expenses. Sometimes the group has a meal at a reasonably priced restaurant, and you might want to buy a snack at one of the fuel stops. Don’t forget carpooling costs – riders contribute fuel costs; drivers are generous to drive their cars. Note that each student is responsible for arranging their transportation to the class location and for their own food and personal camping equipment.


Arrival at the Class Meeting Location

Participants will have made carpooling arrangements prior to the trip and kept in touch for any updates to the itinerary.

You are responsible for:

  • Being on time at the class meeting location
  • Arriving properly equipped
  • Arriving free of potentially offensive aromas (smoke, tobacco, alcohol, perfume, etc.) on breath or clothing

Daily Schedule (Backpacking Trips)

The first day is spent traveling to the class meeting location trailhead. The first afternoon or evening there will be a lecture to introduce local botanical and geological highlights and review the trip itinerary. For some trips, students will camp at the trailhead the first night to avoid packing in during the hottest part of the day, and to help acclimate to higher elevation. Packing in to base camp is not a race - class is in session including on the way to base camp, and we will look at plants along the trail! Keep your camera out and ready while backpacking. Although usually a base camp is established, with day hikes from there, on some trips we may move camp each day. We will generally pack out and drive back to the Bay Area on the last day of the trip.

Daily Schedule (Car Camping Trips)

The first day is spent mostly on the road, traveling to the first destination. Roadside stops to look at rocks and plants will vary, depending on the location and the season's bounty. Campsites are chosen based on proximity to good locations to study plants, and usually are not at established campgrounds. Class may meet at a ranger station and caravan together to the camp spot, where there will be a lecture and walk to introduce local botanical and geological highlights. Subsequent days may include an all-day hike and return to the same camp, or some combination of hiking, roadside stops, and travelling to another site. To avoid wasting any precious daylight hours, plan to arise around daybreak and take care of personal needs efficiently so you can join the group in the day's activities. The goal is to maximize immersion in habitats and floral displays.

During The Trip: Guidelines

  • Field trips are classroom settings: etiquette requirements apply for the entire trip. Although it may seem to be a less formal situation, when the teacher asks the class to gather around, it is appropriate to discontinue personal conversations, pay attention, and take notes. There will be time to take photos, sketch, record observations, and become immersed in the setting.
  • Remember that this is a group trip, not a personal trip. Students must be considerate of other participants in the group and remain aware of the group's activities and plans.
  • On hikes, remain in contact with the group so that you don't become left behind or lost, and do not head back to camp on your own without making sure that Stew knows where you are.
  • Contribute to the group camping experience by taking a little time to gather wood for campfires, set up communal cooking equipment, or clean up.
  • Each student's degree of participation (attentiveness and attitude) will be noted, and if it interferes with the normal instructor/student exchange, the student will be encouraged to adapt or disengage.

The End Of The Trip. Usually students arrive back in the Bay Area around 9 pm on the last day of the trip. After the trip, before the end of the semester, produce a slide show, photo essay, or other documentation of what you have learned during the trip.

Field trips are classroom settings: etiquette requirements apply for the entire trip.