2003-2004 Richmond High School

Hastings Natural History Reservation

The Hastings Natural History Reservation is a Biological Field Station of the University of California. It is set in the open foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains in the upper Carmel Valley where habitats include oak woodland, streams, hillsides with dense chaparral, and abandoned agricultural fields, covering about 2,000 acres.

Half the class from Mrs. Robinson’s AP Environmental Science Class attended the weekend field trip to Hastings Natural History Reserve from March 12-14, 2004. Students participated in a scientific field study and explored the wildlife of Hastings in the day and the night.

Exploring the Wildlife of Hastings

Exploring the wildlife of Hastings was a treasure hunt. Flipping over a log or large rock often revealed an exciting find.


Sean displays a frog to students.

Holding a newt.

Sean shows a salamander, found under a log, to students.

Native vs. Non-native Grass Study on Invertebrates

Hastings’ grassland has been largely invaded by non-native grasses. To compare native to non-native grasslands, students set up two plots (native and non-native grassland) and collected invertebrates in each. Differences in diversity and abundance could be observed from their collections.


Joe sets up a grass plot.

A student uses a beating sheet in the grass to sample insects.

Students show off insects they collected in jars.
Using sweep nets, aerial nets, and beating sheets, students collected insects and spiders in native and non-native study plots.

Mammal Trapping

In the last hours of light and approaching night chill students set out metal traps baited with peanut butter oat balls and cotton in the meadow. Traps were marked with flagging and left overnight in suspected spots of high rodent activity.


Francisco and Eduardo are naturals at picking spots to set up mammal traps.

The next morning they find almost every trap occupied. One of their catches was this large and husky wood rat; it barely fit inside the trap!

Field Notes

At the end of the trip, students recounted their experiences in their field journals.

Other Resources

For more information about the Hastings Natural History Reservation, please see the park's website: http://www.hastingsreserve.org

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