Geography 24, Section 2

Natural History of the East Bay Regional Parks (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Robert Rhew and Dr. Tamara Mau
Thursday 5:30-6:30, 2650 Durant Avenue, Slottman L12 (Res Hall), Class number: 46813

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is the largest regional park agency in the country, consisting of over 65 parks spanning over 120,000 acres and 1,250 miles of trails. Perhaps the most well known of the parks is Tilden Park, which straddles the Berkeley Hills. The Regional Parks include a diverse range of habitats and geological features and represent a protected heritage of natural and cultural resources. In this Freshman seminar, we will explore the geology, history, botany and wildlife of selected regional parks in the East Bay, with field trips on several weekends throughout the semester.

Meetings of this seminar will take place in Unit 1 on Thursday evenings, 5:30-6:30, after which students can continue discussions over dinner at the dining hall.  

Instructor Bio

Dr. Robert Rhew is an Associate Professor at UC Berkeley in the Department of Geography as well as the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management.   His field of research is atmospheric science and trace gas biogeochemistry, and his research group measures the biosphere-atmosphere exchange of environmentally important trace gases.  The group works in a wide range of natural and human-dominated ecosystems, including Arctic tundra, temperate grasslands, salt-affected lands, arid and semi-arid shrublands, boreal forest, temperate forest, and tropical ecosystems.  Several field sites are local, and the group has worked in several regional and state parks in the Bay Area.   The research is very interdisciplinary, involving the tools of analytical and atmospheric chemistry, soil geochemistry and microbiology, plant biology and genetics, ecosystem ecology and physical geography.  Dr. Rhew is a Resident Faculty member for Units 1 and 4.

Faculty web site:

Dr. Tamara Mau is the Instruction Supervisor in the Department of Integrative Biology. Dr. Mau has conducted research in marine mammal physiology and in human exercise physiology. Her work has involved work on blubber biochemistry and diving physiology in seals, sea lions, and bowhead whales and on fat, glucose and lactate metabolism in humans. Her current work involves the design and implementation of laboratory exercises for the Integrative Biology lab courses, including mammalian physiology lab and Biology 1B.


Students who enjoy hiking and exploring their natural world and who are intellectually curious should consider this course. The intended audience—students who live in the Residence Halls—are especially welcome, as the course will be offered in Unit 1 in the evenings and weekend trips will depart from there.   

This seminar is part of the following programs

Food for Thought