February 14, 2007 10:24 PM

learning at CNR....way more than a classroom education

As a new member of fresh faces, I will start with a little introduction. My name is Nicole (nikki) Fernandez and I am currently a third year undergraduate who recently switched from Molecular Environmental Biology to the Conservation and Resource Studies Major. So why do I love CNR? As one of the smaller colleges on campus CNR offers a nurturing, intimate environment where class sizes are smaller and more attention is paid to the individuals. I have loved my professors and have gotten to know many of them on a first name basis. One of the things that CNR offers that not many other offer are chances for field work or field trips. Yesterday, I took a little trip to Ano Nuevo State Reserve with my Wildlife Ecology class with Justin Brashares. So what exactly attracts people to the reserve and keeps people piling in from year to year?
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That's right, it is the elephant seals. Mating season begins around December and lasts until about March. We saw a few pups that did not look too good. Our guide told us that about 60% of yearlings die, which according to my amazing wildlife ecology skills tells me that they probably have a type 3 survivorship curve. We also learned a few things about their feeding patterns, molting, behavioral patterns, mating and gestation, weaners, birth, and development. It was a lovely and welcome escape from the sometimes dreary classrooms of Berkeley.

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