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Looking for Poly’s wildlife?

English prof’s new field guide shows you where to find it

As if they couldn’t get enough of their job, Cal Poly professors have been working overtime so they can show off their campus.image

Professors, with some student help, published a guidebook featuring the university’s public trails, wildlife, and history last year, and as of this month you can check it out for yourself at university bookstores.

"Ever since I first came here 15 years ago, I’ve been in love with the land here at Cal Poly, its beauty, its history, and the variety of activities that are carried out on the land," said Steven Marx, the field guide editor and English professor.

Marx shares his love for the university’s natural beauty through "Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide." The hardback book is spiral bound so that hikers or birders can carry it like a notebook in one hand while using the other to hold plants or a pair of binoculars.

The university owns 10,000 land acres. Roughly one-third surrounds the campus, another third is located on both sides of Highway 1 near Cuesta Community College. Swanton Pacific Ranch near Santa Cruz accounts for the remaining land.

Berkeley is the only other college with more land in the state, according to Marx. He also said that Poly uses more of its land for instructional and research use.

Many professors collaborated on the project. Sky Bergman, a professional photographer and Poly professor, photographed most of the images in the book. The book was designed by Poly design professor Mary LaPorte.

Chapters in "Cal Poly Land" outline history, archaeology, geology, flora, fauna, and public hiking trails. Maps and photos illustrate trails and text. Reflections from students and staff inspired by the lands are also included.

"It’s relevant to not just Cal Poly, but the entire Central Coast," Marx said. "These are public lands and it really is a map of access we offer to some beautiful places to walk, to bike, to ride horses even."

Pick up a copy for $29.95 at Cal Poly Downtown, the university bookstore at the corner of Marsh and Higuera streets; Cal Poly Books in the University Square Plaza on Foothill; El Corral Bookstore on the university campus; or online at