Cal Poly Land:
Nature, Technology and Society

A scientific investigation of the natural features of the Cal Poly landscape and their transformations by land management technology. Analysis of the environmental, economic, social, and political effects of agricultural, resource extraction and construction technology on that landscape. Emphasis on the educational, land-use and long term planning issues of technology presented by this case study.
Section 01:MW 4:10-6:00 PM in 38-131
unless noted as elsewhere
Steven Marx
47-25E (Faculty Office Building)
Office hours: MW 10:10-12:00
Hunter Francis
11-227 (Ag Sciences Building)
Office hours: MW 9:10-11:00

Spring 2006 Schedule


Week Date Location and meeting place Topic activity guest assignments and invitations work due
I 3/27 38-131

introduction to Cal Poly Land

website tour

course profile

course objectives

workgroups for website project

possible specific website topics

Get class email

Model Journal Evaluation

Website evaluation form


  3/29 38-131 exploring our environment campus hike and class discussion Matt Ritter, Biological Sciences

check out Matt's awesome website for a virtual version of today's tour and for an introduction to his conservatory

Campus gardens webpage

Read preface, introduction and Places section of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide (pp. iii-23)
II 4/3 38-131

Geology and Soils

Making Webpages for Cal Poly Land website

workgroups formed

accessing servers

making pages



Poly Canyon-- gate

(by building 71 top right on this map)

Geology and Soils







read and study: all documents linked to Geology and Soils on Polyland website


 Read Geology and Soils chapters in Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide (pp.24-53)


7:30 P.M Mott Gym

Special Event: Cal Poly Earth Day Biodiversity, Sustainability and the University   Peter Raven    
III 4/10 38-131 for introduction followed by hike Climate, Hydrology and Water Resources pictures

Charles Burt

explore the Soils and Water section of the Cal Poly Land Website

Read Climate and Water chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide (pp. 40-45,54-59)



Horse Canyon

meet at Arboretum in Environmental Horticulture Unit on Via Carta [item 48 on this map]

Plant communities and Vegetation  

David Keil , Biological Sciences


read and study the the Plant communities sections of the Cal Poly Land website

Read the Vegetation chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide


IV 4/17 38-131

Archaeology and History


Alison Preston, English

  read the Archaeology and History chapters of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide

Trestle, Avocado Orchard and Vineyard

meet at Stenner Road Trestle at 4:10 [directions]

Train technology, water system, reservoirs, sheep, holistic grazing


Rob Rutherford, Animal Science

Read Technology chapter and Agriculture chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide



V 4/24

Solar House and Cal Poly Organic Farm

Directions to get there

Green Building and Organic, Sustainable and Locally based Agriculture pictures   Organic Agriculture Class lecture schedule--Open and Free to all Students

read and study the Agriculture chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide

Cal Poly Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium website

Download and read Natural

chapter 10


Campus Farm: Dairy and Poultry Units

Lastnames: A-N meet at Dairy. Directions

Lastnames: O-Z meet at Poultry Unit, corner Mt. Bishop and Stenner Creek Roads


Billy Strona, Dairy Science

Dairy website

Liz Koutzos, Poultry Science

Poultry Unit Website

Poultry Biosecurity Presentation

VI 5/1 Stenner Canyon Meet at Serrano Ranch, end of Stenner Creek Road Watersheds, Wildlife and Infrastructure


map of Serrano Ranch


Johanna Rubba, English



Read Birds and Wildlife Chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide



  5/3 10--203 working on websites      

webpage instructor review

journals collected--for provisional evaluation

sample journal

VII 5/8 38-131 Infrastructure and Technology   Dennis Eliot, Facilities manager and Rex Wolf, former University Architect

Rex Wolf's presentation

Mary Avila's presentation

read Technology chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide



Pennington Canyon

how to get there

hike map


Range Management, Geology, History, Landscape Appreciation


GoogleEarth tour

    Arts chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide
VIII 5/15 10--203 working on websites groups      

Business School Fountain, front lawn


Land Use and Stewardship: the Master Plan  

Linda Dalton, Cal Poly Chief Planning Officer

read the Stewardship chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide

read executive summary of Cal Poly Master Plan

study the Stewardship section of Cal Poly Land website


read the Stewardship chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide


Swanton Trip


pictures from Swanton trip Substitute assignment and chapter in personal journal      
IX 5/22 10--203 working on websites   Website construction ideas   complete journals due
  5/24 10--203 working on websites   making a Google Earth Tour    
X 5/29 holiday          
  5/31 10--203 website submission date        

sample website evaluations from 2004



6/8 4:10-6pm

(back to official schedule)

10-203     Final Public Presentation of Websites    

Required Texts:

Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide, edited by Steven Marx

Workload and Grading

  1. Journal
    1. Students keep a weekly journal--on paper or or as web site. Entries include written prose as well as maps, diagrams, drawings, photos, and other forms of expression.
    2. Journal entries center on the week’s place on Cal Poly Land, combining what students learn from lecture-presentations and reading with what they discover during the talk-walk and independent exploration.
    3. The weekly Journal entry has three elements: 1) a descriptive account of a place on Cal Poly Land 2) a scientific explanation of how something observed was made and how it works 3) a discussion of both sides of an issue regarding land and technology.
    4. Journals are collected twice during quarter for comments and grading. The total of journal grades comprises 60% of the course grade.
  2. Final Project
    1. On the last day, the class makes a public presentation of its collaborative work. The presentation is an updated and expanded version of the Cal Poly Land website developed by the instructors.
    2. Like the course itself, the website is divided by abstract topic as well as by concrete place. In groups of four, selected by major or previous expertise, students assemble, elaborate and design materials relevant to one of the first eight units of the course, maintaining a focus on the central theme of land management technology and the interplay among nature, technology and society on Cal Poly Land. For example, one group might work on the topic of the railroad, including materials on the creation of the Cuesta Grade right of way and trestle, the role of the railroad in the founding of the University, the constraints to Poly's Master Plan development created by present railroad policies, and the safety and maintenance of the section of track running through the University, augmented by sounds of engines and engineers. Each group is responsible for delivering a high-quality component of the final website and for a brief presentation to the whole class during lectures and talk-walks. This ongoing group-work encourages specialization to balance the multidisciplinary scope of each student’s journal.
    3. The final grade on the group project counts 40% of each student’s grade.