Arboretum

Outback Restoration Project

Scholars in the Scrub


Restoring Nature, a class led by Professor Paul Faulstich and Arboretum Director Joe Clements, includes a restoration project designed to preserve and restore the native area of land on Pitzer’s campus that we fondly call “The Outback.”

The Pitzer College Outback sits on approximately three acres of the John R. Rodman Arboretum that is home to the native alluvial scrub that was once abundant below the mouth of San Antonio Canyon. This area represents a unique combination of recovering riparian, coastal sage scrub and chaparral plant communities.

Restoring Nature: The Pitzer Outback and its sister course, Practicum in Exhibiting Nature, focus on designing and implementing a restoration plan for the Pitzer Outback. Students in these classes also work on developing restoration strategies and a management plan.

A group of approximately 40 students meet at the entrance of the Outback twice a week, fully clad in old t-shirts, sunglasses and their least favorite pair of tennis shoes and pants, ready to engage in a number of restoration practices. Besides attending the three-hour class once a week, students report weekly to the Outback to log an additional two hours of manual work. Typically, the class works on removing invasive plants that have taken over native species. Students identify the plants they come across in their readings and work in teams to collect and carry out garbage bins of dead plants and the occasional odd piece of garbage.

Towards the end of the semester students focus on planting native species that are likely to do well in the coastal sage scrub environment, like types of sage or coast live oaks.

--Morgan Beazley '15

EA 131: Restoring Nature: The Pitzer Outback
This course focuses on designing and implementing a restoration plan for the Pitzer Outback as a resource and developing a restoration strategy and management plan. The science and practice of ecological restoration is explored and social perspectives that encompass the restoration project are examined.

EA 132/Art 132: Practicum in Exhibiting Nature: The Pitzer Outback
This course focuses on designing and implementing an exhibition plan for the Pitzer Outback.
Students will assess the Outback as a resource and develop an exhibit strategy and management plan. Walking paths and interpretive signage will be constructed and students will work in teams to design and develop the appropriate infrastructure.