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BIO/ESyS 105 Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve




​In 1975, Jasper Ridge began developing community education programs that would enhance educational opportunities for both the university and the community. In 1977, Stanford students were incorporated into the docent program and a formal, rigorous class was established, now Biology 105A/B Earth Systems 105 A/B. During academic year 2018/19, the JRBP education program included more than 100 active affiliates/docents comprised of a mix of Stanford students and local community. JRBP docents provide field -based education and are trained to "teach on the trail" with meaningful curricula to serve a very broad age range.  Class description and enrollment information here 


JR affilates also have opportunities to work with researchers and some projects at the preserve are carried out entirely by volunteers with staff oversight. For many years, members of the JRBP community have conducted regular bird surveys and produced invaluable bird lists and data bases. Volunteer efforts are also responsible for the outstanding teaching collection in JRBP's Oakmead Herbarium, insect collection, bird census, ant survey, K-12 outreach and more.


Biology / Earth Systems 105 and the Jasper Ridge community illustrate the committment of both instructors and students alike to provide opportunities for inquiry-based education in ecology and provide a bridge between education (both formal and informal) and the volunteer base of the preserve.




Completion in sequence of both Winter and Spring quarters are required to join and complete the Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve course.
The Ecology and Natural History of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is an upper-division course that aims to help students learn ecology and natural history using a “living laboratory”, the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. The course’s central goal is that, as a community of learning, we examine –via introductory discussions, followed by hands-on experiences in the field– the scientific basis of ecological research, archaeology, edaphology, geology, species interactions, land management, and multidisciplinary environmental education. The first 10 sessions that compose the academic program are led by the instructors, faculty (world-experts on the themes of each session), and JRBP staff. In addition, this 20-week course (winter and spring quarters) trains students to become JRBP Docents that will join the Jasper Ridge education affiliates community.

After completing the 20 weeks of the Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve course and as new affiliates of Jasper Ridge, participants will be able to lead research-focused educational tours, assist with classes and research, and attend continuing education activities available to members of the JRBP community.

A community of learning and respect. The 20-week course operates as a community-based learning environment in which diversity, inclusion and belonging are central. Participants commit to be respectful and thoughtful in their interactions and we expect that everyone feels comfortable in sharing ideas, asking questions, listening actively, and collaborating effectively.

Transportation is provided to and from Jasper Ridge from main campus on Thursdays.

Unit of Credit, Stanford's Existing Policy. Stanford's long-standing policy, which is in compliance with the federal definition, is published in the Stanford Bulletin, and states that every unit for which credit is given is understood to represent approximately three hours of actual work per week for the average student. This policy is in compliance with federal regulations. For more information visit the Stanford Registrar's Office.




Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve course

We follow Stanford's academic calendar

Important 2023 dates to apply for 2024 BIO/ESyS 105:

Friday Sept 29, 2023 - Applications are posted

Friday Oct 20, 2023 - Deadline for community members

Friday Oct 27, 2023 - Deadline for Stanford students

November 2023 - Review of applications

December 2023 - Cohort confirmed


Important 2024 Winter Quarter dates:

Thursday Jan 11, 2024 - First day of 105 classes for Winter Quarter

Thursday March 14, 2024 - Last day of 105 classes for Winter Quarter

March 18 - 22, 2024 - Winter Quarter Finals Week

March 25 - 29, 2024 - Spring Break


Important 2024 Spring Quarter dates:

Thursday April 4, 2024 - First day of 105 classes for Spring Quarter

Thursday June 6, 2024 - Last day of 105 classes and graduation ceremony!

June 7 - 12, 2024 - Spring Quarter Finals week


Please read the class information in the application packet before submitting your application.


Class information and application for community members (deadline 10/20/2023). 

[Community Member Application]


Class information and application for Stanford students (deadline 10/27/2023):

[Student Member Application]




We are building a list of BIO/ESyS 105 Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve alumni, and updating it with new records and changes. If you or someone you know was part of a docent class in the past and can contribute updates, please contact Katie Glover (



Richard Nevle and Bio 105 students Each one Teach one

Alan Launer and BIO 105 students during fish day

For more information about BIO/ESyS 105 for 2024, please contact:


Katherine Glover, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Environmental Education
Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Office: (650) 851-6814