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Jasper Ridge continues training future generations of diverse students in Stanford’s biggest classroom

2019 Bio 105 Graduation

May and June of 2019 were busy months filled with educational and outreach activities here at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. The activities and everyone I have met in the Jasper Ridge community made me feel both the 1975 spirit that has persisted since the educational programs began and the 21st century energy of our current students! Our educational programs were founded with the goal of enhancing opportunities for both Stanford affiliates and our broader community. Even in the short amount of time I have been here, I have witnessed first-hand that here at Jasper Ridge, we continue to enhance educational opportunities through innovative, diverse and inclusive programs for students and the community.

On June 6th we celebrated the 42nd graduating class of Jasper Ridge docents (BIO105/ESYS105). The class instructors, Cindy Wilber and Rodolfo Dirzo, along with TAs Jake Glassman and Ardsley Sanders, ensured that the graduating class members are prepared to develop field ecology research projects and lead activities and teach as Jasper Ridge docents.  Through our long-term GK-12 educational partnership with Menlo Atherton (MA) High School, our class members led tours of Jasper Ridge in English and in Spanish for a diverse group of students. I was lucky to have joined the tour in Spanish led by Mayte and Jamie and got to show Jasper Ridge to MA students from Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico!

Jasper Ridge also hosts the STEAM for Latina Girls program that promotes diversity, inclusion, and gender equality in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). This collaboration is another GK-12 long-term educational partnership that Rodolfo Dirzo has strengthened with the Consulado General de México of San José. This year, the 5th grade students joined Rodolfo and Trevor Hébert to learn about biodiversity, methods to monitor wildlife, and the importance of reserves such as Jasper Ridge. The students installed camera traps to monitor wildlife and to their surprise, they quickly documented a wide range of Jasper Ridge wildlife, including a mountain lion carrying a dead turkey in its mouth

During the summer months, we also hosted one of the Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network’s Spotlight Stewardship Tours, highlighting how Stanford’s stewardship actions contribute to regional stewardship.  Participants learned about water and dam management, wildlife monitoring, education and research programs, Muwekma Ohlone legacies, geology, sediment coring, and the Anthropocene, among other topics. The tour was led by Tony Barnosky with help from docents Katharina Strohmeyer, Stu Koretz, and Sally Jackson, and included presentations by Jasper Ridge postdocs Kelly McManus Chauvin and Kevin Leempoel, staff scientist Nona Chiariello and education coordinator Cindy Wilber. Presenters from the main campus included Tom Zigterman, Jean McCown, Catherine Palter, Julie Cain, and Alan Launer.

Summer is just beginning and we have many more educational and outreach activities coming up through our partnerships with the Stanford Summer Arts Institute, Mission College, Stanford Earth’s SURGE program, and the Summer Research Program for Teachers, among others.

Transitioning into my new role from Conservation International to Jasper Ridge has been a wonderful experience full of warm welcomes by everyone. A job like this allows me to combine my scientific and conservation background in developing and implementing education programs for the next generation of future leaders. Thank you everyone, for all of the support that have made this place feel like home very quickly – even my parents had a great time during the summer picnic celebration. Gracias!

Latina STEAM class at Jasper Ridge

STEAM for Latina Girls setting up wildlife monitoring cameras at Jasper Ridge

Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network Spotlight Tour at Jasper Ridge

Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network’s Spotlight Stewardship Tours

Jorge Ramos, Rodolfo Dirzo, and Jorge's parents

Jorge Ramos, Rodolfo Dirzo and Jorge's family.


Jorge Ramos  Jorge Ramos is the Associate Director of Environmental Education at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.