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Cabrillo Extension Classes
History and Nature


Backyard Astronomer


Learn how to identify the stars and constellations seen in our local skies in this fun hands-on workshop. Using the Cabrillo planetarium and observatory you will see the wonders of the universe and learn about astronomy history, methods, equipment, and recent discoveries. Get a sense of distances to planets, stars and galaxies. Learn about Black holes, dark matter and the expanding universe.

Participants should dress warmly for outdoor observation at the observatory. In case of rain or fog, class will assemble in the planetarium.

This class is appropriate for students aged 8 to adult.

2 Fri., July 11 & 18
6:30 - 9:30 pm
Room 707

Register by June 9: $58
Register after June 9: $65


register online


Karl von Ahnen has been an amateur astronomer and telescope user since age 12. He served as lab instructor-assistant in the Cabrillo Astronomy Department for many years, and is the Director of the Fujitsu Planetarium at De Anza College, one of the largest school planetariums in the country.


Beachcombing for History at Monastery Beach in Monterey County

You’ve probably driven along Highway 1 past Monastery Beach a gazillion times. Usually in a hurry. gotta get somewhere; see somebody. Well, it’s time you stopped and heard the voices. There was a Rumsien village there. In 1769 and again in 1770, the Portolá Expedition camped there longer than anywhere else in California. Yet, you’ll find no mention of it. No monuments. No plaques.

Some of the history is obvious, and some of it requires assistance. We’ll bring it to life and forever change the way you see this remarkable beach. A shipwreck, the arrival of a Scottish-American architect, and the arrival of the Carmelite nuns – we’ll touch on it all, including why it now has the nickname “Mortuary Beach.”

Students will receive a detailed map and informational letter from the instructor upon registration.

Meeting Place: At the south end of the beach. Plenty of free parking. Bring a lunch and we’ll begin with some talk-story while we picnic on the beach before we begin exploring.

Distance walking during the day: 3 miles, and some of it will be in soft, uneven sand.

Due to the complexity of the material, this course is not recommended for children under eighteen years of age.


12 Noon - 5 pm
Monastery Beach
- see above
Fee: $74


register online

Sandy Lydon- see bio below


Point Lobos: The Creation of a Unique California Culture

While the sparks of contention and conflict often flared elsewhere in California, Point Lobos was a place of collaboration and cooperation. What was it that nurtured and encouraged these feelings of acceptance? Did the place attract a special kind of people or did it transform those who came to live there?
This course will be an afternoon exploration where you’ll learn to hear the multitude of human voices that echo across that powerful landscape: Rumsien, Catalan, Majorquin, Cantonese, Azorean, Spanish, English, Japanese and German were all spoken at Point Lobos.

Historian Sandy Lydon has been researching, writing and pondering Point Lobos and Carmel Bay for over thirty years, and will bring some of his latest discoveries and ideas with us on a moderate afternoon’s hike. A perfect way to spend Father’s Day afternoon!

Students will receive a detailed map and informational letter from the instructor upon registration. Approximate hiking distance will be four miles.

Due to the complexity of the material, this course is not recommended for children under eighteen years of age.

Meeting Place: Whaler’s Cove Parking Lot, Point Lobos. Participants are responsible for their own automobile entrance fee of $10 per car. We encourage carpooling (carefully!) along Highway 1 outside Point Lobos State Reserve as parking in the reserve is usually limited on weekends.

Sun., June 15

1 - 5 pm
Point Lobos
- see above
Fee: $64


register online

Sandy Lydon, is a Historian Emeritus from Cabrillo College.


At the Epicenter! The Loma Prieta Earthquake - 25 Years Later...


Fri. & Sat., October 17 & 18, 2014

We Still Can’t Predict Earthquakes, but We CAN predict a special 25 years-later commemoration of The Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Program will be held on the Cabrillo College campus and at the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

Events will include a special expedition to the epicenter, an all-encompassing, dynamic lecture by Gary Griggs and Sandy Lydon, and workshops and seminars devoted to answering the questions:

  • What have we learned?
  • What have we done?
  • What can we do?

CLICK HERE to get on our interest list and be among the first to be notified of registration information.


Big Cats of California, Past and Present

Big cats always capture our attention! California has hosted several big cat species, including our contemporary Mountain Lion or Cougar, and in an earlier time a much larger American Lion, several species of scimitar-toothed cats, and saber-toothed tigers.

Only two centuries ago Jaguars prowled the Los Angeles Basin! Our program features an in-depth review of the biology of today’s Mountain lion, as well as known details of the other big cats that prowled and hunted our State in the past.

Sat., June 28

10 am - 1 pm
Room: 403

Register by June 9: $25
Register after June 9: $28


register online

Bruce Elliott - see bio below


Summer Seabirds

Certainly the most exciting and satisfying viewing of Pacific Coastal Marine Birds in the United States is along the autumn environs of Monterey Bay. Without us leaving the dock, this program will take you on tour through the avifauna of California’s central coast, introducing participants to such seasonal visitors as albatross, storm-petrel, puffins, and all their allied species.

The program will serve as a strong preparation for one of the commercial birding trips on boats out of Monterey during the prime seabird viewing season in late summer and autumn, details of which will be provided.


6:30 - 9 pm
Room: 403

Register by June 9: $25
Register after June 9: $28

Bruce Elliott - see bio below


Summer Shore Birds of Elkhorn Slough

Mid-summer in Central California marks the return of northern tundra-nesting water-associated birds, especially shorebirds on their southbound migration to winter area south of Old Mexico. Pausing here to ‘re-fuel’ body fat from the rich invertebrate animal life of the Elkhorn Slough tidelands provides in an opportunity to enjoy views of, and discuss the biology of the spectrum of transient species on the tidal mud flats. The ability of the birds to navigate through the challenges of navigation will be reviewed.

All walking is on graded track.

Bring a sack lunch, beverage, and binoculars.

Click here for additional information about Summer Shore Bird

Sat., August 16th NEW DATE!

6:30 - 9 pm
Room: 403

Register by June 9: $64
Register after June 9: $72


register online


Bruce Elliott - is a retired senior Biologist Supervisor for the California Dept. of Fish and Game. He is a skilled field trip leader who conducts a variety of tours and explorations of the area's natural resources.




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