Academic Senate Recommendation for Golf Course Development

First Reading: October 19, 2010
Second Reading: November 2, 2010
Third Reading: November 16, 2010
Fourth Reading: December 7, 2010

Mover: Jen McMillen
Seconder: Bea Lawn

The Academic Senate recommends that Gavilan College use the golf course property to model social and environmental innovation in the following areas:

Support Faculty Projects of Immediate Interest to Existing Classes:

Golf (every semester): Continue to use four western holes, driving range and possibly putting green for golf classes.

Botany (Spring semester)/Horticulture (possibly Fall 2011): Use a portion of the current golf course or some of the unused land surrounding it for plant propagation, plant identification, plant pathology, and integrated pest management, turf management using sustainable techniques. Determine original regional flora, propagate and replant using native plant species. Develop various demonstration gardens, using native plants that would emphasize certain uses: medicinal plants used by native peoples, plants used by native bees and other pollinators, food plants used by native peoples, for example.

Zoology (Fall semester)/Ecology (every semester): effects of native versus exotic plant species on insect, bird, mammals and other animal species; effects of water runoff on water quality. Conduct field studies of wildlife presence on the golf course, using surveillance cameras.

Geology (every semester): Lab work using golf course in three areas: development of topographic profiles and geological mapping of soils, rocks, and structural features such as faults; mapping of local watershed and surface and subsurface drainage patterns; labs to determine how soil and rock types effect erosion and potential landslides.

Physical Geography (every semester): labs using golf course to look at and map geographical/ topographical features.

Meteorology (every semester): with the addition of simple weather station equipment, meteorology class could use the site to teach students how to read and use remote sensing meteorological data.

CD: Outdoor Classroom CD 18 (Spring 2011): use the area for development of nature study lessons.

Art: Sculpture (every semester) class could work on designing, modeling (and possibly building), site-specific sculptures. Drawing (every semester) classes could use the site for plein-air work.

English: English 250 (every semester) and English 1A (every semester) classes could do Write-o-ramas (group writing projects with specific prompts) at the site. Almost any writing assignment can be tailored to outdoor teaching opportunities. One English 1A professor proposes a section called: "A Study of Place" utilizing an outdoor meeting area throughout the semester to better connect student ideas/readings/writing with the natural environment.

California History: (taught in fall) classes could use the golf course as a project teaching local historical research skills.

Environmental Studies (to come) core classes could use the golf course as a lab in the study of natural and human-created eco-systems, restoration biology, land use policy, sustainable land use, and related principles. Among the classes likely to be developed are Environmental Policy, Environmental Sociology, Natural History.

Support Liberal Arts and Sciences Environmental Studies Program Development over the next 3-5 years

1. Environmental Studies Working Group develop an Environmental Studies Program both unique and appropriate to the Gavilan area, including Career Technical programs articulated to an AA/AS degree.
2. Environmental Studies Working Group should develop comprehensive plan to guide the overall vision of an Environmental Studies program, including program philosophy, mission, objectives, goals, articulation. The groups should 1) seek faculty reassignments and grant funding to support program development based upon a survey of best practices in Environmental Studies, and cutting edge Environmental Studies programs; 2) pilot Career-Technical programs through the college’s Community Education program to gauge community interest; and 3) work closely with community advisors and advisory boards for all Career-Technical program development 4) create ladder articulation of Career-Technical certificates to AA/AS degree.
3. Environmental Studies Working Group should partner with the District to explore land use and facilities needs, proposals, and maps, and should develop a coordinated plan for the golf course before substantively altering its current configuration and/or utilization.

Support Career-Technical Program Development over the next 3-5 years

1. Environmental Restoration, Sustainable Landscaping certificate/s – Develop a lab for students doing work in this field. Build an inexpensive greenhouse on the property for plant propagation and nursery work. Seek partners such as the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority or the non-profit Acterra to institutionalize nursery.
2. Soil Science, Geology, Erosion Management certificate/s – Develop a lab for students doing work in this field; create field station for rental to other educational institutions wishing to do local geological work in our highly unusual and appealing area.
3. Water Distribution, Water Quality, and Wastewater Management certificates – Develop area for practice in sampling procedures and processes and for experimental mitigation techniques such as mass plantings.
4. Organic and Sustainable Horticulture, Viticulture, Agriculture, and/or Brewery certificates – Develop labs for students in these programs. The slopes could be used for wine grapes. Various demonstration gardens could be planted, maintained, and harvested by students.
5. Explore other certificate programs.

Support Long-Term Development of the golf course site south of campus over next 5-15 years

1. Use grant supported reassigned time to begin planning process for Environmental Research Center.
2. Seek grants for planning and design work.
3. Build a sustainably constructed facility to house Environmental Studies programs, including a geological lab that could be available on a partnership basis to other academic institutions and gardens such those mentioned above under Botany/Horticulture, as well as a “sense garden” for people with visual and/or hearing impairment, hedge-row demonstration plantings for sustainable crops, garden space for local K-12 sustainability projects, etc.