Physical Geography Field Project

For your Field Project you are to participate in a structured introduction to a natural environment. By �structured introduction�, I mean a guided nature walk or field experience offered through a state, county or city park or nature center. Several private non-profit organizations such as the Audobon Society and the Sierra Club also sponsor field trips and other nature experiences that would be acceptable. Attached is a brief list of field observation sites. You should select one of these for your study site. I will be happy to consider any others that you might propose, but obtain my approval prior to your participation 
The specific objectives of this assignment are: 1.) to introduce you to field study and field observation techniques; 2.) to acquaint you with a natural environment in the Los Angeles area; 3) to show you first hand how the interactions of natural processes produce different natural landscapes; and 4.) to help you appreciate how human activity has modified, endangered and now preserves these natural environments. 
During your participation in structured introduction you are to take detailed field notes. Carefully observe the distinct natural characteristics of the site. Note it�s topography and geology, its weather and its biogeography. How do these features relate to what we have discussed in class? You will be accompanying some knowledgeable authority, so don�t hesitate to ask questions. When observing features of the local landscape, distinguish between what is artificial and what is natural, between what is exotic and what is indigenous. You may need to make more than one visit. Take note of your personal impressions of this environment. Consider too the local history. There is virtually no place left in southern California that does not bear the mark of some human interaction. What did Native Americans and early pioneers see? How did they relate to this site? Legends and myths tied to a specific place can tell you much about the special qualities of a place that the earliest observers perceived. 
Your task is to prepare a geographic sketch of your study area. This report will be different from other papers you may have done. You are telling the story of a particular place emphasizing its natural features. This paper should be drawn from your personal observations and informed by appropriate references. Include a map of the locality showing the important featured discussed in your paper. Your final paper must be at least 4 typewritten pages (12 point font and double spaced with normal margins). Attach copies of any literature and handouts that are provided. Late submissions will be subject to the course late policy. 
Guidelines for your field project 
This project will present some new challenges for you. The focus of your paper is not a person, or an event or an issue. The principle character is a place. Here are some recommendations on how you might proceed. Do not depend on your recollections. Be sure to bring along a notebook in which to record your observations while in the field. Your field notes should include detailed observations of the site, as well as your reactions to it. It should also include sketches, maps and diagrams. These notes will help you write your paper. Taking pictures to include in your paper is also useful to illustrate what you are discussing. At each site, there will be abundant information as well as knowledgeable experts to answer your questions. The specific topics that you want to consider include: 
Location: Where exactly is this site. Describe the location so that someone else would be able to find it. 
Setting: Before entering the area, take a look around. Describe the landscape in which this site is situated. 
Weather: Describe the weather on the day of your visit. Then consult a weather website such aswww.wunderground.com to place this weather in the context of the conditions prevailing that day. How does it tie in with the general weather patterns for the region and for the season? (Chapters 5,6,7) 
Climate: What is the climate of the region where the study site is situated? What is the microclimate of the study site? How do local conditions differ from the general characteristics for this climate type? (Chapter 8) 
Plant Communities: Identify the principle plant communities to be found at your site. Describe the distinguishing characteristics of each community and the dominate plant species of each. What exotic(nonnative) plant species are present and what effect do these plants have on the native communities? (Chapter 11) 
Soils: Observe the soil of your study site. Pick some up in your hands. What can you tell us about its color and texture? Do soil conditions change as you walk through the site? How? (Chapter 12) 
Wildlife: What wildlife still resides in your study area? Are there any endangered species present? What has been their impact on the natural ecology of the site? How has this ecosystem changed from what it was 100 years ago? (Chapter 11) 
Terrain: Describe the specific terrain of your site. What landforms are present? What tectonic (Chapter 14) and gradational processes (Chapter 15, and 16, 18, 19 or 20) appear to be responsible for shaping the landscape? What material evidence can you find for these processes? 
Local History: There is really no natural environment left in southern California that has not been touched somehow by human activity. What significant cultural and/or historic artifacts are present? A brief inquiry into the history of the locality will help you understand how this site came to be as you see it today. Myths and legends attached to a particular place can also reveal what earlier visitors saw in this place and the value the attached to it. 
Site Map: An essential component of this assignment is a sketch map of the local landscape. At some point in your walk find a site that shows the relationship between plants and landforms. The exact size and scope of each site will vary, but can range from 50 to several hundred square yards. The map should show principal landforms, the patterns of vegetation, and location of any animal life if any. This sketch map should be neat, clean and clearly identify what is being represented. Your map should be on a 8 � x 11 sheet of paper. 

Field Observation Sites I want you to do my project on this one Madrona Marsh Preserve � 3201 Plaza Del Amo, Torrance. (310) 782-3989 or (310) 32-MARSH. www.tprd.torrent.com/marsh.htm. Madrona Marsh is one of the last remnants of the extensive fresh water marsh system that covered much of the South Bay coastal plain. Now it is in the retail heart of Torrance, next to the Del Amo Fashion Center, one of the largest shopping malls on the continent. The preserve is open daily. On the fourth weekend of every month there is a guided nature walk at 9am on Saturday and 10am on Sunday. From Hawthorne Blvd. in Torrance turn east on Sepulveda Blvd. Turn north on Maple Ave and then left on Plaza Del Amo. From Hawthorne Blvd, the marsh is two blocks east behind the Target store.For your Field Project you are to participate in a structured introduction to a natural environment. By �structured introduction�, I mean a guided nature walk or field experience offered through a state, county or city park or nature center. Several private non-profit organizations such as the Audobon Society and the Sierra Club also sponsor field trips and other nature experiences that would be acceptable. Attached is a brief list of field observation sites. You should select one of these for your study site. I will be happy to consider any others that you might propose, but obtain my approval prior to your participation 
The specific objectives of this assignment are: 1.) to introduce you to field study and field observation techniques; 2.) to acquaint you with a natural environment in the Los Angeles area; 3) to show you first hand how the interactions of natural processes produce different natural landscapes; and 4.) to help you appreciate how human activity has modified, endangered and now preserves these natural environments. 
During your participation in structured introduction you are to take detailed field notes. Carefully observe the distinct natural characteristics of the site. Note it�s topography and geology, its weather and its biogeography. How do these features relate to what we have discussed in class? You will be accompanying some knowledgeable authority, so don�t hesitate to ask questions. When observing features of the local landscape, distinguish between what is artificial and what is natural, between what is exotic and what is indigenous. You may need to make more than one visit. Take note of your personal impressions of this environment. Consider too the local history. There is virtually no place left in southern California that does not bear the mark of some human interaction. What did Native Americans and early pioneers see? How did they relate to this site? Legends and myths tied to a specific place can tell you much about the special qualities of a place that the earliest observers perceived. 
Your task is to prepare a geographic sketch of your study area. This report will be different from other papers you may have done. You are telling the story of a particular place emphasizing its natural features. This paper should be drawn from your personal observations and informed by appropriate references. Include a map of the locality showing the important featured discussed in your paper. Your final paper must be at least 4 typewritten pages (12 point font and double spaced with normal margins). Attach copies of any literature and handouts that are provided. Late submissions will be subject to the course late policy. 
Guidelines for your field project 
This project will present some new challenges for you. The focus of your paper is not a person, or an event or an issue. The principle character is a place. Here are some recommendations on how you might proceed. Do not depend on your recollections. Be sure to bring along a notebook in which to record your observations while in the field. Your field notes should include detailed observations of the site, as well as your reactions to it. It should also include sketches, maps and diagrams. These notes will help you write your paper. Taking pictures to include in your paper is also useful to illustrate what you are discussing. At each site, there will be abundant information as well as knowledgeable experts to answer your questions. The specific topics that you want to consider include: 
Location: Where exactly is this site. Describe the location so that someone else would be able to find it. 
Setting: Before entering the area, take a look around. Describe the landscape in which this site is situated. 
Weather: Describe the weather on the day of your visit. Then consult a weather website such aswww.wunderground.com to place this weather in the context of the conditions prevailing that day. How does it tie in with the general weather patterns for the region and for the season? (Chapters 5,6,7) 
Climate: What is the climate of the region where the study site is situated? What is the microclimate of the study site? How do local conditions differ from the general characteristics for this climate type? (Chapter 8) 
Plant Communities: Identify the principle plant communities to be found at your site. Describe the distinguishing characteristics of each community and the dominate plant species of each. What exotic(nonnative) plant species are present and what effect do these plants have on the native communities? (Chapter 11) 
Soils: Observe the soil of your study site. Pick some up in your hands. What can you tell us about its color and texture? Do soil conditions change as you walk through the site? How? (Chapter 12) 
Wildlife: What wildlife still resides in your study area? Are there any endangered species present? What has been their impact on the natural ecology of the site? How has this ecosystem changed from what it was 100 years ago? (Chapter 11) 
Terrain: Describe the specific terrain of your site. What landforms are present? What tectonic (Chapter 14) and gradational processes (Chapter 15, and 16, 18, 19 or 20) appear to be responsible for shaping the landscape? What material evidence can you find for these processes? 
Local History: There is really no natural environment left in southern California that has not been touched somehow by human activity. What significant cultural and/or historic artifacts are present? A brief inquiry into the history of the locality will help you understand how this site came to be as you see it today. Myths and legends attached to a particular place can also reveal what earlier visitors saw in this place and the value the attached to it. 
Site Map: An essential component of this assignment is a sketch map of the local landscape. At some point in your walk find a site that shows the relationship between plants and landforms. The exact size and scope of each site will vary, but can range from 50 to several hundred square yards. The map should show principal landforms, the patterns of vegetation, and location of any animal life if any. This sketch map should be neat, clean and clearly identify what is being represented. Your map should be on a 8 � x 11 sheet of paper. 

Field Observation Sites I want you to do my project on this one Madrona Marsh Preserve � 3201 Plaza Del Amo, Torrance. (310) 782-3989 or (310) 32-MARSH. www.tprd.torrent.com/marsh.htm. Madrona Marsh is one of the last remnants of the extensive fresh water marsh system that covered much of the South Bay coastal plain. Now it is in the retail heart of Torrance, next to the Del Amo Fashion Center, one of the largest shopping malls on the continent. The preserve is open daily. On the fourth weekend of every month there is a guided nature walk at 9am on Saturday and 10am on Sunday. From Hawthorne Blvd. in Torrance turn east on Sepulveda Blvd. Turn north on Maple Ave and then left on Plaza Del Amo. From Hawthorne Blvd, the marsh is two blocks east behind the Target store.

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