The Robert J. Bernard Field Station

Students in a canoe at BFSThe Bernard Field Station (BFS) is one of the most unusual and valuable resources of the Claremont Colleges. An 85-acre area of natural habitat directly across the street from Harvey Mudd College, it functions as an outdoor laboratory for teaching and research. Very few colleges have a field station within easy walking distance of their campus.

The BFS provides food and shelter for over 170 species of birds, 250 species of higher plants, 27 species of mammals, 17 species of reptiles and amphibians, over 700 species of insects, and at least 40 species of lichens. Students and faculty regularly add new species to the lists. One lichen discovered in 2009, Lecanora munzii, was not just new to the BFS but was completely new to science, and the BFS is its type location.

Bee pollinating a flowerThe Bernard Field Station is an important resource for the 5-C Environmental Analysis Program. One of the required core courses, Science and the Environment (EAP30), includes visits to the BFS. EA students on the Environmental Science tracks have particularly extensive contact with the BFS through Intro Biology courses and others. Students design and carry out experiments centered around the coastal sage scrub and riparian ecosystems there as part of the curriculum.