Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BFS Teach-In March 3, 2-4pm

The Students For the Bernard Field Station will be hosting a Teach-In on the Harvey Mudd Campus in front of Kingston Hall on Tuesday March 3, at 2pm.

The Teach-In will be a great way to get informed about what's going on at the BFS, the larger values behind the Field Station, and what can be done to see real change in the planning process.

We've got several professors and community members lined up to facilitate discussion-workshops, as well as a unique opportunity to get up to the Field Station and find out what it's really about.

Be there!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Future Access to the HMC Owned West Parcel

The Student Life, published out of Pomona College and most likely the 5C's most read student newspaper, printed an article on the BFS last Friday, 2/13/09 in what could be called Column One.

The article is rather short and a bit muddled, but this kind of reporting figures; most information on the BFS is gathered through second, third and even fourth hand sources, and decisions are regularly made without even the input of the people officially entrusted with doing so. Such is the life of the consortium, a highly political and multi-layered setting; one can only imagine what goes on at massive public institutions.

Below I've tried to lay out essentialy what the Stud Life article was about. But I hope that readers of this blog maintain a knack for puzzling pieces together, tying up loose ends, and expecting closed doors as you join us in the fight to bring our positive vibrations into an environment empty of any such positivity.

What the article is getting at is an email sent out by CUC CEO Bob Walton around Feb 6th. In the email Walton writes that an agreement was made between CUC, representing all students, faculty, and other members of the colleges, and Harvey Mudd. The agreement, known as a lease, allows continued use of the formly KGI owned/recently purchased HMC portion of the BFS (not to be confused with the other two portions north of Foothill Blvd) until May 2009.

Presumably this means that after May, members of the Colleges not approved by Harvey Mudd (or maybe nobody, if Mudd chooses to stop all access) will be unable to use the western portion of the BFS. Nothing especially shocking, as we've heard plans of a May 2010 groundbreaking on the parking lot, and a year timeline makes sense for getting the plans together.


Today the CUC, after consultation with the Council, signed a lease to continue to provide access to the HMC land north of foothill and adjacent to the Bernard Field Station [as defined by the agreement with the Friends of the BFS] effective immediately and extending until the end of May 2009. At that time the lease and authorized access by faculty and students by means of the CUC lease with HMC ends. Please notify your faculty and students to these arrangements so as to enable continued support for their current use of this property for the remainder of this academic year, at least through the end of May 2009.

There will undoubtedly be some new discussions at both the Council and the CUC Board of Overseers about the future access to this land, but I believe it is extremely important to notify faculty and students that no guarantees for continued access can be provided, and that the discussions and due diligence is unlikely to be completed prior to the end of the lease at the end of May.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Cheers. Bob

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Save the Bernard Field Station

The Students for the Bernard Field Station is a nonviolent group of students at the Claremont Colleges fighting for the preservation in perpetuity of the entire Field Station and opposing any plans to develop this land. We are unequivocally opposed to the plan to relocate the Keck Graduate Institute to the Bernard Field Station. We believe that the BFS struggle is a micro-level analogy for extensive widespread degradation of the environment throughout the United States and the world. We are determined to stop the destruction of a natural habitat by what we deem to be extraneous development.

This blog is meant to keep you up-to-date with what’s happening with the BFS right now.

Here is a short synopsis of its most recent history:

The BFS is an endangered Coastal Sage Scrub habitat just north of Harvey Mudd College. It is used for projects in biology, environmental science, and other academic pursuits by the students and faculty of the Claremont Colleges. In the Fall of 2008, the western 11.4 acres of it were ultimately sold to HMC, and HMC owns it as of January 6, 2009. HMC plans to build a parking lot on this land to accommodate the specifications imposed by the city of Claremont. While HMC says it will be a “green” parking lot, we must stress that there is not such thing as a green parking lot.

The land at the BFS offers unique opportunities to improve the education of all the Claremont Colleges. The BFS is safe and accessible, and it contains undisturbed habitats that provide an authentic field biology experience that cannot be easily accomplished anywhere else. It would be far better, both for the sustainability of its ecology and for its ecological educational value, if the BFS were to remain intact. The idea of paving some of it for a parking lot seems particularly appalling when parking lots can clearly be built underground or as elevated structures elsewhere on campus.

The last time the Claremont Colleges decided to build on this land, more than 100 students protested. On March 26, 2001, students barricaded the entrance to Pendleton Business Building (, The 2001 protests and a lawsuit by the Friends of the Bernard Field Station led to a settlement that preserves 45 acres of the field station until the year 2051, on the contingency that there is no opposition when the colleges decide to build on the other 41 acres. With the motto “Expect Resistance,” it seems unlikely that the Students for the Bernard Field Station will just sit by and let the habitat at the BFS be paved. Anyone who cares about the environment, sustainability, and social justice would agree that you cannot be passive about this.

The land at the BFS, which is an invaluable resource to the students and faculty of the Claremont Colleges as well as the wider community, is truly worth protecting in the name of education and sustainability.

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