About the ESA

The Cheeseman Environmental Study Area is located next to the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies on the southeast corner of campus. It's a lush natural garden and a living classroom, containing some 400 species of plants representing 12 California natural communities. In addition to the native plant communities, there is a xeric native plant display at the entrance.

Video Tour: Cheeseman ESA

See more of our campus video tour on the Video Tour webpage.

California's Biological Richness

California is a naturalist's paradise. Our state has hundreds of habitat types and plant communities, with more than 5,000 species of native plants. You can experience many of these special wonders with a walk through our 1.5 acre garden.

At least a third of California's native species are found naturally nowhere else on Earth. California's plants support nearly 1,000 vertebrate animals-fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Among animals as a whole, including insects and other invertebrates, at least 50 percent of the species and subspecies are found only within our state. In short, we are very fortunate to live in such a biologically vibrant place!

Cheeseman ESA Facts

  • 1.5 acres
  • Over 400 species of native plants
  • Visited by several thousand students and community members per year
  • Free tours for school and community groups led by our skilled docents
  • Xeric plant display

12 Native Plant Communities

  • Freshwater marsh and pond
  • Coastal sand dunes
  • Coastal redwoods
  • Foothill woodland
  • Grassland
  • Conifers
  • Channel Islands
  • California desert
  • Coastal sage scrub
  • Chaparral
  • Riparian
  • Xeric display

Experience the ESA!

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Visit the ESA

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Cheeseman Environmental Study Area

Diana Martinez,
Cheeseman ESA Coordinator



Summer Hours

  • Monday - Thursday:
    9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Friday:
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