Walking Waterhoods: Strawberry Creek — UC Berkeley Campus, South Fork

Walking Waterhoods: Strawberry Creek — UC Berkeley Campus, South Fork

Berkeley, California 94703, United States

Created By: Wholly H2O

Tour Information

Enjoy this tour of Strawberry Creek as it winds its way through UC Berkeley's main campus.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

What is this mysterious tunnel, and where does it lead? Tunnels like this are called culverts and divert running water under- or above-ground. Some culverts are as simple as an aluminum pipe, while others are miles long stone waterways. Cul... Read more
The lilac tasselflower (Emilia sonchifolia) is an annual herb that is not native to California. It is believed to be from China or South-East Asia. The lilac tasselflower has high seed production, and spreads widely due to wind dispersal. T... Read more
Areas of natural beauty such as these can feel so effortless. A number of native species are growing together around the creek. The Grinnel Natural Area Native Biodiversity Restoration project, started in 2008, has removed invasive species ... Read more
You are currently on the Grinnell Pathway. Like a number of things on campus, this strip of land is named after the late Joesph Grinnell. Grinnell was a professor at UC Berkeley and the school’s first director of the Museum of Vertebrate ... Read more
Aptly named, the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) does in fact have three spines that stick out of its back. The fish uses their spines for protection against predators such as birds and other fish. Three-spined stickleback... Read more
Strawberry Creek is both the reason UC Berkeley stands here today and the reason it almost shut down. UC Berkeley began as the College of California, and was located in Oakland. It moved to Berkeley following an extensive search for a land ... Read more
Both a city and a country dwelling bird, house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) are native to Western North America. The house finch's natural habitat consists of desert-grassland regions, such as the chaparral biome, where they use twigs and... Read more
Meet the hooded oriole (Icterus cucullatus). This bright yellow bird should be pretty easy to spot as it flies and nests in the high canopy of riparian woodlands from March to mid-September. They also have been known to enjoy a roost in the... Read more
It’s raining, it’s pouring; asphalt creates scoring, but not right here; it’s rather clear, rain gardens keep water absorbing! Often, asphalt paths like these have deep ditches on either side, from where rain runs beside the path afte... Read more
Strawberry Creek has long served as a resource for UC Berkeley students learning about everything from biodiversity to hydrology to environmental policy. In order to give back, UC Berkeley students in 2011 designed a DeCal course called "Re... Read more
Rock step pools, like the two check dams that they replaced, dissipate the energy flow of the water as they are graded. However rock pools create more habitat in addition to erosion control. UC Berkeley students, funded through UC's The Gre... Read more
The death cap (Amanita phalloides) looks like any other mushroom to the naked eye, but be very cautious -- it is one of two poisonous, potentially deadly, mushrooms observed on the UC Berkeley campus. It contains amatoxins -- a type of pois... Read more
The beautiful creek you see today is the culmination of years of restoration efforts, starting with Robert Charbonneau’s work through the Environment Health and Safety Office in 1985. Charbonneau collected data about the creek’s geology... Read more
As you will learn in other points on this tour, Strawberry Creek has been put through the wringer on numerous occasions. At various points in its history, it has been turned into an open sewer, forced underground, filled in to make way for ... Read more
The yellow stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus) is a mushroom with a unique ability: it quickly turns yellow and produces a noticeable odor when touched, bruised or scratched. The yellow stainer mushroom is a decomposer, meaning its ecological r... Read more
The blue-green sharpshooter (Graphocephala atropunctata) is an insect native to California. It can be distinguished by its bright green-blue wings and its yellow underside. This species grows to be nearly 0.4 inches long and can be found in... Read more
One of the most easily identifiable insects in Strawberry Creek is the water strider (Aquarius remigis). Find a still pool of water in the creek and you are likely to find a water strider there, gliding along the surface. Water tension comb... Read more
“…the snowmelt will have trickled into Dead Man’s Creek and the / creek spilled into the Stanislaus and the Stanislaus into the San Joaquin / and the San Joaquin into the slow salt marshes of the bay.” – Spring Rain, Robert Hass 1... Read more
Despite its name, the lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) is neither a lily nor of the Nile — it's from South Africa. The Dutch found them and brought them back to the Netherlands where they quickly became popular in public and privat... Read more
Arboreal salamanders (Aneides lugubris) are native to California woodlands and forests, though San Francisco Bay Area residents have been known to find them lurking under garbage cans in their own backyards! These salamanders have large, th... Read more
Log weirs create scour pools that spread the energy of Strawberry Creek’s flow, maintaining the stability of its channels. In the event that upstream log structures fail, log weirs will act as a safeguard. Aysha Massel, a UC Berkeley alum... Read more
Check dams are one of the most ancient infrastructure technologies, with archaeological evidence dating back to the second century. The basic function of a check dam is to ‘check’ stream velocity and reduce erosion by channelizing the w... Read more
If you've ever looked up at a neoclassical column on a building, you might see acanthus leaves carved at the top. Also known as bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis) these plants grow long, winding stems and prickly leaves that unfurl in the ... Read more
Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara) is a large evergreen conifer that reaches a height of 131-164 feet, close to the height of an eight or nine-story building. It has a conical crown with horizontal, drooping branches. If you could look down from... Read more
If you pause for a moment on the small lawn of the Berkeley Center, you might notice a seven-spotted lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) searching for aphids. Not to be confused with other lady beetles, the seven-spotted lady beetle has... Read more
Little robin (Geranium purpureum) is a nonnative, invasive herb located in grassland and woodland regions in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as coastal ranges throughout California. It has not been reported elsewhere in the United State... Read more
With shiny, thick leaves and lavender flowers, big periwinkle (Vinca major) is a beautiful plant. But don't let that fool you- it's an invasive species in California. First introduced for ornamental and medicinal purposes, big periwinkle es... Read more
Despite its grisly look, this tree is one of the most common street trees in the world, as it tolerates pollution and urban conditions quite well. A signature element of the UC Berkeley campus along Sproul Plaza or towards the Campanile, th... Read more
Meet the guardian of Strawberry Creek: The Last Dryad. This whimsical sculpture portrays a dryad, a woodland nymph traditionally bound to watch over a specific tree or wooded area. Our dryad keeps a watchful eye over the Strawberry Creek's ... Read more
A love story for the ages started atop UC Berkeley's Campanile in 2016, when two peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), Annie and Grinnell (named after naturalist Annie Montague Alexander and zoologist Joseph Grinnell, respectively) establis... Read more
As you walk along the creek, your eye catches a vivid flash of blue. You've probably spotted a vivid dancer (Argia vivida), a type of damselfly found all over California. It is common to see it in urban settings, so is comfortable here on t... Read more
The orange bush monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus) is native to California and blooms from July to September. Its sticky leaves prevent the orange tube-like flower from drying out. Moths, larvae, and other insects consume the sweet nectar ... Read more
Is that stick moving? Wait, that's not a stick. That's an Indian walking stick (Carausius morosus)! Originally from India, this invasive species can be found all throughout California. They are nocturnal, so you're more likely to see them a... Read more
Retaining walls are vertical cemented walls built along the banks of Strawberry Creek where bank erosion and flooding pose a threat. They were first built soon after wide-spread destructive flooding in 1962, and the creek has rarely overflo... Read more
The western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus) is one of two species of skinks native to California. Skinks are born with a vibrant blue tail, which becomes duller as they mature. This tail is easily broken off, and wriggles around to distract... Read more
Did you know that people almost completely destroyed the San Francisco Bay? In the 1960s, there were few legal environmental protections in California, and most of the Bay’s shoreline was privately owned. Over 70% of the Bay was less than... Read more
The Monterey cypress (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa) is native to the central coast of California, most commonly found near Monterey and Carmel. Its natural habitat is characterized by sea fog and cool, humid summers. Its size varies from 59 fe... Read more
In the early 1990s, the main goal of the Strawberry Creek Restoration Project was to prevent storm drain pollution and garner public awareness of the connection between the storm drain system and the creeks and the bay. With permission from... Read more
Welcome to the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Initially founded in 1901 in San Francisco, the museum moved to Berkeley’s campus in 1931. The institution’s namesake was a global anthropologist, feminist, and suffragist who dona... Read more
Previously located in the Berkeley University Press Books building in 2018, Cafe Ohlone is the world's only Ohlone restaurant. The cafe is meant to create a space for representation connected to the Ohlone living culture and teach about Ohl... Read more
We’ve been saving this infrastructure for a rainy day. The Hearst Field Annex Buildings is home to the Rainwater Harvesting Program funded by the Green Initiative Fund in 2017. UC Berkeley currently underutilizes its nearly 24 annual inch... Read more
UC Berkeley has a long, complicated history of political activism. The first big protest was in 1949 against the school’s anti-communist oath requirement. It was the largest student protest in the country, and officials like UC Chancellor... Read more
Mario Savio spent the summer of 1964 working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to bring national attention to racial injustices and white terrorism in Mississippi in what came to be known as Freedom Summer. This project's m... Read more


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