Claremont Insider: Field Notes

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Field Notes

The Robert J. Bernard Field Station (BFS) hasn't received much attention of late. The land is located on Foothill Blvd. in Claremont just between Mills Ave. on the east and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens on the west.

The BFS website gives the following description of the Field Station:

The Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station, an academic resource of Claremont University Consortium provided to The Claremont Colleges, is located within the Claremont Colleges Campus in Claremont, CA. It consists of 86 acres of primarily coastal sage scrub, Riversidian alluvial fan scrub, live oak forest, and grassland. In addition, an artificial lake with surrounding riparian woodland and several created vernal pools add to habitat diversity.


To provide facilities and ecological communities for high-quality teaching and research experiences in the biological, environmental, and other sciences, to the students, faculty, and staff of the Claremont Colleges.

The Claremont University Consortium (CUC) owns the land and had planned on locating the Keck Graduate Institute there back in 1997. The Keck plan was submitted to the City of Claremont as part of CUC's North Campus Master Plan. The city approved an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the plan, and the plan was challenged in court by the Friends of the Bernard Biological Field Station (FBBFS).

A group called the Coalition to Preserve Claremont's Character also circulated a ballot referendum petition gathered enough signatures to put the Field Station issue to a public vote.

FBBFS and the CUC reached an out of court settlement in which the CUC agreed to preserve 45 acres of the area for 50 years. However, a little over 11 acres on the western edge of the Field Station can still be developed.

The issue has been quiet for a number of years now, but today's Daily Bulletin featured a letter from a Phyllis Chamberlain who doesn't like the current BFS use at all. Chamberlain's letter could indicate the issue isn't so dead as it has seemed.