OSHR 1877 - Fern in the Granite: The Connection between Geology and Botany

  • Noncredit

This course is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Colorado State University. You must be a member of Osher to enroll in this course.

Geology represents the physical world, and botany represents the plant world. Because landscapes of the physical world differ place to place, lifescapes upon those landscapes also differ. Plants may thrive or vanish according to attributes such as rock type, soil chemistry, elevation, slope exposure, water retention, and other geology-based factors. Such details explain both Colorado’s mosaic of vegetation types and why one Colorado fern only grows in granite and one mustard grows best in shale.

With two classroom sessions and one all-day field trip, this class will explain how geology and botany integrate to form the Colorado we recognize today.

Please Note: Tuesday, October 24th field trip is scheduled from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm and includes chartered bus transportation.

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.


Kevin J. Cook

Kevin J. Cook is a naturalist who has explored the expanse of Colorado and engaged the full diversity of its wildlife since 1974. Through writing, speaking, and teaching he shares his passion for life with other people, always emphasizing the themes of diversity, connectedness, and geography.

Frank Ethridge


Frank G. Ethridge, professor emeritus of geology at Colorado State University, worked as a geologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Texas Highway Commission, and Chevron Oil Co. Frank has conducted courses and led field trips for geological societies and petroleum companies. He taught geology at Southern Illinois University and Colorado State University for a total of 35 years.