I have recently realized when most people think of Berkeley, a few things typically come to mind: academics, political activism, and an urban environment. While these things are all true, what people don’t typically think of is nature. Now, it is true UC Berkeley is located in an urban environment; right off the south side of campus is downtown Berkeley. However, nature is also extremely prominent throughout campus and in the surrounding areas, and is personally one of my favorite things about Berkeley.
Throughout the campus itself, there are a lot of grassy areas for students to hang out on, study, or even take naps (all of which I have personally done). The campus is also scattered with beautiful trees. In certain parts of campus, I often forget that in just a five minute walk I can be in the middle of bustling downtown Berkeley. The campus is full of squirrels who love to interact with students. Sometimes while studying, I’ll look over and a squirrel will be sitting next to me, or one will occasionally be trying to steal some of my lunch. Either way, I have always found the squirrels adorable and I am always excited when I see one.
My freshman year, I lived in the Foothill dorms, which is located on the north side of campus. I think every dorm has its own atmosphere and the vibe of Foothill is definitely a cozy cabin. The buildings are covered in wooden shingles and are surrounded by tall trees and grass courtyards. As soon as I walked out of my room, I could see one of the courtyards, the Berkeley campus, and the bay in the distance. But my favorite part of the dorm was the wildlife. Every day I would see a group of wild turkeys eating in the courtyard or crossing the street towards campus. Some mornings I would wake up to the sound of turkeys calling to each other. At night deer replaced students sitting on Memorial Glade, and toward late afternoon I would see deer walking past my room.
Now that I’m in my second year at Cal, I have moved out of the dorms into my apartment, which is also located on the north side of campus. Every morning when I look out my living room windows I appreciate some form of nature, whether that is a deer eating and walking along the path, turkeys crossing by, or the two squirrels who live in the tree right next to my building looking for food. Sometimes, my roommates and I will look up to see a couple fawn right outside our window, and we will proceed to take a break from classes just to watch them for a few minutes. The deer are so prominent in our lives that even our WiFi is named after them, and there are permanent drawings of deer on the whiteboard in my living room.
Although Berkeley campus is located in an urban area, I really like to emphasize this does not mean there are no trees or no wildlife to be seen. Surrounding Berkeley, along with the city, are mountains full of hiking trails and a plethora of trees and wooded areas that house different animals that can be seen by students every day.