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Satwiwa Cultural Center (Rena Benor)


Satwiwa Native America Indian Cultural Center

Rena Benor,  Secondary Science Teacher

Location: Satwiwa – Rancho Sierra Vista, Thousand Oaks. Santa Monica National Recreational Area    Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center is located at Ranch Sierra Vista / Satwiwa in Newbury Park, California. From Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101) exit Lynn Road. Turn south on Lynn Road for 5.25 miles to Via Goleta. Park Entrance is on the left. Walk 0.3 mile up gravel road from the last parking area to the Culture Center..

GPS Coordinates for Entrance (Via Goleta & Lynn Road): N 34.1569 W -118.9733
GPS Coordinates for Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center: N  34.1504 W -118.9613

The National Park Service Visitor Center is located at 401 West Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, California. From Ventura Fwy (U. S. Highway 101) exit Lynn Road. Turn north on Lynn Road and turn east (right) onto Hillcrest Drive. Left onto McCloud Ave. First driveway on the right.

Click here for directions and a map to the site

Description:  Part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Park, it was home to the Chumash and Tongva/ Gabrielino  tribes. 

Dense chaparral and fragrant sages cover the canyon walls. Inland, lone valley oaks accentuate the grassy hillsides.

Born from the collision and sliding of the Earth's crustal plates, the mountains are home to some of the most unique and rare natural features and ecosystems in the United States.

Part of the Transverse Ranges that stretch from the Mojave Desert to the Channel Islands, these mountains are some 46 miles long and eight miles wide. Volcanic Sandstone Peak, at 3,111 feet above sea level is the highest point in the park! The Mediterranean ecosystem occurs only in five relatively small areas around the planet: the area bordering the Mediterranean Sea, central Chile, the Cape region of South Africa, southwestern and southern Australia, and, of course, southern California and northern Baja California. These areas are distributed between roughly 30 and 40 degrees latitude – north and south – and are located along the western edges of continents where the climate, characterized by mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers, is moderated by cold ocean currents offshore.

There are 12 communities derived from 26 vegetation associations identified by the California Natural Diversity Database classification system (Holland 1986). These include coastal salt marsh, coastal strand, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, coast live oak woodland, riparian woodland, valley oak savanna, freshwater ponds/lakes, rock outcrops, and suburban development.

Audience: A biology teacher or student would appreciate Satwiwa because it provides examples of chaparral , oak woodland, and riparian areas.  There are examples of mountain building (transverse ranges), subduction, uplifting, and rock cycles.

The Santa Monica National Recreation Area: people of all ages can learn about biology, ecology, history, geology, anthropology, and more..

 During the school year, they offers a variety of "Parks As Classrooms" programs, specifically targeting  the education curriculum designated for the State of California.During the summer, teachers can come out to the park by becoming students themselves during our teacher workshops or the national Teacher to Ranger to Teacher program.

Students can earn the Junior Ranger Patch and pins.
Description of the field trip:

The Biodiversity Experience: Hiking from Boney Mountain to the Pacific Coast is an 8 mile journey through a pond, into a canyon, across a valley, and other habitats. There is a lot to see!  Find out why Biodiversity is so important to all of us. Concepts Addressed:

·         Biomes and Ecosystems:  One travels through chaparral, riparian and oak woodland.
·         Biodiversity: Taxonomy studies.
          Geologic features: Uplifting, erosion, weathering, subduction, rock cycle

For more information and a Satwiwa brochure:  CLICK here.

Geological information


Oligocene Epoch:
33- 23.8 million years ago.
Farallon Plate:
An oceanic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean, about the size of Oregon.
North American Plate:
The continental plate of North America.
Pacific Plate:
Oceanic plate north of the Farallon Plate under the Pacific Ocean.
the process of one tectonic plate descending and sliding beneath another plate.
Transverse Range:
Mountains that run in an East-West direction instead of a North-South direction.
Transferred Lithosphere:
The remnants of the plate that is left behind as the ridge travels northeastward.


MAP: Click for link to trail map.

Click here for more information on the Chumash Tribe.

More information on the Chumash.

Rena Benor,
Oct 5, 2011, 12:24 AM
Rena Benor,
Nov 2, 2011, 1:52 PM
Rena Benor,
Oct 13, 2011, 2:48 PM