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Cal Poly Pomona



Revised web pages, including a virtual tour of BioTrek.



The first web pages sponsored by the Ernest Prete Jr. Foundation went on-line.



Grand Opening



BioTrek began its Inaugural Year with formation of the Steering Committee and a push to complete construction.



Classes began for the first time in the new Biotechnology Building (Bldg. 4). Its greenhouse, which was not complete for almost another year, now houses the BioTrek Rainforest Learning Center.



The Rain Bird Corporation maked the first major donation that set BioTrek on its way.



The name "BioTrek" was chosen for the project that will transform the proposed new Building 4 greenhouse building.



K-12 classes visited the Building 8 rainforest greenhouse for the first time.



Working with Dr. Chris George and the Botany faculty, Mike Brown converted the tropical conservatory into our first permanent “rainforest” in the greenhouses on the roof of Building 8. Six hundred college students per quarter were using the rain forest display. Fish and other animals were added, and Mike Brown moved Dr. Jonathan Baskin’s 20 foot long artificial streambed to the “rainforest”, where it became an integral part of the display. Experimenting in this streambed with amphibians, fish, and invertebrates provided a great deal of experience both in husbandry and equipment that was used to develop later facilities.



A K-12 program was started by Mike Brown, using the Biological Sciences Plant and Animal Facilities, orchards, fields, landscaping, hiking trails, and plantings on campus to teach about science and the environment. From 1990 to 2001 we averaged 3,000- 3,500 students a year visiting our facilities.



BioTrek began, without a name, in a prep room of the general biology lab at Cal Poly Pomona. Dr. Chris George asked Mike Brown to provide tropical plants to display in a rain forest simulation. She and graduate student Chris Brady (now a Lecturer) provided insects and mounted birds from faculty excursions to the rain forests. Using a home humidifier, a tape player for sounds, a sleep machine for water sounds, and plastic sheeting, our first temporary “rainforest” was created for two weeks each quarter. Both the majors and nonmajors general biology courses used the simulation.



Our first collections of native plants were procured through Dr. Curtis Clark, now a BioTrek Steering Committee member. These plants were housed and cared for in our old Building 4 greenhouses by Mike Brown. Some of the plants in the Ethnobotany Learning Center are very old and unique plants from these original collections.



Botany Section Coordinator, Dr. Gil Brum (now a member of the BioTrek Steering Committee), worked with Botany Technician Mike Brown (now BioTrek Curator), on developing a tropical conservatory for the use of classes in Biological Sciences.