Welcome to the Sacramento State Online Natural History Museum

September 6, 2016

[Note: This is an ongoing project; we welcome your comments and contributions]


The Sacramento State Online Natural History Museum is a virtual museum, allowing the viewer to explore our collections and the natural history of the Sac State campus. The main goal of this site is to help a visitor to the Sac State campus (or the nearby portion of the American River Parkway) identify the plants and animals that they encounter.  It is not meant to be the ultimate resource for information; there are many detailed guidebooks, textbooks, research papers and websites that provide that information. Rather, it is meant to be a quick and easy to use guide to the things you encounter most often, whether they be native or introduced species.


Natural History encourages a broad look at the world around us. Here it includes not only the biological world, such as the plants and animals, but also the environmental setting in which these organisms live. The Geological History and immediate human history of the land is also relevant to what you are likely to find at present. 

At present, the Sacramento State campus, situated on the banks of the American River (designated both a California Wild and Scenic River, and a National Wild and Scenic River) is a beautiful place to study, work and visit, largely due to the diversity of trees and green spaces on campus. This was not always the case. In fact, if you were to visit this area 60 years ago, it would have looked quite different.  History of the Sacramento State Campus, tells you a little about how this campus came to be and the major influences on it. The adjacent American River Parkway brings nature right to the door of campus, and sometimes onto it!

To understand and appreciate the biological resources on campus, it is helpful to put them in perspective of global biodiversity, i.e., how many different kinds (species) of plants and animals are there?  Organisms such as plants and animals are often referred to by common names (e.g., Douglas fir); however, different common names might be used in different locations. In contrast, there is only one scientific name for each organism.

Maps: Interactive Campus map ; Printable map

Identifying Local Biodiversity








Related Museums at Sacramento State

CSUS Department of Biological Sciences Living Gallery

Biological Sciences Museum (Sequoia Hall, Room 105)

Museum of Ectothermic Vertebrates

Museum of Endothermic Vertebrates

Museum of Entomology


The University Arboretum


CSUS Anthropology Museum



Send comments to Dr. Ronald M. Coleman, rcoleman@csus.edu. The Sacramento State Online Natural History Museum was made possible by funding from the C.M. Goethe bequest to the California State University, Sacramento.