Field Trip: San Ardo Oil Fields, with Mary Hsia-Coron


Oil pump jacks at sunset sky background. Toned.


Saturday, April 15, 9:30am-5pm

Driving south from UCSC, we will meet environmental and community activist Mary Hsia-Coron at 11am on Saturday, Apr 15 at the mouth of the Salinas River where it meets the ocean. From there we will explore the petroscape of San Ardo, California, learning about such technologies as steamflooding, cyclic steam injection, and wastewater injection. Tour participants will collectively consider how these processes of oil extraction affect the geologies, water sources, and biodiverse life forms of coastal central California; what are the environmental implications of hydraulic-fracturing; and how resistance movements are participating in ongoing anti-fracking struggles in California, of which our tour guide Mary Hsia-Coron has extensive experience.


Mary Hsia-Coron has worked on projects aimed at transitioning her community away from fossil fuels and toward a more sustainable economic model. She has participated in the citizen's initiative to ban fracking and high intensity petroleum extraction in San Benito County (Measure J), which passed in November 2014, and in Monterey County (Measure Z, which passed in November 2016, though oil companies including Chevron and Aera Energy, co-owned by affiliates of Shell Mobile Co. and ExxonMobil sued to place a stay on the measure in December 2017. These corporations spent more than $5 million fighting the measure, which was approved by 56 percent of the voters). A second project involves helping the city of San Juan Bautista to shift to renewable energy and more energy efficient buildings. A third project is hosting events that educate the community about Climate Solutions that can be implemented locally, including regenerative agriculture and environmental restoration. Mary is a graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz in Computer Science and Economics. She worked at Hewlett Packard for 28 years.


For more information on this trip—for which it is mandatory to reserve a place in advance—please contact Tj Demos ( or Laurie Palmer (