Gary Klee

Gary Klee

Department of Environmental Studies





Preferred: (408) 924-5455

Office Location

Washington Square Hall 115A


Courses Taught

Research Interests

  • California Coastal Wetlands
  • Nature and Conservation Photography
  • Human Ecology
    • Historical Ecology of California
    • Traditional or Indigenous Systems of Natural Resource Management
  • International Development
    • Peace Corps
  • Gardens, Culture, and Environment


Ph.D., Geography, University of Oregon, 1972


Gary is currently under contract with UC Press to write a new book tentatively entitled California Coastal Wetland Guide, which if all goes as planned, will be a trade book highlighting the environmental issues and conservation strategies related to wetland habitats.  For the last several years, he and his wife and two Shih Tzu’s, have been traveling up and down the California coast in their "Photo Van" (a 1990 VW Camper Van), touring and photographing the wetlands with local environmental scientists, resource managers, and government officials.  Gary strongly believes that photography is an important tool for protecting and preserving important habitats.  Hence, why he has taken one of his hobbies and skill sets (i.e., photography), and turned into a book project in "Conservation Photography" — going beyond just taking "pretty post card" photographs.  Previous to this book project, he published The Coastal Environment: Toward Integrated Coastal and Marine Sanctuary Management (Prentice Hall, 1999); Conservation of Natural Resources (Prentice Hall 1991); and World Systems of Traditional Resource Management (Edward Arnold 1980).

He especially enjoys working with graduate students that share his interest in preserving America's (and other country's) coastal heritage.  Gary has chaired or served on graduate thesis committees dealing with coastal topics, as well as topics dealing with traditional island fisheries (Palau and Panama), Panda Bear conservation (Nepal), Sea Lion protection (Monterey Bay, California), and native plant landscaping (San José, California)... just to name a few.  He has also worked on thesis committees dealing with photography (e.g., the transition from film to digital photography and its impacts on water and energy use).  Being a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) himself, Gary also enjoys sponsoring such graduate students that are interested in human (cultural) ecology and international development type research.

One of Gary's favorite activities is taking his graduate students sailing for what he calls "Adviso-Sails" (i.e., sailing, having lunch, and discussing thesis projects aboard his Ranger 23 on Monterey Bay).  When not sailing with his students, his most dependable Second and Third Mates are his two "puppies" Asia and Sophie.  Gary's other favorite activities include traveling for photo shoots (particularly black and white landscape photography), working in his home digital darkroom; taking photography workshops across the country, landscape gardening around his home in Soquel, and especially spending lots of time with his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandkids.