University of California Natural Reserve System

University of California Natural Reserve System Protecting California biodiversity since 1965.
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The UC Natural Reserve System is a library of ecosystems throughout California. Most of the state's major habitat types are represented, from coastal tidepools to inland deserts, and lush wetlands to redwood forests. No other network of field sites can match its size, scope, and ecological diversity. The NRS offers outdoor laboratories to field scientists, classrooms without walls for students, and nature’s inspiration to all.

Mission: The mission of the Natural Reserve System is to contribute to the understanding and wise stewardship of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service at protected natural areas throughout California. http://nrs.ucop.edu

05/26/2020
Running with donkeys

Social distancing isn't hard at NRS reserves. But staying in shape is. So Sedgwick Reserve director Kate McCurdy has enlisted her rescue donkeys and a friend for some trail running. After all, everyone (including equines) could use a little exercise encouragement.

More news about this study showing the value of field courses for improving STEM diversity, this time from UC Santa Cruz...
05/22/2020
Field courses boost STEM diversity, study reveals

More news about this study showing the value of field courses for improving STEM diversity, this time from UC Santa Cruz. The study was based in part on data from the NRS's intensive California Ecology and Conservation Course, plus other courses that routinely visit NRS reserves on field trips.

The challenge of diversifying STEM fields may get a boost from the results of a new study that show field courses help build self-confidence among students—especially those from underrepresented groups.

In case you haven't yet reached your cute baby animal quotient for the day. Also, these little fluffballs (and their soo...
05/22/2020

In case you haven't yet reached your cute baby animal quotient for the day. Also, these little fluffballs (and their soon-to-be-hatched compatriots) need names, if you've got ideas.

The Plover chick nursery is growing. We now have 8 chicks and 7 eggs still to hatch. We have been so busy that we haven't had time to name anyone after Elmer. What should we name the other chicks?

The data is in: field courses boost STEM achievements among students of diverse backgrounds. New UC research finds that ...
05/21/2020
Research Shows Field Courses Bridge STEM Diversity Gaps - UCNRS

The data is in: field courses boost STEM achievements among students of diverse backgrounds. New UC research finds that taking a field course boosts grades, graduation rates, and the likelihood of earning a degree in science.

A new study shows field courses improve academic achievement and graduation rates, plus encourage science degrees, among diverse college students.

A love letter to one of California's most magical places, from a young scientist inspired by years of visits to the NRS'...
05/20/2020

A love letter to one of California's most magical places, from a young scientist inspired by years of visits to the NRS's Santa Cruz Island Reserve.

“Santa Cruz Island means home. It was the first place that I truly began to understand the poetry found in natural landscapes. The ability of the communities on the island to naturally work together to recover from adversity will continually astonish me. The island itself connects animals to plants, past to present, and humans to nature into one irreplaceable ecosystem. I cannot wait for my next trip back home!” —Annie Meeder (Annie is one of the Reserve All Star students...engaging in research on the island continuously since high school, about to graduate from Cal Poly, and planning on pursuing grad school in ecology/botany!).

Doesn't this lupine at the NRS's Younger Lagoon Reserve look luscious? This native bumblebee sure thinks so.
05/20/2020

Doesn't this lupine at the NRS's Younger Lagoon Reserve look luscious? This native bumblebee sure thinks so.

Check out that proboscis! This yellow-faced bumble bee is comin’ in for a landing!

#bombus #pollinators #santacruz #lupine

UC has divested completely from investments in fossil fuels. And that great photo? Taken on White Mountain, where the UC...
05/20/2020
UC becomes nation's largest university to divest fully from fossil fuels

UC has divested completely from investments in fossil fuels. And that great photo? Taken on White Mountain, where the UC Natural Reserve Station operates four field stations that enable researchers to study the impact of climate change, among many other topics.

The University of California has fully divested from all fossil fuels, the nation's largest university to do so as pressure grows at Harvard, Stanford and other campuses to join the fight against climate change.

Restricted to essential functions only, NRS reserves are hosting far fewer students and researchers than normal. But sta...
05/19/2020
NRS Reserves Adapt To Coronavirus Shutdown - UCNRS

Restricted to essential functions only, NRS reserves are hosting far fewer students and researchers than normal. But staff are filling the void by keeping research projects going, arranging virtual class visits, adjusting internship programs, and preparing new operating procedures to accommodate COVID-19.

Though NRS reserves are closed to most research during the coronavirus shutdown, staff are still engaging classes and students in creative ways.

Meet one of California's native melons. They're pretty, but not appealing to the human palate.
05/18/2020

Meet one of California's native melons. They're pretty, but not appealing to the human palate.

A Gourd or Coyote melon (Cucurbita palmata) flowering near Borrego Palm Canyon this morning (Photo: Sicco Rood).

Fewer cars on the road mean more amphibians are surviving their annual treks to reproduce. This article will give you a ...
05/18/2020
With the World on Pause, Salamanders Own the Road

Fewer cars on the road mean more amphibians are surviving their annual treks to reproduce. This article will give you a new appreciation of just how arduous those journeys are.

Traffic is down, thanks to the pandemic. That’s good news for amphibians looking to migrate safely.

The NRS's Fort Ord Natural Reserve is working to keep populations of a gorgeous native wildflower, the greater yellowthr...
05/18/2020
Tiny Flowers: Preserving Gilia tenuiflora | ksqd.org

The NRS's Fort Ord Natural Reserve is working to keep populations of a gorgeous native wildflower, the greater yellowthroat gilia, going along the Central Coast.

Tiny Flowers: Preserving Gilia tenuiflora Posted by Emily Donham | May 17, 2020 | All Talk, Arts & Culture, Local, Outdoors, Program, Santa Cruz Naturalist | 0 Tiny Flowers: Preserving Gilia tenuifloraSanta Cruz Naturalist     00:00 / 4:00   1X   Download file | Play in new window | Duration:...

Oh, the trials and tribulations of fatherhood! Great pics of Western snowy plover pops and their peeps at the NRS's Coal...
05/14/2020

Oh, the trials and tribulations of fatherhood! Great pics of Western snowy plover pops and their peeps at the NRS's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve.

What bird has 6 legs? 🤔Inquiring minds want to know => swipe for answers! 🙂
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It's nesting season for the Western Snowy Plover and other birds. When you visit the beach, please respect their protected habitat and keep dogs on a leash so these beautiful birds can thrive.
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Find out more about Coal Oil Point Reserve and the Snowy Plovers at: https://ucnrs.org/reserves/coal-oil-point-natural-reserve/
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Help protect the Plovers by becoming a docent: https://copr.nrs.ucsb.edu/get-involved/snowy-plover-docent-program

Learn how scientists are putting the NRS's Blue Oak Ranch reserve under a hydrologic microscope; experience treetop view...
05/14/2020
UCNRS Newsletter May 2020

Learn how scientists are putting the NRS's Blue Oak Ranch reserve under a hydrologic microscope; experience treetop views of redwood research at Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve; discover how artificial intelligence can be used to spot coyote and badgers and bears at Sedgwick Reserve; see all this and more in the May 2020 edition of the UC Natural Reserve System Newsletter.

It's a pain to sort through trail camera shots to find a few frames of the animals you're interested in. UC researchers ...
05/13/2020
Watching Wildlife With Help From AI - UCNRS

It's a pain to sort through trail camera shots to find a few frames of the animals you're interested in. UC researchers have shifted that work to computers by building a computing cloud in a remote location, and teaching it to look for different species, behaviors, and more.

UC researchers are applying the power of the computing cloud and machine learning to the problem of studying wildlife via trail cameras.

05/13/2020
Santa Cruz Island Reserve

Feeling tense? Watch and listen to the waves at the NRS's Santa Cruz Island Reserve, and drift away.

Sunset waves, Christy Beach. Turn up your volume and relax :)

05/13/2020
Hastings Natural History Reserve

Bats filmed at the NRS's Hastings Natural History Reservation nabbing a drink on the wing!

In case you haven't had the occasion to contemplate how bats drink, we offer this video. Bats drink on the wing! This video was taken a few nights ago along the road to the reserve. It's tricky business--so tricky that bats have a special echolocation sequence for drinking because there is a lot at stake. Too high and you end up thirsty, too low and you end up wet. 😏

Field courses bridge achievement gaps in ecology and evolutionary biology, and help diversify STEM fields. The NRS contr...
05/12/2020
Field courses narrow demographic achievement gaps in ecology and evolutionary biology

Field courses bridge achievement gaps in ecology and evolutionary biology, and help diversify STEM fields. The NRS contributes by providing some of the most sought after sites for field courses to visit in California.

We examined the relationships among academic success measures, field course enrollment, and diversity metrics (race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, first‐generation, and gender) for 28,500 undergrad...

Jen Gee, director of the NRS's James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve, is reminiscing about last year, when her reserve was...
05/12/2020

Jen Gee, director of the NRS's James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve, is reminiscing about last year, when her reserve was still able to host students: A photo of me and the grad students and undergrads that were in residence last summer at The James. I was the only staff person at the time, and they were my family who helped me at The James. In this pic, we were having an 80’s themed denim party, accompanied by an amazing BBQ. I miss them so much!

05/11/2020
Coal Oil Point Reserve

An egg rescue and some creative shell repair are rewarded with the hatching of a fluffy live Western snowy plover at the NRS's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve.

A high tide combined with a big swell washed away some Snowy Plover nests that were too close to the shore. Jessica was able to rescue a few eggs. One of them had a crack so we fixed the shell with Elmer's glue. He hatched just a few minutes ago in our nursery at Coal Oil Point Reserve. His name is Elmer, of course!

Get your daily dose of lupine goodness with these photos of deep purple Lupinus bicolor at the NRS's McLaughlin Natural ...
05/08/2020

Get your daily dose of lupine goodness with these photos of deep purple Lupinus bicolor at the NRS's McLaughlin Natural Reserve.

Lupinus bicolor (aka annual or miniature lupine) is the smallest lupine at the McLaughlin Reserve and is easily confused with Lupinus nanus (aka sky lupine), which is generally larger and showier, but not by much. They can be distinguished by their pedicels (the connection between the base of the flower and the stem) which is 3 mm or shorter in L. bicolor and about 4 mm in L. nanus. Both species are common and widespread in California. These photos are a couple of weeks old, as flowering for these species has just finished.

Male skinks can tussle over territory during breeding season. This titanic battle was spotted at the NRS's Coal Oil Poin...
05/08/2020

Male skinks can tussle over territory during breeding season. This titanic battle was spotted at the NRS's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve, located next door to UC Santa Barbara.

Today, Leo caught a skink fight in action at the reserve. Both were at each other's throat for about 20 minutes, and they left with cuts and bruises.

It's a good time to study the role of acoustics in ecology. With no classes visiting, and human interlopers scarce, Berg...
05/08/2020
UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve

It's a good time to study the role of acoustics in ecology. With no classes visiting, and human interlopers scarce, Bergeron has been researching how mice react to owl sounds during the quietest spring in decades.

Air Force Veteran and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology student Nicholas Bergeron navigates field research at UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve in the time of COVID 19, as he studies the "ecology of fear" of maritime chaparral rodents.

More lovely lupines at the NRS's McLaughlin Natural Reserve. This one flowers in a variety of vivid colors.
05/07/2020

More lovely lupines at the NRS's McLaughlin Natural Reserve. This one flowers in a variety of vivid colors.

Today’s featured lupine is chick lupine (Lupinus microcarpus) which is both abundant and strikingly variable across the reserve as well as most of California. Chick lupine inhabits open and disturbed places and is often seeded along roadsides.

Steelhead will soon be able to swim up the creek to spawn at the NRS's Hastings Natural History Reservation! Congrats to...
05/07/2020

Steelhead will soon be able to swim up the creek to spawn at the NRS's Hastings Natural History Reservation! Congrats to the reserve for landing this grant--so exciting.

Big things are happening at Hastings! We are absolutely thrilled to receive a grant from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to help us replace one of the worst fish passage barriers in the Carmel River watershed, that happens to be on the reserve 😳. We didn't build it, but with the help of the MPWMD, we are going to replace it, so we can ensure that steelhead have access to critical spawning grounds in the upper watershed.

Gorgeous coastal views, including an interactive 360, from the ultimate in NRS isolation locations, Santa Cruz Island Re...
05/05/2020

Gorgeous coastal views, including an interactive 360, from the ultimate in NRS isolation locations, Santa Cruz Island Reserve.

Valley Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island. One of my favorite quick trips from the Field Station.

05/05/2020
Donald and Sylvia McLaughlin Natural Reserve

Follow the NRS's McLaughlin Natural Reserve to learn about lupine diversity on this serpentine-soil rich reserve bursting with native wildflowers.

Lupines have been having a good year at McLaughlin. We are also on track to have the driest rainy season in our 36-year record. Our last really great lupine year was 2013 which was also a dry year. A little late, we are starting a virtual tour of the lupine diversity at McLaughlin. Arroyo Lupine (Lupinus succulentus) is an annual species that started flowering in mid-April and is now mostly in fruit. It can be found throughout the western half of California north to Tehama county, and can be recognized by its fleshy stems, whorled blue-purple flowers, and robust stature (up to a meter tall). It is an important food source for bumblebees. This worker yellow-faced bumblebee (Bombus vosnesenkii) is provisioning an underground nest just a couple of meters away.

At McLaughlin, arroyo lupine occurs in grasslands and meadows in both serpentine and normal soils. This particular location is on serpentine in a meadow that was once almost completely covered by non-native invasive annual grasses and had very little food to offer for bees.

Yosemite's animals are reoccupying spaces now emptied of human visitors, says Breezy Jackson, director of the NRS's Yose...
05/01/2020
Yosemite’s Pandemic Shut Down Allows Wildlife a Respite From Mankind

Yosemite's animals are reoccupying spaces now emptied of human visitors, says Breezy Jackson, director of the NRS's Yosemite Field Station.

For weeks now, wildlife has been allowed to move freely about the park since officials closed the mountains and valleys to humans to stem the COVID-19...

A visitor from south of the border drops in on fellow Western snowy plovers at the NRS's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve.
04/30/2020

A visitor from south of the border drops in on fellow Western snowy plovers at the NRS's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve.

Notice the red flag band on this Snowy Plover. It means he was banded in Baja California and is now visiting COPR. Bienvenido a los Estados Unidos pájaro lindo de Mexico.

04/30/2020
UC Santa Cruz

A few moments of coastal beauty including shots of the NRS's Younger Lagoon Reserve. The reserve has become part of UCSC's Coastal Science Campus.

This week's installment of The UC Santa Cruz Minute visits our Coastal Science Campus checking in with the birds, the waves, the flora and the fauna.

The UC Santa Cruz Minute is a weekly series connecting Slugs to campus no matter where we are right now. Take a minute, on us.

A scientist's love letter to Santa Cruz Island and the NRS's Santa Cruz Island Reserve, which enables students and resea...
04/29/2020

A scientist's love letter to Santa Cruz Island and the NRS's Santa Cruz Island Reserve, which enables students and researchers to stay and work on this ecological jewel off the coast of southern California.

“For two decades I have done vegetation research on Santa Cruz Island, using the UC Reserve as a home-base for activities ranging from rare plant surveys and recovery planting experiments to studies of island vegetation in plots scattered across the island. I look forward to every trip for two main reasons: 1 – the island is beautiful, and 2 – I am guaranteed new insights in conversation with the staff and other guests at the UC Reserve Field Station on every visit. It is a joy to watch the landscape recover native plants and animals with the diminishing effects of grazing, and an honor to contribute to the ongoing story of island change. One of the things I like best is to watch the sun flush across the Central Valley at dawn from a vantage point near the field station, about as nice a scene as watching the sun rise behind Santa Cruz Island from a vantage point near the NPS housing on Santa Rosa Island. Lately I have come to realize how lucky I am to be an island ecologist at this time when the islands are transitioning from an era of ranching to one of conservation: I got to know the cowboys and ranchers as they handed off the reins to the next generation of people who also love the islands in their undeveloped wildness, where nature is not obscured by pavement and powerlines.” —-Dr. Kathryn McEachern, Research Plant Biologist, USGS

04/28/2020
The Edge of the Range

"The Edge of the Range" is a gorgeous new video showcasing the struggles of the southernmost population of coast redwoods at the NRS's Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve in Big Sur. The birds-eye views from the tops of the trees themselves are astonishing. Filmmaker Wendy Baxter is an expert tree climber who employs her considerable off-the-ground skills to maintain NRS weather stations.

California's Big Sur has been the coast redwood's southernmost stronghold for thousands of years. With a warming planet, canopy scientist Anthony Ambrose ask...

04/28/2020
Arbor Creek Experimental Watershed

UC scientists are putting a headwaters stream basin at the NRS's Blue Oak Ranch Reserve under a hydrological microscope. What they discover about how plants, soils, and weather interact to affect the movement of water will predict whether California's oak foothill ecosystems will survive or be left high and dry by climate change.

University of California scientists are studying what happens to water after it falls from the sky onto oak woodlands. Their research, conducted at the UC Na...

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Celebrating the life of Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at #ucdavis and global authority on #bees. The event, coordinated by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis, is set for 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 in Putah Creek Lodge, #ucdavis. #BugSquad https://bit.ly/2lLX12U
Why do you insist on calling Devereux Point Coal Oil Point? It is not accurate and disrespectful to the History of UCSB.
Thank you UCNRS-James Reserve for an outstanding afternoon with the Inland Empire California Naturalists.
Master’s Program in Conservation and Restoration at UC-Irvine is still accepting applications for Fall 2018! The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Center for Environmental Biology (CEB) at the University of California, Irvine are accepting applications for the Professional Masters in Conservation and Restoration Science (MCRS) graduate program providing training for students interested in careers in the research and management of natural resources. Now accepting applications for the second cohort of MCRS students for Fall 2018! Sectors and potential careers for MCRS graduates include: non-profit land management sector, local and federal government agencies, and environmental consulting firms. For more information, visit the MCRS webpage (http://mcrs.bio.uci.edu), or contact program administrators at [email protected]. The MCRS degree will provide students with the academic and professional skills needed to study, protect, and conserve natural resources, and to hold leadership and management positions in environmental fields related to conservation, restoration, and sustainability. Potential applicants will need a B.A. or B.S. degree, preferably in the natural sciences (biology, conservation biology, ecology, environmental science, forestry, wildlife biology, horticulture, or similar degree title) from a fully accredited academic institution. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in other areas will be considered, but must demonstrate proficiency in the natural sciences and/or practical experience working in this professional field. The program includes two years of coursework and activities, including 18 units of core courses (e.g., ecology, conservation science), 16 units of topical electives (e.g., environmental policy, land use policy), 18 units of technical and professional skills courses (e.g., technical writing, GIS), and 8 units associated with technical and professional workshops (e.g., regional professional gatherings). A collaborative, year-long group capstone project (12 units), aligned with community partners, integrates the program’s learning objectives and applies student’s new skills to key environmental challenges facing society. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Our next round of applications will be reviewed for admission after July 1, 2018.
Hello! Happy New Year. Does the University organize alumni or student trips to international destinations as part of their study program? I would love to help if there are any travel plans to India. I own a very personalized tour operating business and provide authentic and fully immersive experiences in India. More about me and what I do here: https://www.facebook.com/2travelwith/. If there is someone within the university who manages alumni /student travel I would really appreciate the connect. Thank you and hope to see you in India at some point :)
Silence is also important to our health - we need to protect silence - noise is a global problem. In our busy lives we focus on nutrition, yoga, fitness, medicine, alternative treatments and much more. All essential for our well-being. But we tend to forget the negative impact of environmental noise on our health: More Silence Less Noise - a new book - take a look: https://www.facebook.com/MoreSilenceLessNoise/