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December 2019

Bringing back the wildflowers


Centuries of invasion by non-native annual grasses have crowded out California's native wildflowers and left meadows brown and flammable in summer. But staff at the NRS's McLaughlin Natural Reserve are bucking the trend by keeping the invaders at bay. Their restoration regimen, backed up by extensive scientific studies, have resulted in meadows chock full of native wildflowers blooming in rainbow hues. Read more >>

Students resurvey reserves


Among the many kinds of data that NRS reserves provide to visitors is what species occur on the landscape. But maintaining current species lists is tough; conditions change, populations fluctuate, and expertise on some groups is hard to find. A new effort aims to change that by employing students to resurvey UC Santa Cruz's NRS reserves, with an eye toward expanding to the entire NRS.  Read more >>

Mojave Science Newsletter


Science is always surprising at the NRS's Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center. Over the past year, scientists have tested a rock-climbing robot meant for exploring planetary bodies like Mars and the Moon; used trail cameras to examine how desert animals rely on shrubs for food, cover, and safety; and observed spiders using a hunting strategy that turned out to be entirely new to science. These discoveries and more are described in the 2019 issue of Mojave Science Newsletter, jointly produced by reserve directors Tasha La Doux and Jim Andr√© with the Mojave National Preserve. Image credit: Tasha La Doux. Read more >>

Mathias Grants 2019-20


Launching a career in science is no picnic. It demands decades of education, voracious curiosity, and a knack for juggling projects and funding to keep a research program afloat. The NRS gives grad students a leg up by supporting their field work at reserves. This year, the NRS's Mathias Graduate Student Research Grant Program gave a total of $38,000 to 18 grad students from 7 UC campuses conducting field research at reserves. The experience will not only give these promising scientists practice in applying for and managing a grant, but also advance our understanding of topics ranging from earth movements to bird biology. Image credit: Alan D. Wilson/Wikipedia Read more >>

NRS Giving


This holiday season, consider including the NRS in your charitable giving. Your contributions can support field research fellowships for minority students, our California Heartbeat Initiative monitoring natural ecosystems, the California Ecology and Conservation course for undergraduates, or the reserve of your choice. All gifts to the NRS are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. We at the NRS thank you! Give now >>

Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series


Every year, the NRS's Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center sponsors a series of lectures showcasing research at the reserve, desert conservation efforts, and environmental issues.

All lectures are facilitated by reserve director Chris Tracy and held on Thursdays, 6-7:30 p.m., at the auditorium of UCR Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Dr, Palm Desert. Learn more and RSVP at links.

Dec. 12
Chad: A conservation adventure to save the endangered scimitar-horned oryx
RoxAnna Breitigan, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Jan. 9
Is brown the new green? The plight and protection of endangered species in the Mojave Desert 
Ken Nussear, University of Nevada, Reno

Jan. 22
Megafauna: the science of large animals and why they matter
Jim Estes, U.S. Geological Survey

Feb. 13
Tribulations and triumphs of Mojave Desert restoration
Lesley DeFalco and Todd Esque, U.S. Geological Survey

Mar. 12
Overcoming extreme challenges: how birds deal with warming temperatures in a changing climate
Alex Gerson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Apr. 9
Inspiration from the sea: how studying marine organisms can improve our daily lives
Misty Paig-Tran, California State University, Fullerton

Fall 2019 CEC Research


After weeks of traveling to different NRS reserves for their field course, the students of the Fall 2019 California Ecology and Conservation program settled down to conduct their final research projects at Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center. There, they conducted independent field studies on bats, mistletoe, jumping cholla, and more organisms they encountered in the Sonoran Desert. Their findings, in the form of formal research papers, can be found in the Fall 2019 issue of CEC Research. Read more >>
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