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February 2015

NRS celebrates 50 years

On January 22, 1965, the UC Regents established what is now the world's premier university reserve system. Take a look at some of the highlights of our first 50 years, and be on the lookout for more opportunities to celebrate throughout 2015.  Read more >>
Forest at Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve

Warmer, drier climate altering forest structure

Historical California vegetation data documents the loss of larger trees in mountain forests, a shift that appears linked to water stress. Scientists from the UC Berkeley, UC Davis and the U.S. Geological Survey compared surveys of California forests done in the 1920s and ‘30s, including plots at the NRS's Landels-Hill Big Creek and Sedgwick reserves, with recent U.S. Forest Service data. They discovered major changes in forest makeup over the past 90 years. Read more >>
Sueprcourse students get the lay of the land with a topo map at Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve. Image courtesy Hilary Walecka

The NRS supercourse--"an amazing opportunity"

On a fine morning this coming autumn, 27 UC undergraduates, all strangers, will meet in a parking lot, assemble a small mountain of tents, sleeping bags, notebooks, and backpacks, and head out in a convoy of passenger vans to begin a true educational adventure. For the next seven weeks, the students of California Ecology and Conservation will tour NRS reserves across the state, all the while transforming from ordinary college students to capable field scientists.  Read more >>

Merced naturalist training

UC Merced students interested in becoming field trip leaders and student naturalists at the NRS's Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve can attend Reserve Naturalist Training, a spring semester course taught by reserve director Chris Swarth. First meeting is Wed. Feb. 11 9-11 at Social Sciences & Management #107. Read more >>


Feb. 12     UCR Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series 
6 pm, UCR Palm Desert Center, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Dr., Palm Desert
A state of change: forgotten landscapes of southern California
With historical ecology, artist and naturalist Laura Cunningham explores past landscapes in paintings and field sketches of a forgotten natural California.

Feb. 12 WMRC Public Lectures
7 pm, White Mountain Research Center, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop
Ethical concerns in conservation of biodiversity: examples from the desert fishes
Retired Cal Fish and Wildlife biologist Phil Pister supervised aquatic management and research for the eastern Sierra and California's deserts over his 38-year career. He founded the Desert Fishes Council and saved the last population of Owens pupfish.

Feb. 19 WMRC Public Lectures
7 pm, White Mountain Research Center, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a land ethic for our time
This first full-length documentary of environmentalist Aldo Leopold traces how he helped shape the modern environmental movement and continues to inspire projects connecting people and land.

Feb. 20    Walking Ecology
9-11 am, Sedgwick Reserve, 3566 Brinkerhoff Rd., Santa Ynez
Soils of Sedgwick Reserve
UCSB Professor Oliver Chadwick studies soils and their relationship to ecology and earth system science. He will discuss the processes underfoot at Sedgwick Reserve and the Santa Ynez Valley.

Feb. 26 WMRC Public Lectures
7 pm, White Mountain Research Center, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop
The Enfield-Weller Archeological Collection: local avocational archeologists preserving eastern Sierra history
Talk by Greg Haverstock, BLM Bishop Office archeologist, and Bridget Wall, California State University Sacramento Archeological Research Center


Annual Report on Sustainable Practices 2014 cover

Eminently sustainable

The NRS makes its debut in this year's UC Sustainability Report. Highlights include a laudatory write-up and a gorgeous full-page pic of Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve, which joined the system one year ago. Read report >>

Bloody battle

Male elephant seals duke it out for the right to mate with females each winter at the NRS's Año Nuevo Island Reserve. This epic battle was captured by wildlife photographer Clayton Anderson.
Vince Voegeli at CNPS


Hastings Reserve director Vince Voegeli spreads the word about the NRS at the California Native Plant Society meeting in San Jose this January. Observe our gorgeous new popup banners in the background.

All about oaks

  • The most ancient oak fossils are 40-56 million years old.
  • All oaks are hermaphrodites and mostly wind-pollinated.
  • Neighboring oak seedlings appear not to compete but probably help support each other.
Courtesy Claudia Tyler, UCSB, and Sedgwick Reserve
California thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum)
California thrasher sighted at Younger Lagoon Reserve by NRS volunteer photographer Clayton Anderson. Though common through much of its range, this insectivore prefers to stay hidden in dense brush and often escapes human notice.


Surprise! Two California condors secretly hatch chick
Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve
San Francisco Chronicle

Mystery condor discovered in Big Sur
Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Research shows elephant seals wander far when not lounging ashore
Año Nuevo
San Jose Mercury News

Denser California forests raise firefighting questions, study says
Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve, Sedgwick Reserve
Los Angeles Times

McLaughlin Reserve part of plan to study climate change effects across California's ecosystems
McLaughlin Reserve
Lake County News
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