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February 2017

Sense of wonder

At 6,000 acres and nine square miles, UCSB’s Sedgwick Reserve in the Santa Ynez Valley is a vast nirvana of nature with a bright future. Marvel at the coyotes and bears, chat with reserve director and wildlife biologist Kate McCurdy, and join an expedition of students studying acorn caches in this lyrical salute to UCSB's largest NRS reserve. Read more >>
Sedgwick reserve donkeys

Reserve records inform rangeland theories

Livestock have made their hoofprints felt on California's landscapes. Between their appetite for browse, and human efforts to support large herds, grazers have caused major changes to state rangelands. Exactly how rangeland changes occur has been debated for over a century. With help from UC's ISEECI climate change institute, two UC Santa Barbara historians are tackling this question using an untapped resource: the detailed and abundant records available on NRS reserves. Read more >>

All in the family

UC Santa Barbara alumna Linda Duttenhaver and her father, Morton La Kretz, have provided a $6 million gift to the NRS's Sedgwick Reserve. Their donation will establish an on-site research center to bolster studies into environmental issues such as drought, climate change, and the restoration of native habitats. Another portion of their gift funds renovations to the Sedgwick ranch house, which provides accommodations for many reserve visitors.  Read more >>
eDNA illustration

Reserves contribute eDNA

A new University of California program called CALeDNA will collect samples from sediments across the state to inventory all the species that have passed through the area. By sequencing all of the genetic material found in these teaspoons of dirt, scientists aim to identify all of the organisms that have passed through and left bits of themselves behind in the form of shed hairs, cells, rootlets, leaves, and other bits of microscopic detritus. All NRS reserves will contribute samples for this environmental DNA (eDNA) project, which promises to revolutionize our understanding of biodiversity in California. Read more >>

Jepson Herbarium Public Programs

The Jepson Herbarium Workshop Series provides educational opportunities for a broad audience of professional and amateur botanists. The program serves as a liaison between the scientific community and the public. Upcoming workshops with space remaining held at NRS reserves are listed below. 

Apr. 20-23
50 Plant families in the field: Monterey Bay
Instructor: Linda Beidleman

This workshop at Hastings Natural History Reservation and Monterey Bay field sites introduces students to the flora of the San Francisco Bay region and techniques used to identify plants of California. Emphasis will be on learning to recognize characteristics of plant families. Practice keying plants in the field using the third edition of Plants of the San Francisco Bay Region: Mendocino to Monterey (Beidleman and Kozloff, 2014). The workshop is geared towards beginning botanists. Students must attend all four days because introductory information lays the foundation for the rest of the workshop. 

Apr. 28-30
Northern California seaweeds
Instructor: Kathy Ann Miller

This workshop focuses on the common intertidal seaweeds of Bodega Head. Home base, Bodega Marine Reserve and Laboratory, offers easy access to the field. Collecting will occur during morning low tides on Saturday (8 a.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m.). The basics of seaweed ecology will be discussed in the field. Detailed studies of seaweed identity and form will occur. in the lab during the afternoons. Beginners and experienced seaweed enthusiasts are welcome, especially photographers keen to contribute photos to California Seaweeds, an online seaweed flora.  


tule elk at Point Reyes National Seashore

NRS - Pt. Reyes internships

Current and recent UC undergrads have a prime chance to gain field experience working for the National Park Service this summer. Offered exclusively through a partnership between the NRS and Point Reyes National Seashore, these four positions let interns monitor grasslands, observe rare birds or tule elk, survey archeological sites, or study rare plants at this spectacular northern California park. Apply by March 1. Read more >>
Insect sampling Angelo

Fall field course

The NRS is accepting applications for the Fall 2017 version of California Ecology and Conservation. This field course is a seven week tour of NRS reserves open to undergrads from every UC campus. Students learn to conduct field studies in the natural world, absorb a wealth of information about California natural history, and apply statistics and scientific writing skills to research projects of their own devising. Applications are being accepted for Fall 2017 from Feb. 6. to Apr. 20. Read more >>
Boyd chuckwalla

Mayhew Grad Student Grants

Chuckwallas, barrel cacti, climate change gradients, hummingbirds, ocotillo, and so much more are awaiting attention from graduate student researchers at the NRS's Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center. To sweeten the deal, this Coachella Valley reserve is offering grants of up to $4,200 to grad students enrolled at accredited universities who plan to conduct projects in or headquartered at the reserve. The Mayhew Graduate Research Grants honor Wilbur "Bill" Mayhew, a UC Riverside professor who helped found the NRS. Read more >>


Feb. 11  Sedgwick Reserve Public Hikes
2  p.m. 3566 Brinkerhoff Rd., Santa Ynez, CA

Easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes led by docents who will describe the reserve's geological and ecological features are available. Please register in advance.

Feb. 22 What is the value of a tree?
4:30 p.m. Cafe Aroma Gallery/Library, 54750 N. Circle Dr., Idyllwild, CA

This interdisciplinary panel discussion will examine the role of trees in global culture, from the source of Newton's apple to the location of Buddha's enlightenment to their importance in the sciences, health, and technology. Moderated byJen Gee, director of James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve

Woolly bears

Though blessed with a luxurious pelt of fuzz, the woolly bear takes no chances to ensure it will live through North America's freezing winters. Cold season survival skills are essential since Pyrrharctia isabella ranges up to southern Alberta. The caterpillar's tissues are infused with a form of antifreeze that enables the it to revive after being frozen solid. In spring, the caterpillar spins a cocoon out of silk and metamorphoses into the striking orange and black Isabella tiger moth. Image credit: Clayton Anderson


UC Merced bird researcher expands knowledge about reserve's kestrels
Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve
Sierra Sun Times

Kelp helping kelp
Santa Cruz Island Reserve
The UCSB Current

Red crabs deposited on Sonoma Coast
Bodega Marine Reserve
The Press Democrat
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