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February 2019

How elephant seals learn to swim

Northern elephant seals are a precocious bunch. Within a month of birth, their mothers leave them on the beach to fend for themselves. Then, driven by hunger, instinct, or a combination of both, they head to sea for ten straight months. En route they teach themselves to dive, fish, sleep on the waves, and dodge predators. For the first time, researchers at the NRS's Año Nuevo Island Reserve have a glimpse into how pups master life in the ocean. Read more >>

Groundwater key to drought survival for California forests

The water stashed away in the root zone of forests is what sees California forests through multi-year droughts. New research by UC scientists at the NRS's James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve and other sites across the West highlight how dependent forests are on groundwater storage to see them through dry years. But California's highly variable rain and snowfall levels puts Golden State forests at greater risk. Read more >>

Reviving field research

The economic boom that followed World War II also swallowed many of the natural landscapes scientists used for research and teaching. To preserve these outdoor laboratories, enterprising University of California faculty established the largest university-led network of natural reserves. Today, the NRS is an incubator for environmental scientists and a source of important discoveries helping people live in harmony with nature. Read more >>

2019 Simes Fund awards

The NRS's Hastings Natural History Reservation has awarded William Simes Research Fund grants to two graduate students conducting field research at the reserve. Congrats to Kacie Ring, studying ticks and Lyme disease, and Russell Winter, observing cooperative acorn woodpecker behavior.  Read more >>

Sustainability Report

UC's 2018 Sustainability Report showcases the NRS's California Heartbeat Initiative, an effort to ensure a resilient future for California using forecasting information from natural landscapes. Flip to page 26 to learn more about the innovations of CHI and the NRS's central role connecting Californians with nature. Read more >>

Grad funding from Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserves

The NRS's Valentine Eastern Sierra is offering funding for graduate students conducting research at either the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory or Valentine Camp Reserve. Graduate students from any accredited institution may receive up to $1,500 to fund research conducted on reserves as well as surrounding lands. Apply soon, as the deadline is March 15. Read more >>

Painting water 

Feb. 23, noon - 4 PM
Younger Lagoon Reserve

Painting water requires an understanding of light, movement and reflection. Spend the afternoon studying water, and sketching both moving ocean waves and the still waters of the NRS's Younger Lagoon Natural Reserve in western Santa Cruz. Join renowned Santa Cruz artist Erika Perloff for a beautiful day at the water’s edge. No previous art experience required. Art materials provided. Register online>>

Wild walk 

Join the NRS's Coal Oil Point Reserve and Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network the morning of Sat., Feb. 23 for a ramble around the reserve focusing on the species found in the reserve, reasons why individuals might be in trouble, and how they can be rescued, rehabilitated, and released. RSVP >>


An elephant seal's maiden voyage
Año Nuevo Island Reserve
National Geographic 

Insects show the healing of toxic metal mining
Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory
Environmental Monitor

Primed for a floral decoration
Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
Los Angeles Times

How scientists pack butterflies, frogs, and turtles for transport
Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory
The Conversation

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