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September 2019

A trailblazing plan to fight wildfire

Dense forests choked with underbrush that haven't burned in decades are overtaking the Sierra's once-varied habitats. These overgrown stands of young trees fuel catastrophic wildfires and diminish precious water supplies. As reported by The New Yorker, the NRS's Sagehen Creek Field Station has been at the center of an effort to reform the management of California's forests. Supported by environmentalists and foresters alike, the approach could revitalize ecosystems across the Sierra Nevada. Read more >>

Saving nesting season

The western snowy plovers nesting at the NRS's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve are in good hands. Come predators or high water, reserve director Cristina Sandoval goes the extra mile to ensure the survival of vulnerable eggs and chicks. Reserve efforts are bolstered by a partnership with the Santa Barbara Zoo, which now cares for rescued plovers until they're ready to return to the wild. Read more >>

An outdoor classroom for coastal research

The NRS's Younger Lagoon Reserve is one of the few relatively undisturbed wetlands remaining along the Central Coast. The 25-acre lagoon and 47-acre "terrace lands" protect freshwater marsh, saltwater marsh, riparian willow, coastal strand (back dune), coastal scrub, coastal grassland, seasonal freshwater wetlands, and the brackish lagoon. These protected habitats help students learn about the environment, implement field projects, obtain hands-on field experience, and participate in research and stewardship projects.

Fall drawing at Valentine Camp

This autumn, the NRS's Valentine Camp is offering the chance to explore drawing, journaling, sketching, and composition inspired by one of the most gorgeous spots in Mammoth Lakes. All classes meet at the entrance gate to the reserve at 2380 Old Mammoth Rd., Mammoth Lakes. Register in advance online, by emailing Carole Lester, or by calling 760-914-3722.

Drawing at the Valentine Reserve
Sept. 22, 29  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Spend a few hours at the reserve walking and skteching the micro and the macro of the environment in pencil and pen with instructor Lori Michleon. Supplies included. $60

Journaling at Valentine—The art of naming
Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Naming and walking are two of the most primal things we do. Spend the day with instructor Kyle Oslund experiencing one of the most pristine places in the Sierra Nevada. $60


Researchers turn to public to count wildlife on Año Nuevo Island
Año Nuevo Island Reserve
Santa Cruz Sentinel

UCD students create app for Stebbins Cold Canyon
Stebbins Cold Canyon
Davis Enterprise

Perspectives of U.S. National Park Service employees on university-National Park field station partnerships
NRS-NPS partnership reserves
International Journal of Wilderness

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Summer CEC Research

Across much of California, summer is field season. That's definitely true for the summer 2019 students of the NRS's California Ecology and Conservation course. After traveling around California from reserve to reserve, learning about regional ecology and gaining field techniques all the while, the course came to rest at the NRS's Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory and Valentine Camp in Mammoth Lakes. Students spent the long, balmy days conducting studies on ants, soil development, aspen quaking, and more. Their final research papers are collected in the Summer 2019 edition of CEC Research. Read more >>

I wanna be close to you...

Seals and sea lions are positively thigmotactic—that is, they love snuggling up next to, or on top of, one another in steamy, squirmy, snoozing heaps. This preference makes eminent sense for a warm-blooded marine mammal. When you emerge soaking wet from a chilly ocean, plastering yourself to another body is the fastest way to get warm and dry. The downside: withstanding the snarls of the outraged animal you've gotten all wet again. This pile of pinnipeds was photographed at the NRS's Año Nuevo Island Reserve by reserve manager Patrick Robinson.

Sierra berry season

The conventional calendar suggests we're already in autumn. But summer is still in full swing in the higher reaches of the Sierra Nevada. Case in point: the Vaccinium plants at the NRS's Sagehen Creek Field Station near Truckee. Growing in a waterlogged, nutrient-poor fen, these dwarfed members of the blueberry/ huckleberry family were still offering up their tart and tiny fruits in late August.

Jepson Herbarium Workshop

UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium partners with the NRS to provide educational opportunities for those interested in California's native flora. 

Sept. 20 - 22
GIS for botanists
Heather Constable and Michelle Koo
Hastings Natural History Reservation

Spend a weekend mapping at the NRS's Blue Oak Ranch Reserve. This introductory GIS (Geographic Information System) workshop will provide the fundamentals required to create maps and conduct simple analyses. Map points, lines, and polygons with rasters, and gain fundamentals in geography, mapping, land cover, and other spatial data. Learn to use the Quantum GIS program, and discover where to get freely available data. Get an overview of the spatial technology necessary to answer questions about biodiversity, conservation, ecology, and related fields in a manner useful for botanists, naturalists, and consultants working with field or historic data. Attendees should bring their own laptops so they can leave with a fully operational GIS workflow. Learn more and register >>

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