In the field, students learn by doing. They readily absorb concepts difficult to teach in a traditional classroom, such as how to set up a transect, obtain tissue samples from wildlife, or observe animal behavior using professional standards. They experience what the land smells and feels like—and discover clues to the workings of an ecosystem. Their direct observations enrich lectures and textbook readings. Being outdoors lets students witness for themselves the importance of ecological relationships, and the interconnectedness of species.
More than 150 undergraduate courses across the UC system visit NRS reserves each year. Class subjects range from botany to zoology, archaeology to environmental planning, public health to the performing and visual arts. Reserves welcome university-level courses on virtually all topics of study; photography and outdoor writing are considered as valid as the natural sciences. Institutions from around the world bring their classes to the NRS to learn.