UC’s Natural Reserve System: Read all about it in new NRS newsletter
From President Napolitano’s inspiring visit with UC Merced students in Yosemite, to stones that leave mysterious tracks in a Death Valley lakebed, to a young camper’s poem portraying herself as a hummingbird.
You can read these stories and more in the new newsletter of the University of California Natural Reserve System, a monthly online publication that made its debut last week.
The newsletter is a digest of research reports and stories about activities in the Natural Reserve System’s 39 protected nature areas statewide, each associated with a UC campus. They protect 756,000 acres of natural ecosystems that serve as a gateway to more than 1 million acres of public lands.
UC’s NRS network began with seven reserves, founded in 1965 to provide undisturbed environments for research, education and public service. Today the NRS is the world’s largest university-administered natural reserve system. It is a program of Academic Affairs, administered by a staff of seven at UCOP’s Franklin building.
“The sheer size of the reserve system enables it to leverage field and marine research across the state and country,” said Kathleen Wong, NRS science writer. Collaboration across the system, Wong added, facilitates collection of research data and sources of funding to guide future activities.
Some of the reserves have campgrounds, accommodations and labs, while others have little more than a fence around the habitat. In addition to serving as preserves and research stations, the system offers public programs that serve as living laboratories for K–12 students, postgraduates and others. For example:
- The Adventure Risk Challenge is a six-week intensive residency where high school students combine leadership challenges with outdoor adventure.
- The California Naturalist Program is an 11-week adult course that combines classroom and field experience in science with community service, in an effort to build a corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists.
The NRS newsletter, which evolved from a 25-year-old print magazine, is designed for researchers and campus staff working for the reserves as well as anyone with an interest in natural history and science. Opt in to get your copy.