Campus Resource: Natural Reserve System, an Incredible Outdoor Laboratory

eSlug Newsletter Spring 2015

Ano Nuevo Island.

Researcher Rick Condit conducts a census of elephant seals at the Año Nuevo Island Reserve. NMFS 14636.

Fifth installment in a series of articles on campus resources at UC Santa Cruz. Brought to you by eSlug!

A unique feature of UC Santa Cruz is our incredible natural reserves for study and enjoyment—some of which are right on campus. Students can take advantage of these beautiful places through their coursework, internships, and research projects.

The University of California Natural Reserve System (NRS) is a unique assemblage of 39 protected wild land sites throughout California. The reserves encompass nearly all of the state's major ecosystems, preserved in as undisturbed a condition as possible to support University-level research and teaching programs. UC Santa Cruz manages four of these NRS sites that are spread along 60 miles of the central coast: Año Nuevo Island Reserve (25 acres), Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve (4,200 acres), Fort Ord Natural Reserve (606 acres), and Younger Lagoon Reserve (72 acres). The UCSC NRS also administers the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve (409 acres). The reserves offer a wealth of opportunities for students to get involved in research, education, and land management. Students can participate in volunteer restoration days, 2- or 5- unit internships, long-term research projects, and class field trips. These experiences provide students with hands-on learning and give them valuable skills that they can use in classes, internships, and careers.

Ford Ord Community Walk.

Fort Ord Community Walk.

Please see the web sites below or contact UCSC Natural Reserves for more information (

Año Nuevo Island Reserve: Patrick Robinson, Reserve Manager

Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve: Mark Readdie, Reserve Manager

Fort Ord Natural Reserve: Gage Dayton, Reserve Steward

Students sampling vegetation at Younger Lagoon Reserve.

Students sampling vegetation at Younger Lagoon Reserve.

Younger Lagoon Reserve: Tim Brown, Restoration Steward

UCSC Campus Natural Reserve: Alex Jones, Reserve Steward

Additional Information:
Año Nuevo Research

UCSC Environmental Studies Department Internships