Precision fishing by Osprey on nearby wetland

Osprey set off our wildlife camera with this spectacular catch.

Drought leaves stock ponds dry

With only 2 inches of rain so far this year, cattle stock ponds are dry or nearly dry.

Coyote Pups

Three coyote pups were captured with our motion sensor camera. Mom was out hunting, all the pups look healthy.

Chancellor Leland visits Reserve

Chancellor Leland, Reserve Director Chris Swarth and Kim Garner, Exec Asst. to the Chancellor, enjoy the view above Black Rascal Cr.

Reserve Dedication Ceremony

Chancellor Leland cuts the ribbon at the April 30 ceremony as Chris Swarth (L), Peggy Fiedler and Martha Conklin watch.
Chancellor Leland cuts ribbon as Chris Swarth (L), Peggy Fiedler and Martha Conklin watch.

Long-billed Curlews Winging Overhead

Long-billed Curlews, the world's largest shorebird, forage for insects on Reserve grasslands.

Site Visit

SNRI staff and members of a UC Natural Reserve System evaluation committee pause for a group photo during a tour of the Reserve.

Grassland Summer Cleanup

Volunteers for the Grasslands Cleanup collected 40 bags of trash! Among trash that was found were plastic bags, styrofoam, plastic wrappers, beach balls and more.

Burrowing Owls Dwell in Reserve

Burrowing Owls roost and nest in burrows, especially those of the California Ground Squirrel. They feed on beetles, grasshoppers and small rodents.

Sightings on Reserve

Our wildlife camera captured a Great Blue Heron and 3 White-faced Ibis as they foraged in a small wetland.

Vernal Pool Research

Vernal pools are fascinating, but rare ecosystems. Scientists have much to learn about the geological and hydrological processes that create and maintain them.

Science Education

The Reserve is convenient and accessible to undergraduates. A number of UC Merced professors now hold field trips there.

Stock Ponds

Stock ponds provide drinking water for the 1,600 cattle that graze on the Reserve. Some ponds are breeding sites for the federally threatened California Tiger Salamander.
Cattle Stock Pond in Reserve

Reserve Hike

UC Merced staff, faculty, and students set out with Reserve staff to explore Black Rascal Creek. Check out the Events section for our next hike.

The Wild Side

The Reserve supports many native plants and animals that depend on this diverse, healthy ecosystem. This Least Sandpiper is feeding in a playa vernal pool.

Preserving Nature

With 6,500 protected acres, UC Merced will always have a majestic view of the high Sierra and plenty of open space.


July 29, 2014

We went on two hiking trips on the Reserve. I really enjoyed both the day and the night hikes. We were able to experience something that we see everyday but now we actually got to SEE it and appreciate its beauty. Before I thought, so what? These are just fields of grass. The hikes opened up my eyes and I got to see all the little creatures that live there, their tunnels and caves. Even though the grass and most plants were dry, we loved to walk around and observe what nature had to offer....