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5th Graders from Merced Public Schools

In spring, Reserve staff and "Splash" educators from Sacramento teach K-12 students about vernal pool ecology
5th Graders from Merced Public Schools

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.

Drought leaves stock ponds dry

With only about 6 inches of rain this year, the 10 cattle stock ponds dried up early.

Preserving Nature

With 6,500 protected acres, UC Merced will always have majestic views of a spectacular natural landscape.

Burrowing Owls Dwell in Reserve

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

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

Grasslands Cleanup volunteers filled 40 bags of trash! This included many plastic bags, styrofoam, plastic wrappers, beach balls and mylar balloons.

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

Coyote Pups

These coyote pups were photographed with our motion sensor camera on a June afternoon at the Hercules watering tank.

Spring 2014 Service Learning Team

A team of students designed an award-winning brochure, web page and interpretive sign for the Reserve.

Science Education

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

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.

Sightings on Reserve

Our motion sensor camera photographed this Great Blue Heron and three White-faced Ibis foraging on the Le Grand Canal leakage wetland on an August afternoon.

Dedication Ceremony

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

Soil profiles

Soil scientists examine soil layers that underlie the vernal pools.

Mima mounds

This aerial image taken 100 ft up by photographer David Rosen shows the remarkable Mima mound geomorphology in northern part of Reserve
Mima mounds in northern part of Reserve

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.

Precision fishing by Osprey on nearby wetland

This Osprey set off our motion sensor camera with this spectacular catch at the leakage wetland behind Lake Yosemite.

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.

Blog

October 19, 2014

Horned Larks can be seen year round in the Reserve. Look for these inconspicuous birds as they walk slowly in the short grass or as they fly in big flocks low and fast across the grassy slopes. The only true lark native to North America, these  small, gray-brown, short-legged birds are found in open country all across North America. They breed from the arctic tundra of northern Alaska, south through the highlands of southern Mexico. Flocks numbering in the hundreds or thousands stream...