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Meadow foam & Whitetip Clover

These lovely wildflowers were in full bloom in early April. Photo by Jenna Heckel.
Meadowfoam and Whitetip Clover

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. Photo by David Rosen

Soil profiles

On an area adjacent to the Reserve, scientists examine soil layers that underlie the vernal pools.
Soil scientists at UC Merced. Photo by C. Swarth.

Preserving Nature

With 6,500 protected acres, UC Merced will always have majestic views of a spectacular natural landscape.
Grasslands and blue sky. Photo by Clayton Anderson.

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.
Burrowing Owl looking out from a ground squirrel burrow. Photo by Chris Swa

Coyote Pups

These coyote pups were photographed with our motion sensor camera on a June afternoon at the Hercules watering tank.
Three coyote pups in Vernal Pools Reserve, UC Merced.

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

Lizard Sighting

On August 6, 2015 we spotted the first common side-blotched lizard recorded on the Grasslands Reserve

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.

The Wild Side

The Reserve supports many native plants and animals that depend on this diverse, healthy ecosystem. This Least Sandpiper is foraging in a playa vernal pool.
Least Sandpiper in reserve playa pool. Photo by Chris Swarth

Predation In Action

One of our automatic, motion cameras snapped a photo of a Bobcat carrying off a California Ground Squirrel, reflecting predator-prey relationships.

Horned Lark Nest

Horned Larks are abundant nesting birds on the Reserve. Their nest is placed on the ground, often near a grass clump or cobble. Photo by Jenna Heckel.
Horned Lark Nest

Long-billed Curlews Winging Overhead

Long-billed Curlews, the world's largest shorebird, forage for insects on Reserve grasslands.
ng-billed Curlews flying over UC Merced's Vernal Pool Reserve. Photo by Dorothy Leland

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.
UC Merced Ecology students. Photo by Marilyn Fogel

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. Photo by David Rosen.

High over Black Rascal Creek

This false color image by Brandon Stark and Brenden Smith (UCM MESA lab) on March 4, 2015 reveals fine-scale elevational differences.

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.

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.
Great Blue Heron & White-faced Ibis at reserve wetland.

Spring 2014 Service Learning Team

A team of students designed an award-winning brochure, web page and interpretive sign for the Reserve.
Spring 2014 Service Learning Team

Blog

January 2, 2020

Please join our 4rd Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve on Thursday, January 2, 2020 (7am-3pm).  As part of the nation’s longest-running community science bird project (started in the year 1899!), the Audubon Society will be conducting bird counts between December 14, 2019 through January 5, 2020.  Thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many other countries in the western Hemisphere will be heading outside and tallying...

Announcements & Observations

ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR JOB ANNOUNCEMENT
UCM NATURAL RESERVE SYSTEM
 
UC Merced is searching for an administrative director to help oversee our Natural Reserve System (NRS) holdings. Please see the position description for more information. Applications are due by Friday, September 13th.
 
 
Please contact Jessica Blois for questions about the position!

 

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Associate Professor
School of Natural Sciences
University of California, Merced

Faculty Director
UC Merced Natural Reserve System


 
Office: SE1 296
Phone: (209) 228-2256
Email: jblois@ucmerced.edu
Web: http://jessicablois.com