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Grassland Summer Cleanup

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

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.

Coyote Pups

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

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.

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.

Preserving Nature

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

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

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.

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

Long-billed Curlews Winging Overhead

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

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.

Soil profiles

Soil scientists examine soil layers that underlie the vernal pools.

Spring 2014 Service Learning Team

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

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.

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

Drought leaves stock ponds dry

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

Science Education

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

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.

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.

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.

Blog

September 7, 2014

This summer, the Reserve purchased a four-wheel drive, gas-powered John Deere Gator. This four-seater ATV is perfect for the dirt roads and rolling hills of the Reserve.  It has high clearance and lacks windows and a roof, so we get a commanding 360 degree view of the landscape, the sky, and the birds soaring by. It has a bed for hauling supplies and extra storage under the rear seat. We’ve made 10 trips so far with Colusa (named for a very rare vernal pool grass, Neostapfia colusana...