We are working with UC faculty to plan field trips and are discussing short- and long-term studies. The close proximity of the reserve to campus means that professors can easily take classes out in the field. We've begun training undergraduates (the "Reserve Naturalist Training" program) to become naturalist field trip leaders so that we can expand the learning that takes place. In spring 2014 and 2015 we led field trips for 16 K-12 classes to teach them about ecology, soils, and habitat stewardship; we hope to continue this in spring 2016.
An automatic weather station near the reserve collects data and we've placed three rain gages across the lands. The reserve will need technical infrastructure in order to monitor the changeable conditions of the soils and the variation in the hydrological cycle. The distribution and abundance of plants and animals will be documented and their natural history and ecological requirements will be explained and interpreted for students and visitors.
We also plan to build a field station which will have overnight accommodations (a bunkroom) for students from other UC campuses, a kitchen, a small meeting room, and an office for reserve staff. It will be a place where professors and grad students can store equipment and supplies.
An important reference work that provides a wealth of useful information on the local environment and ecological relations is the report prepared in 2002 by environmental consultant John Vollmar, summarizing studies of eastern Merced County grasslands and vernal pools.