Happy World Nature Conservation Day!! Observed worldwide on July 28th of every year, this day aims to create awareness about protecting and conserving nature. The UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve (MVPGR) is a great example of protected conservation lands that create awareness about the natural world, land conservation, and stewardship. Located directly adjacent to the University of California, Merced campus, the reserve is comprised of 6,500 protected acres of intact vernal pool and grassland habitat. Founded in 2013, the MVPGR became a part of the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) in 2014, where it is the 39th reserve in the UC Natural Reserve System (UCNRS), whose mission is to contribute to the understanding and wise stewardship of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research and public service. The MVPGR benefits the University of California system and Central Valley local communities, as well as national and global communities, by protecting sensitive vernal pool habitats and rare and endangered organisms, while also allowing students, faculty, and researchers to learn about, investigate, and ask ecological research questions that have relevance at local, national, and global scales! Photo credit: Sean Werle.