Living Laboratories and Classrooms

The UC Natural Reserve System is a network of protected natural areas throughout California. Its 39 sites include more than 756,000 acres, making it the largest university-administered reserve system in the world. Most major state ecosystems are represented, from coastal tidepools to inland deserts, and lush wetlands to Sierra Nevada forests. The reserves also serve as a gateway to more than a million acres of public lands. Founded in 1965 to provide undisturbed environments for research, education, and public service, the Natural Reserve System contributes to the understanding and wise stewardship of the earth.

Research. Teach. Explore
The UC Natural Reserve System turns 50 in 2015. We're celebrating all year long with hikes, talks, and special events at a campus or reserve near you. Help us mark this momentous occasion by stopping by our information tables and attending our learning fairs. See for yourself how the NRS is training tomorrow's scientists and working to improve our understanding of the natural world.
NRS 50th Photo Album >>

Field Studies Program

The NRS Field Studies Program brings students from across the UC system to NRS reserves for immersion learning in classrooms without walls. Students will have the opportunity to study California habitats firsthand and gain a deeper understanding of the natural world.

Newsroom >>

NewsTracking climate change atop White Mountain
The GLORIA program surveys plants in the White Mountains as part of an international effort to track climate change in the places most vulnerable to global warming: alpine environments.

NewsRefugio oil spill fouls NRS reserve
The 2015 Refugio oil spill has harmed western snowy plovers and triggered major cleanup, wildlife rescue, and monitoring efforts at Coal Oil Point Reserve.


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