UC Natural Reserve System Field Course Grant Application (under development)

The UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) contains some of California’s most quintessential landscapes and wildlife. To provide an opportunity for students who would otherwise be unable to visit the NRS a chance to do so, the Coastal Fund will support class trips to the following reserves: Santa Cruz Island, Carpinteria Salt Marsh, Rancho Marino, Sedgwick Ranch, and Coal Oil Point Reserve. The purpose of this grant is to provide funds for transportation, food, classroom space, and lodging (if needed) for a field trip to one of these coastal, UCSB-managed reserves.

The Coastal Fund will prioritize funding for classes in disciplines where students traditionally do not go out into the field or where support for fieldwork is not provided, yet where the field trip would still benefit the class’ experience. In addition, the Coastal Fund will prioritize classes that have not received funding in the past. The Coastal Fund would like to encourage creative uses of the NRS and to ultimately expand the use of the NRS to a broader range of disciplines. 


The Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve protects a critically important Southern California estuary which supports many sensitive plant and animal species. The site includes extensive wetland and channel habitats along with some uplands. It lies adjacent to a sandy beach, subtidal rocky reef, and kelp beds. The reserve provides habitat for migratory waterfowl as well as endangered plants and animals such as the salt marsh bird’s-beak, light-footed clapper rail, and Belding’s savannah sparrow. The Marsh serves as an important regional nursery for halibut and other marine and estuarine fish.  Visit the reserve page here.


The Coal Oil Point Reserve, located adjacent to Isla Vista, is one of the best remaining examples of a coastal-strand environment in Southern California. Its largely undisturbed coastal dunes support a rich assemblage of dune vegetation, while older and more stable backdunes are covered with southern coastal scrub habitat. In the heart of the reserve, Devereux Slough is a seasonally flooded tidal lagoon that dries out in the summer to form salt flats and hypersaline ponds and channels. A variety of intertidal habitats occur along the sandy beach and the large rocky reef at the point. Located adjacent to the Santa Barbara campus, the reserve provides a unique and accessible research and teaching resource. Visit the reserve page here.


The K.S.N. Rancho Marino Reserve is located 130 miles north of the UCSB campus in Cambria, CA and includes an extensive rocky shoreline, freshwater ponds, coastal grasslands, and pine and oak forests. The Reserve encompasses two miles of coastline and 500 acres, including 225 acres of native Monterey Pines, coastal prairie, and coastal scrub. The White Rock Marine Protected Area, off of the Reserve’s coast, is part of California’s network of Marine Protected Areas. Visit the reserve page here.


The Santa Cruz Island Reserve is located roughly 25 miles South from Santa Barbara on a 54,000 acre portion of Santa Cruz Island owned by The Nature Conservancy, which is also within the Channel Islands National Park. Its diverse habitats include rocky intertidal zones, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, grasslands, oak woodlands, and bishop pine forests as well as breeding grounds for harbor seals, seabird nesting colonies, many endemic plant and animal species, and well-preserved archaeological sites.  Visit the reserve page here.


The Sedgwick Reserve encompasses 9.2 square miles on the southern slopes of the San Rafael Mountains located in the Santa Ynez Valley, approximately 40 miles from the UCSB campus.  Diverse vegetation types include coast live oak forest, blue oak woodland, valley oak savannah, buckbrush chaparral, coastal sage scrub, grassland, willow riparian forest, serpentine outcroppings, and agricultural lands. The site contains major portions of two watersheds and a variety of localized wetland habitats, notably vernal pools. The region has a rich Native American heritage, and at least one Middle Chumash habitation site (1,500 to 2,000 years old) rests on site. Visit the reserve page here.