A half century ago, a University of California professor named Ken Norris realized that, as urbanization intensified across the Golden State, natural scientists like himself would steadily lose places to conduct research. The young UCLA professor quickly won the support of UC president Clark Kerr, and in 1965, the UC Regents forever preserved seven properties in the name of research and education. The Natural Reserve System (NRS), as it became known, now features 39 reserves, representing almost every one of California’s incredibly unique and sensitive ecosystems.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the NRS, and UCSB — which runs seven reserves, the most out of any campus — is hosting a series of events throughout October to celebrate. Among other highlights and open houses, there is a talk with NRS Director Peggy Fiedler at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on October 1, a SCAPE art show at the Montecito Country Club October 24-25, and a harvest dinner at the Sedgwick Reserve on November 7. See nrs.ucsb.edu/events for a full calendar.
To coincide with the anniversary, The Santa Barbara Independent brings you this collection of articles, including interviews with leaders, reflective nature essays, and profiles of both special places and people. And stay tuned for more NRS pieces from around the state throughout our October issues, as well as at independent.com/NRS.
“As time goes on and the state’s population grows, the reserves will become more and more precious…We can’t know now what scientific questions might arise, but we can make sure the resources to answer those questions are available. What we’re doing is opening the doors and providing the opportunities for those who follow in our footsteps”. — Ken Norris, NRS founder
Interviews with NRS Leaders
“I doubt that I’ll do anything more important in my term of office…If any place in the world had one of everything, it was California. It was worth preserving some of this great variety….The Regents and I were impressed that an awful lot of California was just disappearing, and disappearing forever.” — Clark Kerr, UC President who greenlit the NRS program