Though other UC campuses are marking the 50th anniversary of the Natural Reserve System with special events, UCSB is taking this anniversary to the next level. That’s thanks in part to the work of UCSB NRS Director Trish Holden and her “lean and mean” team, whose efforts since she was appointed in July 2011 are really invigorating the system statewide.
Part of that is because UCSB enjoys quite a concentration of reserves. “We have seven of the 39 reserves,” said Holden. “We have the most out of any UC.”
Soon after she took over, Holden’s team hosted the UC system’s first NRS Day, in which various scientists, researchers, and even landscape artists came to meet, discuss, and present their experience with the system. “The sheer joy of all the different speakers talking about their research — from the humanities and paintings of the reserves to studying marine mammals and flora and fauna of our terrestrial system — that propagated through the NRS system,” said Holden. “We’ve been really pleased to see that other campuses are having NRS days.”
UCSB’s NRS program is also a leader in fundraising, which is an integral part of the reserve management. “We do receive some funding from UCOP, but it’s not sufficient by any stretch to do what we need to do,” she said. “It’s recognized throughout the system how important fundraising is. That way, the NRS is able to keep the doors open and the lights on.”
To Holden, the benefits of keeping those doors open even exceed the stated goals of research and education. “These are like satellite identities for the UC system,” she said. “We don’t have a UC campus at Mammoth, but we do have those two reserves. So they have really great value not only in their mission of research and education, but by simply reminding people that the UC system is out there and working on behalf of the state in all these locations.”