Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sagehen Collections Manager moving on

Cooling the feet on a plant hunting expedition last year.
In sort of a good news/bad news scenario, Sagehen's Collections Manager, Erica Krimmel is moving on to accept a position with the Chicago Academy of Sciences.

Erica came to us 3 or 4 years ago, basically saying, "I just graduated and I'd like to keep my museum curator skills sharp while I decide what to do next with my life. Do you have anything going on here that I could help with?"

We looked around and saw that our bear mount had a nose damaged by a wood rat, so we asked if she could fix it. She did. Then we looked around next and said, "Well, we have these old teaching collections of plants and animals. Why don't you take a look and let us know if you have any ideas." It was really that basic--none of us had any idea this would become important.

But we went on to organize, then digitize our collections together, along with partners like the Berkeley Natural History Museums. We expanded the collections to include more of the basin's species, created a new herbarium collection for the North Fork of the American River properties we also manage for research, and captured historical botanical data for that area.

As a result of our efforts, we have triggered numerous new research projects using these new digital resources, began documenting our biota lists, discovered new species in the basin, added related citizen science monitoring projects using iNaturalist and California Naturalist, and expanded our efforts into the UC Natural Reserve System's other properties, the Organization of Biological Field Stations, Symbiota, and iDigBio, which are national efforts.

In the intervening time, Erica completed an on-line Master's degree, received a fellowship that paid for it (largely based on her efforts here at Sagehen), and she just accepted her first museum job at the Chicago Academy of Sciences. She is now working on the national scale, as one of the budding new experts in the digital collections field.

We are really proud of Erica, and incredibly sad to lose her and her partner Travis, who did Sagehen's catering.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Garage Apartment renovation finished!

Dan did a fantastic job--check out those window and door boxes, built from the building's salvaged redwood siding!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

From Science to Solutions...

Jeff worked with the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS), National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), and University of Maryland's Integration and Application Network (IAN) to produce this new brochure about the National Academy of Science's recent publication stating the importance of, and need to support Field Stations.

Please share!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New trail guide.

Sagehen California Naturalist Kitty Williamson has completed a great hiking guide to Lower Sagehen Creek.

Busy meeting schedule this year!

Autumn is always meeting time for Sagehen, but this fall has been particularly busy.

AC3 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
Curator Linda Miller gives us a peek at SBNHM's remarkable
collection of antique natural history prints. 
Helen and Newton Harrison at the Art + Environment

UCNRS Managers meet in the sun at Wawona.
We started early this season, with the Global Fair and Workshop on Mountain Observatories, held in Reno, NV from July 16-19. This conference was created by the Swiss Mountain Research Institute (MRI), led by our friend Greg Greenwood. It grew out of discussions we had while ski-touring together in the Alps, and is resulting in a new Mountain Observatory Network centered under the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS).

Next up was the UC Natural Reserve System 10-year review of Sagehen and Chickering, September 3-4. The event included a BBQ with many of our partners, and included the hand-off from Jim Kirchner to our new Faculty Director, Rauri Bowie. The party turned out to be one of the most powerful events that has happened during our tenure at Sagehen, with our partners able to see--often for the first time--how their efforts feed into the larger program.

Then came a joint meeting of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) and the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), held September 20-23 in Wood's Hole, MA. This was the best, most productive OBFS meeting in years, highlighting a new publication by the National Academy of Sciences about the future of field stations and marine labs (FSMLs).

Soon after returning from Cape Cod, we headed to Santa Barbara, CA for an iDigBio Workshop October 6-9. iDigBio is a National Science Foundation initiative encouraging digitization of museum and field station collections, which constitute "dark data" that is very useful in global change research, but which is unavailable in its current form. With Erica's recent push to digitize and expand Sagehen's collections, it was nice to see we are on track, learn some new tricks, and to meet some potential new partners.

Flying back from Santa Barbara, we didn't even return home before attending the Nevada Museum of Art's remarkable triennial Art + Environment Conference in Reno, NV, October 9-11. Sagehen is working hard to expand our art program, and it was fantastically helpful to get the perspective of and make connections with people working from the other direction to make art that creates change in the world.

Finally, we drove down to the UC Natural Reserve System manager's meeting at the Yosemite Field Station in Wawona, October 14-16. This annual event is a great way to reconnect with people who have similar issues, and to work together to find networked solutions.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Recent interviews about fire ecology

Jeff watches the Meadow fire blow up.
With one of the driest seasons on record making things desperate, fire ecology is in the news.

Here's a good interview about California fires from Scott Stephens, one of the early Sagehen Forest Project researchers.

And another from Malcolm North.

To cut or not to cut? Malcolm North was behind GTR-220, a big influence on the Sagehen Forest Project.

You can watch videos about fire science at Sagehen on Sagehen TV.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Faculty Director for the Central Sierra Field Research Stations

From Jeff Brown, Director, UC Berkeley - Central Sierra Field Research Stations...


Hey all,

Rauri Bowie sampling the somewhat
startling Chickering Soda Spring.
We are pleased to welcome a new Faculty Director to Sagehen and Chickering. This all came together quite recently and we are very pleased to welcome Rauri Bowie to our world. We also want to acknowledge Jim Kirchner’s service as well as his new role as Senior Advisor/Faculty Director emeritus.

Rauri is an Ornithologist with a split appointment between the UCB Integrative Biology Department and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Rauri will add yet another layer to the interesting research/education/public service here at Sagehen.

His research broadly encompasses the seven interrelated research themes described below:
Jim Kirchner at the spring. One of
these men has tasted the spring
before: which do you think it is?

  1. Determination of the timing and direction of African-Asian faunal exchanges; 
  2. The use of molecular markers, morphology, molt (in birds) and GIS to infer current and historical population processes at various temporal and spatial scales across different landscapes - including rainforest sky-islands in tropical Africa, the arid-savanna/fynbos/forest ecotone in southern Africa, mountain systems of California, and among isolated colonies of seabirds and other marine fauna; 
  3. Investigation of evolutionary versus ecological processes as determinants of distribution patterns; 
  4. Evolution of life-history traits, extent of sex-ratio manipulation and extra-pair paternity in birds; 
  5. Diversification and taxonomy of sunbirds (Old-World ecological analogues of hummingbirds); 
  6. Disease ecology of avian malaria; 
  7. Investigation of candidate loci underpinning morphological and physiological adaptation. 
His research is question driven as opposed to taxon driven, although he primarily focuses on birds (particularly from Africa). He also has a keen interest in the evolutionary biology of small mammals, marine molluscs, inshore rockfish and insects.

He has recently launched projects much closer to home in the Sierras. So please join us in welcoming Rauri to our world!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Collections Activity Report, 2014

For the past three years, Erica Krimmel has been running the Sagehen collections program.

It's been a huge amount of fun, but after reading this report, you'll see that we've also really accomplished a lot!