About the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve

Outdoor Classrooms, Living Laboratories

Forest Ecology Research Plot undergraduates study forest ecology using sonic tomographyLand Acknowledgement

The land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.



The UCSC Campus Natural Reserve covers 789 acres of protected natural lands on the UC Santa Cruz campus. This land was set aside as part of the 2021-2040 UCSC Long Range Development Plan to preserve the natural communities for teaching, field research and natural history interpretation. These lands are an outdoor classroom and living library and laboratory. Students can literally walk outside their classrooms and dorms and study nature in nature.


What We Do

A UCSC Campus Natural Reserve stewardship intern cleans up the campus.The UCSC Campus Natural Reserve focuses on engaging students in direct observation and study of the natural world and bridging concepts learned in the class with hands-on experiences. These experiences help solidify theories learned in lectures and provide real life skillsets and transformative experiences for students that frequently function as springboards into internships, jobs, and graduate school. Additionally, these opportunities provide students with a better understanding of a “sense of place” and the greater community they are part of. Each university quarter, our agency supports multiple internships related to the fields of ecology, restoration, land management, forestry, environmental studies, and others. Reserve staff also support undergraduate and graduate and faculty studies on campus lands.