Sagehen Events, 2008...

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Scroll down to see all events. Read our calendar for abstracts of research & education going on at Sagehen.

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2008 Sagehen Summer Speaker Series: "Exercise your brain this summer!"

June-August, 2008

Donate! SCFS   TRWC

Due to the success of our inaugural science speaker series & requests to make this an annual event, Sagehen Creek Field Station & the Truckee River Watershed Council have lined up another roster of interesting topics. The series begins in June and runs every other Thursday through the end of August. We pride ourselves on recruiting some of the top folks in the country to come and share their knowledge with the public. This year, some of the dates may also include an afternoon field trip. We'll post information on the speakers & topics as it becomes available (in May).

Watch a video of one of the past presentations, including:

A few requirements:

  1. Kids welcome!
  2. We will have trash receptacles in the meeting area.
  3. No pets beyond the main gate--no exceptions!
  4. We will have folks to assist you in parking; carpooling is a good thing!
  5. No fires!
  6. Folks with special access needs are asked to contact the station several days in advance so that we can make arrangements to accomodate these needs.

Directions to the station are available here, or download a printable information sheet

PDF Map and directions (286K). 11-30-02   PDF Information Sheet (323K). 5-20-03

The station opens to the public at 4:30pm (2:30 for field trips). We invite you to come in and bring a picnic dinner. The talks begin at 6:00pm & run until around 8:00pm.

Date: Speaker: Topic:

June 26


Sandra L. Jacobson
Wildlife Biologist
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Research Station


"Highway-89 Road Ecology"

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Highway-89 between Truckee & Sierraville has the highest incident of animal-vehicle collisions in California. It also has an animal carcass database dating back 40 years.

This presentation, targeted towards the public, will provide a brief account of the remarkable progress that a grass-roots group of interested
and engaged individuals from local, state, federal and academic affiliations can accomplish.

The Highway 89 Stewardship Team was formed in 2003 because of a shared interest in working towards effective solutions for wildlife impacts associated with Highway 89 from Truckee to Sierraville, CA.

The Stewardship Team was formed to increase the safety of drivers by reducing deer-vehicle collisions, to reduce vehicle-caused mortality to all wildlife species, and to reduce the barrier effect of the highway so that animals can move freely around their habitat.

The Highway 89 Stewardship Team has chosen three strategies to implement these objectives. We will implement mitigation measures, investigate the effectiveness through sound research, and share our results through education to children and adults.

This presentation will discuss our first five years of accomplishments, including our first wildlife crossing structure, our investigations into innovative fence designs to increase the effectiveness of structures, and our educational program with local Sierra County schools.

The Highway 89 Stewardship Team is comprised of individuals from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and Tahoe National Forest, Sagehen Creek Field Station, Sierra County Fish and Wildlife Commission, UC Cooperative Extension, and California Departments of Transportation and Fish and Game.

Watch a video of the presentation.

July 10


joe sapp

Joe Sapp, Ph.D. Candidate, UC Santa Cruz

"The Behavioral Ecology of Slave-Making Ants"

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Sagehen basin is home to many insect species, but perhaps none so fascinating as Polyergus breviceps, the slave-making ants. Joe says:

"Slave-making or "pirate" ants are social parasites that rob neighboring ant nests of eggs which are used as free labor after hatching. Though usually thought to be rare, initial studies and word on the street (dirt road?) indicate that the Sagehen creek watershed has a fairly high population density of the western species of obligate slave-maker, Polyergus breviceps.

Though they present excellent opportunities to study altruism, cheating, communication, co-evolution, and ecology, much remains unknown regarding the mechanisms, ecological consequences, and origins of slave-making strategies. Taking P. breviceps as an example, almost all that is known comes from one site in Arizona, and one in Colorado. Comparing and contrasting the findings at these two sites reveals interesting differences in the ecology and behavior of the species, but there is not enough data to infer why these differences occur.

Meanwhile in California, nothing has been published on P. breviceps behavior or ecology since 1916. My research aims to use P. breviceps and their Formica spp. hosts as a model system to study social parasitisms. I am interested in the interplay between ecology, behavior, and fitness. Specifically, I want to know how slave-making behavior is shaped by ecological forces and how slave-makers affect the species they enslave."

July 24



Dr. John Battles, UC Berkeley

"SPLATs: What we've learned at Sagehen."

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Download & read the recently completed Sagehen Ph.D. thesis on SPLATS.

Watch a video of the presentation.

August 7



Katie Moriarty
Master's Candidate, OSU

"Fading Indicators of the Wild, including the Wolverine"

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In this presentation I will primarily focus on my research with American marten (Martes americana). I will discuss natural history of martens in California, the history of marten research in the Sagehen basin, and field methods. I will expand on field methods this winter and how I managed to catch an unexpected photograph.


Once the wolverine discovery was public, our search for genetic material expanded leaps and bounds. This is a story all in itself, but I hope to show a few of the highlights and provide more background on how our wolverine was eventually identified. Ending, I hope to elaborate on the larger picture of ecosystem dynamics and carnivores' roles. Here I hope to provide detail on a few of our declining local carnivores (fisher, marten, Sierra Nevada red fox, and wolverine), how to identify these animals, and how you can help scientists document their occurrence for future records.

August 21


Cyndie Walck,
Cal. State Parks

"The Truckee River Watershed & Coldstream Canyon"

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Cyndie Walck will give a talk about the geology & natural history of the Truckee River watershed.

Cyndie is an engaging speaker & has worked in the Sierra Nevada for many years, managing stream, meadow & wetland restoration projects. She currently works with the Truckee River Watershed Council on two restoration projects in Coldstream Canyon. Her talk will focus on the natural forces that have shaped & continue to influence the Truckee River watershed.

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Carex Identification & Ecology Workshop

July 22-24, 2008


Please join the California Native Plant Society for a Carex Identification and Ecology workshop to be held at the Sagehen Creek Field Station in the northern Sierra Nevada, July 22-24.

For a few more details see below and for full details and registration go to

Carex Identification and Ecology workshop


  • Kerry Heise: Botanical consultant, workshop instructor
  • Geri Hulse-Stephens: Botanical consultant, workshop instructor, botanic illustrator
  • Peter Warner, Botanist, workshop instructor


  • CNPS members with lodging (tent space or shared cabin) and dinners - $450
  • CNPS members without lodging or dinners - $385
  • Non-members with lodging (tent space or shared cabin) and dinners - $475
  • Non-members without lodging or dinners - $410

If you are interested in our work exchange program for reduced or waived fees please go to for details.

Participants will learn:

  • To decipher the often difficult morphological characters of the genus Carex
  • Quick and easy ways to key to taxonomic group
  • To understand the language in the keys (what is pithy tissue?)
  • To navigate the troublesome Group 9
  • Habit and ecological factors for many California species
  • To recognize some species without keying (field identification of some common species)
  • To love and understand Carex

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Willows of the Sierra Nevada Workshop

July 25-29, 2008


The University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum will present a workshop on the Willows of the Sierra Nevada, also at Sagehen Creek Field Station, July 25-29, 2008. For a few more details see below and for full details and registration go to and register with the UCSC Arboretum by calling (831) 427-2998 or e-mailing

Willows of the Sierra Nevada Workshop with John Bair
Sponsored by the UCSC Arboretum in Collaboration with CNPS

Friday July 25- Tuesday July 29, 2008

Come join us for a rare look at high elevation willow species and explore the northern sierra high country.

The class will begin Friday evening with a brief introduction to the willow family, willow anatomy, distribution and ecology.

Fresh material of cottonwoods and willows will be available to illustrate the variety of vegetative and flowering characteristics used in The Jepson Manual keys. You are encouraged to bring your own problem willows and “stump the chump”-we’ll work through identifying it together. Additionally, the instructor will provide some helpful corrections and updates to The Jepson Manual key.

Saturday: the group will explore Sagehen Creek with an afternoon trip to a nearby lake and/or meadows.

Sunday: in the field visiting various locations throughout the Sierra Valley.

Monday: will be our push to the highest elevations of the weekend; we are planning a trip to Sierra Buttes!

Tuesday: morning we will pack up and say our goodbyes and for those folks that are interested John will be making a stop at the Spanish Creek Botanical area on Highway 70.

The goal of the workshop is to instill confidence about the floral and vegetative characteristics used in identifying high elevation willows in The Jepson Manual and to put an ecological context on the distribution and life styles of higher elevation willows.

Limited to 25 participants (including leaders and helpers)

There will be a few assistants along to help with identification and interpretation.
For more information on Sagehen Creek Field Station and surrounds see

Participants should bring a hand lens, dissection equipment including extra-fine forceps, and a copy of The Jepson Manual. These items would be helpful but are not essential. We will attempt to carpool wherever it makes the most sense. Lodging will be taken care of under the cost of the workshop. Food costs are the responsibility of participants. We plan to potluck dinners.

Further details will be available June 15 – July 1

Register with the UCSC Arboretum by calling (831) 427-2998 or e-mailing name, mailing address, phone, e-mail address.

Payment will be accepted by credit card by phone, or checks (payable to UC Regents) may be mailed to:

Arboretum at UCSC
1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Attn: Willow Class

Costs : $175 for Current UCSC Arboretum and/or CNPS members

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August 10-15, 2008

Sagehen Creek Field Station near Lake Tahoe, California
Why take this course?

River restoration has become big business in the US, with well over $17b spent on over 40 thousand projects since 1990. Despite strong public support and the magnitude of the investment, the field has not advanced as quickly as one might expect, because learning through post-project evaluation is rare, and insights from current research are often not effectively incorporated in planning and design. Not surprisingly, many restoration projects are ecologically ineffective or have washed out, although the extent of failure is hidden by the lack of post project evaluation. River restoration can be more effective when it is designed with an understanding of processes and the larger context, when it benefits from systematic learning from previous built projects, and when it is based on predictive connections between objectives and actions.

 This shortcourse emphasizes sustainable river restoration through:

  • understanding geomorphic and ecological processes in rivers
  • watershed-scale and longer-time scale context
  • incorporating insights from recent research in fluvial geomorphology and ecology
  • developing predictive connections between objectives and actions
  • analyses of effectiveness of built restoration projects
  • strategies to restore (where possible) physical and ecological processes in rivers
  • setting goals in the context of a continuum from urban-to-wilderness settings
  • developing restoration strategies and innovative management approaches based on understanding of underlying causes of channel or ecosystem change, rather than prescriptive approaches
  • knowing when to intervene and when the river can heal itself without meddling
Photos from 2006 Summer Shortcourse in Lake Tahoe, California:
image image image
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Registration & More information:

See this link for more information & contacts.

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ARC Program Fundraiser: June 14, 3:00-8:00pm


Hello supporters of the ARC program,

Family Fun In the Mountain Sun
A Community Fundraising Event to benefit ARC Adventure, Risk, Challenge Youth Literacy and Leadership program!

Roller Skating with live DJ • Rubicon pizza • Cold drinks
Fire engine • Firefighters • Raffle • Activities for children of all ages

Father’s Day Saturday at Northstar Resort
Saturday June 14 – 3:00pm – 8:00pm

Proceeds from food sales, raffle tickets and skate rentals donated to ARC Fund. Promoting local minority Youth Leadership and Academic Skill Building.

For More Information, visit:

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