Sagehen Events, 2015...

  What's happening at Sagehen?

2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

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

* * *

Sagehen Plant and Animal Monitoring with iNaturalist

Ongoing in 2015

Come help us document life in the Sagehen Basin!

Sagehen Creek Field Station is seeking volunteers to help photograph plants and animals located within the 9,000 acre research reserve to post to the website iNaturalist. You do not have to be a professional photographer to make a difference. If you can take a basic photo with any type of cell phone, tablet or digital camera and enjoy observing nature, the Field Station could really use your help!

Located twelve miles north of Truckee, CA., Sagehen Creek Field Station & the Sagehen Experimental Forest are research and teaching facilities of the University of California at Berkeley. Established with the assistance of Starker and Luna Leopold, sons of renowned conservationist, Aldo Leopold, the Field Station has a collection of over 60 years worth of scientific data that is used in diverse fields of study such as climate change, hydrology, and forest ecology.

As a volunteer, you will explore and learn more about the Field Station and Aldo Leopold’s idea of a “land ethic”, receive instruction on using the iNaturalist website, collect data and have an opportunity to meet others with similar interests. Land managers and scientists rely upon the information being gathered in this citizen science project. The program will run irregularly throughout the summer and fall.

For questions or to make a reservation: email, write “INAT” in the subject heading.

* * *

Sagehen Art

Ongoing in 2015

Sagehen has an exciting new art program, with current installations underway by Helen and Newton Harrison, and stpmj design firm. Additional projects are in the planning stage.

We are also working with Sierra Nevada College to develop a field component to their new MFA program.

Why have art at natural reserves?

Stay tuned for upcoming public events surrounding these artworks!

* * *

Sagehen Summer Speaker Series:



Sagehen Creek Field Station & partners have lined up a roster of interesting summer speakers this summer, themed around the topic of the Sagehen Forest Project.

In 2004 we began a journey that took us from testing a theory designed to interrupt forest fire behavior, to managing a forest more holistically through a collaborative process. Our speaker series this summer will take us back through that journey by telling 6 different stories. More information | Flyer

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:


Lisa Wallace, Truckee River Watershed Council

"The Sagehen Forest Project Collaborative Process: Our Story"

Talk sponsored by: Truckee River Watershed Council

June 24

Vance Russell, National Forest Foundation

“Forest Health – What is it? Why is it important? What are we doing to improve it?

Talk sponsored by: National Forest Foundation

July 8


Angela White, USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station

"Forests are critical habitat for wildlife. What are we doing to improve this habitat?"

Talk sponsored by: US Forest Service Tahoe National Forest - Truckee Ranger District

July 22


Rene Henery, Trout Unlimited

“Fish and water, and the role watersheds play”

Talk sponsored by: Trout, Unlimited

August 5


Jonathan Kusel, Sierra Institute for Community and Environment

“How does the money work? What is the benefit to our Local and State economies?”

Talk sponsored by: Sierra Nevada Conservancy

August 12


Jeff Brown, UC Berkeley Central Sierra Field Research Stations

“How will we know if this approach works? How is it affecting broader efforts? Thoughts for the future”

Talk sponsored by: UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station

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

* * *

Wildlife Tracking Workshop

January 9-10, 2015

Sagehen California Naturalist is hosting a weekend of wildlife tracking with Meghan Walla-Murphy. Join in the fellowship of nature enthusiasts on a trek through the forests of Sagehen Creek in the Sierras near Truckee, California.

Download flyer

Gain skills in:

  • animal and landscape pattern recognition
  • using various tracking methods to analyze gait and other signs
  • thinking like a tracker to find out how animals are moving, how they’re surviving through the winter
  • using field guides
  • journaling

Enjoy an evening by the fire, sharing stories of the land. Celebrate Spring and renewal immersed in the beauty of nature. Come away with a deeper connection to wildlife and understanding of place.

About Meghan:

Meghan’s 16 years of animal tracking has added skill and breadth to her work in conservation biology and citizen science. A lifelong tracking practice has led Meghan to co-
author with Dr. James Halfpenny, “Track Plates for Mammals,” travel extensively in the US, Brasil and South Africa to learn from diverse trackers, as well as deepen her relationship to place and ecology. For more information visit her website

To Register: Download form. Space is limited to 12.

Workshop Fee: $140, covers dinner Sat night, breakfast Sun a.m. and lodging in heated cabins at the Field Station.

Time: Meet at Sagehen Creek Field Station at 9am Saturday, January 10 (directions on website). Closing is at 1:00 pm Sunday, January 11. Friday night lodging is available for a nominal extra fee. Contact the station to make arrangements.

Questions: email Coordinator Leslie Smith: sagehen-

* * *

California Naturalist Program

July 6 - 12, 2015 (1-week Adult Immersion course)

"California Naturalist is a new program developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension to foster a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education, and restoration."

Aspiring Naturalists enroll in a 40-hour course that combines classroom and field experience in science, problem-solving, communication training and community service.

The course is organized by a coordinator who is affiliated with a local nature-based center or natural resource focused agency. Class and field sessions are taught by experts in their fields.

Subjects covered include: ecology, geology, plant communities, interpretation, wildlife and others.

cal naturalist
Program Goals
  • To promote environmental literacy and stewardship of California's natural resources
  • To increase participation in resource conservation and citizen science projects throughout
    the state
  • To develop a core constituency of committed and educated citizens willing and able to
    participate in resource conservation, preservation, and restoration efforts
  • To provide participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to educate
    others and participate in many aspects of resource management, such as public education,
    resource planning and public decision-making
  • To provide the communication experience and critical thinking skills necessary to grow a
    citizen base that supports environmental protection and sustainable growth in California
  • To support partner organizations as they implement the program
Benefits to the Participant
  • A new appreciation for and knowledge of California’s unique ecology and natural history
  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth
  • New skills for volunteer and professional enrichment
  • Special knowledge of and access to local resources, ecology and natural areas
  • Access to new venues for creative and hobby activities such as bird watching, sketching,
    photography, etc.
  • Fellowship from other California Naturalist participants throughout the state
  • The excitement of being part of the venerable tradition of naturalists throughout history
    and an innovative new program for natural resource stewardship.
Registration & Fees

1-week Adult Immersion Course: $1032.13*. Includes station accommodations, meals, course instruction, graduation certificate, registration with California Naturalist and website support. 2015 Syllabus and schedule | Registration form.

For questions about any of these course offerings, contact the station.

* Early registration price. For registrations occurring after 30 days prior to start date, there is an additional $50 fee.

For a small additional fee, four Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEUs) are available through UC Davis Extension to teachers and undergraduate students who successfully complete the course.

Course Textbook and Other Required Materials

Students need to purchase a field journal and the course text: The California Naturalist Handbook. Please allow enough time to complete pre-course reading assignments.

Students should bring their textbook and a nature journal to every class and field trip session. We will discuss journaling in the first class, if you'd like to wait until you know more before acquiring a journal.

More info about the Sagehen course offering

More information about the California Naturalist program.

An article about the program.

Sagehen's California Naturalist project on iNaturalist.

* * *

Kidzone Family Camp


Hikes * Bugology * Fishology * Star Gazing * Watersheds * Camping * Friends * Arts * Yummy Food!

A Science Experience for the Whole Family!

Bring your family for the most unique science experience in the Sierra! - Two nights of family camping fun

  • Hands on science exploration
  • Mini stream model
  • Meet live snakes, insects, and mammals
  • Identify plants of the Sierra
  • Arts, crafts, music, great food
  • PhD Teaching Staff
  • Learn about active research at the UC Field Station
  • Stream profile chamber

Dates: TBA
Times: 3pm, Friday Night - Noon on Sunday
Ages: All family members welcome, teens can be camp interns
Cost: Includes overnight camping/cabin, science instruction and delicious meals for the entire family.

Due to the hands on nature of this camp, participation is limited. We recommend that you sign up early. Can't stay the whole weekend? Come for the day! We are offering a one day option for Saturday. You still get hands on science education programs, arts & crafts, evening music program and great food.

Proceeds benefit KidZone Museum, a non-profit children’s museum.

More information and registration.


* * *

Introduction to Plant Family Identification

July 6-8, 2015

Join the California Native Plant Society for this intensive introductory course on how to recognize plant families, focusing on the 25 dominant families of native plants found in California. Registration is now open and closes June 21!

Participants will learn:

  • How to recognize at least 25 families of the most common/dominant/frequently encountered vascular plants found in California
  • How to identify many tree and shrub species, as well as herbaceous species, by sight and using written dichotomous keys, focusing on characteristics that define plant families
  • Tips to remembering the differences between similar plant families and species
  • How to use identification keys, focusing on the family keys in the Jepson Manual
  • Plant description terminology (Latin and Greek)
  • Tools available to help identify native plants

The following plant families will be covered, plus some others with similar characteristics:

Alliaceae Chenopodiaceae Juncaceae Plantaginaceae Rosaceae
Apiaceae Convolvulaceae Lamiaceae Poaceae Saxifragaceae
Asteraceae Cyperaceae Malvaceae Polemoniaceae  
Boraginaceae Ericaceae Onagraceae Polygonaceae  
Brassicaceae Euphorbiaceae Orobanchaceae Ranunculaceae  
Caryophyllaceae Fabaceae Phrymaceae Rhamnaceae

More information, or to register.

* * *

Youth Fishing Camp

July 11-12, 2015

"Boys and Girls ages 9-11 are encouraged to apply for a chance at one of 15 spots. Cost is $150 to cover UC expenses, lodging and food. All equipment and instruction is being donated. To get more information or want to volunteer, contact Trout Unlimited:"

Here's last year's flyer...

Fish camp


Press release.

* * *

iNaturalist BioBlitz at Sagehen

July 11-12 & July 25, 2015

Join us for UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station's first BioBlitz as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the University of California Natural Reserve System (!


Sagehen BioBlitz!

Come help us document life in the Sagehen Creek Basin!

The goal of this citizen science project is to confirm the Field Station's plant and animal lists with actual, geo-referenced observations for use by the greater scientific community. So far, we have only documented 399 of 1366 taxa assumed to exist in the Basin. Using smart phones and cameras, volunteers accompanied by a California Naturalist will work together to find and identify as many different species as possible within Sagehen Creek Basin – everything from ants to Lodgepole Pines. Our observations will be recorded using

2015 Summer Season Events:

BioBlitz Pre-Event Practice Session: 10-1pm, Saturday, June 20th, Trip Leaders: Kaitlin Backlund and Reenie McMains-Meet at the Entrance gate at 10am. Not required for participating in the BioBlitz, but available for those who want the practice using or have technical questions. For more information or to register, go to

Plants and Wildflowers-iNaturalist Field Day at Sagehen with California Naturalist Rick Ramos: 10-1pm, Saturday, June 27th, Meet at the entrance gate to the field Station at 10am. Email to sign up.

Sagehen BioBlitz: July 11-July 12. You bring your smart phone and tons of enthusiasm. We’ll rally some experts and folks who know the plants and animals of Sagehen Creek Basin. Together we’ll make some science! Registration required.

Plants and Butterflies-iNaturalist Field Day at Sagehen with California Naturalist Janet Zipser Zipkin: 9am-1pm, Saturday, July 25th. Meet at the entrance gate to the Field Station at 9am. Email to sign up.

Don't have an iNat account yet? No problem! Sign up here:
If you have a smart phone, you will want to download the app: 
iPhone | Android

Want a little more help? Check out these videos. Video Tutorials

* * *


August 16-21, 2015

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. 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
image image image
Registration & More information:

See this link for more information & contacts.

* * *

Innovative Approaches to Wildlife/Highway Interactions


Highways, as well as low volume roads, are a major source of impacts affecting terrestrial wildlife and aquatic organisms on public and private lands.  

This course will teach state-of-the-art approaches for addressing wildlife and highway interactions, providing participants with skills and resources that can be applied in highway project planning as well as enabling them to recognize innovative opportunities and solutions for existing highways with legacy impacts.

Topics include an overview of terrestrial wildlife issues relative to existing highways and highway development planning, differences in impacts and solutions between low volume and high volume roads, structural and non-structural solutions to wildlife mortality and habitat connectivity, and an introduction to available resources on wildlife/highway crossings and interactions. 

This course is taught through partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station and Tahoe National Forest.

The course is held adjacent to State Route 89, a 25-mile stretch of two-lane paved highway from Truckee to Sierraville, CA. The Highway 89 Stewardship Team conducts mitigation efforts, experimental designs, and public education here as part of a grass-roots, interagency team of professionals and local members. The course will use the lessons learned by the Highway 89 Stewardship Team to illustrate concepts and principles of transportation ecology, including field visits to mitigation sites and annual updates of ongoing research.

Who should attend: This course is designed for wildlife biologists and/or engineers from every geographic region of the country who need information on wildlife/highway interactions, with an emphasis on terrestrial wildlife. The primary audience includes employees from state, federal or local agencies (transportation, land management or natural resource management), academics in landscape ecology, and non-governmental organizations. Maximum attendance is 25 participants.

Length: 4 days/30 hours


  • Inform participants on highway interactions with terrestrial wildlife.
  • Utilize lessons learned, best available science, and innovative tools to identify and reduce wildlife impacts from highways.
  • Discuss the highway planning process, including large scale connectivity analyses.
  • Develop interdisciplinary contacts and networking opportunities.

Tuition:          $1200
Includes catered food and lodging at Sagehen Creek Field Station, instruction, field trip transportation, and course materials.


Sandra Jacobson, Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, CA

Terry Brennan, P.E., Public Services Staff Officer, USDA Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest, Nevada City, CA

Additional Presenters TBD, vary annually.

Course Organizer: Jeff Brown, Director, Sagehen Creek Field Station

Registration and info:

Coming soon!