Sagehen Events, 2016...

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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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Sagehen Plant and Animal Monitoring with iNaturalist

Ongoing in 2016

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.

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Sagehen Art

Ongoing in 2016

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 on the field component of their new MFA program.

Why have art at natural reserves?

See our art blog for information about specific projects at Sagehen.

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Western Women's Tracking Conference: A Gathering of Women Trackers, Herbalists and Artists

January 15-18, 2016

Come join us on this seldom-visited research preserve for a 4-day tracking retreat. 

This incredible landscape is roughly 8,000 acres in the Sagehen Creek watershed (Sagehen Experimental Forest) and includes yellow pine, mixed conifer and red fir forests, brush fields, scattered mountain meadows and fens. Deep snow is typical of the winter season and wildlife abounds all year round.

Women will be staying in winterized heated cabins with beds. Heated bathrooms with hot water are located close to each cabin. Cozy meeting rooms are available for our indoor activities. A full kitchen is available for storing food and snacks.

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


Download course flyer.

Dates and Times: Begins Friday, January 15th, at 4:30pm. Ends Monday, January 18th at 1pm.

Lodging InfoUniversity California Sagehen Creek Field Station

Meals: The Tracking Conference will provide breakfast and dinner for Saturday and Sunday, and breakfast on Monday. To keep costs down, Friday night will be a potluck dinner. Participants will provide their own lunches.

Costs: $395/person. $150 Non-refundable deposit required upon registration. Final payment due one week prior to conference, January 8th, 2016. Cost provides all instruction, lodging, and breakfast and dinner on Saturday, Sunday and breakfast on Monday. Register here.

Participants: Maximum  participants 20. Minimum, 15.

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"Snow Drawings" Event

February 19, 20, 21, 2016

Community members are invited to participate in a fun outdoor art-making event.

The Truckee Public Art Commission and the U.C. Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station invite the local community to join artist Sonja Hinrichsen in creating a landscape-scale work of art. Snow Drawings is an ongoing environmental art project in which the artist draws designs into fresh snow on open fields. The completed projects are ephemeral and last only until the next snowfall. Snow Drawings started in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and have been seen in New York’s Hudson Valley, Denali National Park, and the French Alps. Sonja brings Snow Drawings to Truckee this February. TPAC and the Sagehen Creek Field Station are excited to host an evening slide show presentation, followed by a weekend of artistic creation.

Sonja Hinrichsen works with community volunteers to create monumental pieces while engaging people in fun outdoor winter activity. Using snowshoes, the artist “draws” in fresh snow to create elaborate environmental designs. On Friday, February 19, Sonja, will be showing slides from previous projects and describing her process and approach. On Saturday and Sunday, February 20-21, Sonja will work with volunteers to create snow drawings in the meadows of the Sagehen Creek Field Station.

Friday’s event takes place at the TDRPD Community Arts Center (10046 Church Street, Truckee CA). Doors open at 5:00, and the 1-hour presentation will begin at 5:30 pm. Attendance at Friday’s slide show is for everyone, volunteers and voyeurs alike, and is not required for participation.

Volunteers with snowshoes are encouraged to join artist Sonja Hinrichsen on Saturday and/or Sunday beginning at 9:30 am. Participants are welcome to stay for as long as they like, and should come equipped with snowshoes, a bag lunch, and appropriate outdoor attire. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Back Country, Granite Chief, Tahoe Dave’s, and the Tahoe Sports Hub. Go to to see previous projects and learn more about the artists. Sign-ups are encouraged, send your name with “Snow Drawings” in the subject line to for Saturday and Sunday events.

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Sagehen-Lake Tahoe California Naturalist Program

June 20 - 26, 2016 (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.

Class and field sessions are taught by local experts in the fields of: ecology, geology, plants, animals, climate, global environmental issues, energy, water, forests, and interpretation.

Participants gain knowledge about the unique natural history of California with a focus on the Northern Sierras and Lake Tahoe Basin.

Collaborators include: UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC); Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS); Sugarpine Foundation; UC Cooperative Extension Central Sierra; League to  Save Lake Tahoe; Sierra Watershed Education Partnership (SWEP), 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.
Course Format

We offer two course formats covering the same material:

  1. Seven-Week Adult Course: includes weekly meetings on Thursday evenings at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Studies (TCES) in Incline Village, Lake Tahoe; and an immersion weekend at Sagehen Creek Field Station, outside of Truckee. Two Saturday field trips (see syllabus)
  2. One-Week Adult Immersion Course: a residential week at the Sagehen Creek Field Station with an excursion to Lake Tahoe for presentations by researchers at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC)
Registration & Fees
  • 1-week Adult Immersion Course: $990 (add credit card fee for this amount)*. Includes station accommodations, meals, course instruction, graduation certificate, registration with California Naturalist and website support. 2016 Syllabus and schedule | Registration form.

* Early registration price. For registrations occurring after February 1, there is an additional $25 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.

For questions about any of these course offerings, contact the station or email Coordinator: Leslie Smith:

More info about the Sagehen course offering

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iNaturalist BioBlitz at Sagehen

June 25, 2016

Join us for UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station's 2nd annual 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 440 of 1251 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

2016 Event Info:

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.

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

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August 15-19, 2016

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.

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Innovative Approaches to Wildlife/Highway Interactions

July 25-29, 2016

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:          $950. 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
  • Darin Martens, Wyoming DOT/Shoshone National Forest Liaison, Jackson Hole, WY
  • Julia Kintsch, Principal & Conservation Ecologist | ECO-resolutions LLC, Golden, CO
  • Dr. Eric Abelson, Research Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, CA

Additional guest instructors are invited for special presentations. See the instructors’ biographies here.

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

Registration and info: fee includes three meals per day for five days, beginning Monday dinner through Friday box lunch, 25-29 July 2016. Tuition includes catered food and lodging at Sagehen Creek Field Station, instruction, field trip transportation, and course materials. 

Online Credit Card registration | For payment by check or Government PO, use this form

Course flyer

Lodging at Sagehen Field Station: lodging at the field station entitles you to a bunk bed in a cabin with 6-8 beds, and clean, updated bathroom facilities.  You can stay in the bunk bed in the cabin or pitch your tent outside on the station grounds (and use the bunk to store gear if you wish).  Either way: bring your own towel, pillow and case, and sleeping bag.  Sagehen does not provide linens or blankets.  If you are staying in the cabin, also bring a bottom sheet.  If you are bringing a tent, bring a pad.

Traveling to Sagehen Field Station: the closest commercial airport is Reno, Nevada. Rental cars are available. Travel time to drive from Sacramento, CA is about 2 hours and from Reno, NV about 1 hour.  More information can be found on the Sagehen Creek Field Station website.

Confirmation of Enrollment and Cancellation Policy:

1. A confirmed spot in the class requires an application with a full payment, an organization purchase order, or a letter of commitment from your organization. You can pay by credit card.  We will email you to confirm your place in the course as soon as we receive your application and payment. 
2. A cancellation by May 15, 2016, will receive a full refund.
3. A cancellation after May 15, 2016, will receive no refund. Substitutions are acceptable and encouraged.
4. A full refund will be provided if minimum course size is not met. The minimum size of the class is 15 students.

Cell phones do not work at the field station. The station does have wireless internet.