Events – 2019

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 2019

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 65 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 us and write “INAT” in the subject heading.

“The Leopold Family Legacy at Sagehen Creek” – final cut

Sagehen Art

Ongoing in 2019

Art is a way of approaching problems that can complement and expand science, while reaching very different audiences and creating emotional connections that science just can’t. In order to move the data and new knowledge created at Sagehen to policy and action, we need that empathic connection with society.

Sagehen has an exciting art program, with current installations by Helen and Newton Harrisonstpmj design firm and others that target ecological challenges that our scientists are working on, too. Contact us if you’d like to discuss an artist residency. We also work with Sierra Nevada College to provide the field component of their MFA program, which emphasizes art that responds to place and tackles environmental issues.

Watch this page (below) for periodic art events for the public.

5th Annual BioBlitz with Family Activities hosted by SWEP

Saturday Aug 3, 2019: 8:30am-12:30pm

Welcome to the 2019 (5th Annual) BioBlitz with Family Activities hosted by SWEP!


You bring your smartphone and enthusiasm, and together we’ll look for birds, mammals, reptiles, butterflies, insects, spiders, trees, and flowers within the Sagehen Creek Field Station.

A BioBlitz is a detailed study of biodiversity in a specific location over a specified period of time, bringing experts and volunteers together. People of all ages and skill levels are welcome! Participants will work in small groups and be guided by expert ornithologists, entomologists, botanists, biologists, and naturalists to different search zones within the Sagehen Creek Field Station to identify the flora and fauna of that area.

We’ll enter our observations in iNaturalist and maintain eBird lists. To check out some of the cool stuff we may see click here. Don’t have an iNat account yet? No problem! Sign up for an iNaturalist account, then download the app for iPhone or Android. Want a little more help? Check out these videos. Video Tutorials.

Please be sure to have iNaturalist downloaded to your smartphone prior to arrival!! Wireless bandwidth is limited at the field station. It is also recommended that participants have made several observations using iNaturalist prior to participation, and are somewhat familiar with the application.

**NEW in 2018: Family Activity Session with Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships!! SWEP educators will guide elementary-aged children and their families on an exploration of Sagehen Creek’s macroinvertebrates. SWEP staff will have nets, scopes, identifcation keys, art supplies and more to guide the exploration of bugs that make their home in Sagehen Creek. Children and their families will have fun while learning more about these important bugs and how they help us understand the health of our watershed.

Full Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, Aug 3, 2019
  • Time: 8:30am-12:30pm
  • Location: UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station. (11 miles of north of Truckee, off highway 89).
  • Who: People of all ages and naturalist skill level are welcome! **Children must be accompanied by an adult!
  • How: All participants, regardless of age, need to registerRegistered participants will receive a follow up email with more details and logistics for the event.

What to Bring:

  • Smart phone or tablet with camera capabilities, installed iNaturalist application, and website account.
  • Sierra Nevada Field Guide (or download one or more of our mobile Sagehen Basin field guides to your smart phone).
  • Camera (optional)
  • Sturdy walking shoes & appropriate clothing for working outdoors
  • Sunscreen
  • Waterbottle
  • Snacks & Lunch
  • A friend or several!


Sagehen Creek Field Station BioBlitzin’

Natural Discourse at Sagehen

Projection playing on the Invisible Barn at Sagehen. In February 2019, Digital Nature returned to the LA Arboretum. Contemporary artists once again projected their work onto the landscape of one of Los Angeles’ most beloved public gardens to illuminate the unprecedented ecological and technological shifts–like fire–that are remaking our world. Images of Sagehen fire were a component of that show. Now, Digital Nature is coming to Sagehen! An amazing group of contemporary artists is being invited to project their work onto the landscape of Sagehen Creek Field Station.Introductory talk about experimental forestry and fire research at Sagehen by Jeff Brown, DirectorReception with the artistsCatered dinnerPerformance by Sasha PetrenkoProjections and other art installations at the field station

Get tickets here.

(or contact Shirley Watts).


August 12-16, 2019

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
Sagehen River Restoration Shortcourse 2018

Sagehen California Naturalist Program

July 28-Aug 4, 2019 (1-week Adult Immersion course)

“University of California Cooperative Extension developed California Naturalist 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); Sugar Pine FoundationUC Cooperative Extension Central SierraLeague to Save Lake TahoeSierra Watershed Education Partnership (SWEP), and others.

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

This summer, Sagehen will offer our California Naturalist training as a One-Week Adult Immersion Course: a residential week at the Field Station.

Course Fee & Registration

$1200*. Includes station accommodations, meals, course instruction, graduation certificate and pin, registration with California Naturalist, and website support. Please pay by check to reserve your place and begin receiving pre-course communications. We will hold your check until June 30, 2018 (the course go/no go date) when–if you prefer–we can tear up your check and charge a credit card instead. After that date, there are no refunds. Make checks payable to “UC Regents” and mail with completed registration form (including signed liability waiver and photo release) to the Course Coordinator:

Sagehen Cal Nat | Andy Rost | 10427 Jeffrey Way | Truckee, CA | 96161

* Early registration price. For registrations occurring after June 15, 2018, there is an additional $50 fee. For a small additional fee, 4 Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEUs) are available through UC Davis Extension to teachers and undergraduate students who successfully complete the course.

Other Housing Options

There are no private rooms at the field station, but course participants may camp on site if preferred. There is no discount for camping, since you will still be using all other station facilities. Course participants may not cook for themselves, nor opt out of catering. Please note dietary preferences on the registration form. Hotels in nearby Truckee, CA are an option for participants who require more amenities, but travel time of at least 1/2-hour each way will take away from valuable informal networking and field experience, not to mention sleep. The course consists of very full days and summer road work delays are always a factor, so we discourage this option.

Pack list

In addition to course materials described below, see our list of what you need to bring for your stay at Sagehen.

Course Textbook and Other Required Materials

Students need to purchase a field journal and the course text: The California Naturalist Handbook (30% discount code here). Please complete pre-course reading assignments: there will not be enough free time during the course to catch up from behind! Students should bring their textbook and a nature journal to every class and field trip session. Please bring your smartphone with the iNaturalist app installed and activated with your account. Participants may also find a small 10x hand lens and binoculars useful, but they are not required.


More info about the Sagehen course offering

Culture of Fire: a collaborative art and community engagement project

TBA Fall, 2019 in Vallejo and the Tahoe National Forest

Ritual burning is a common practice across time and cultures. Fire has the power to bring people together and to transform landscapes and lives. It regenerates even as it consumes. Indigenous cultures understand this, and it is a central element of community co-creation festivals like Burning Man. Contemporary society, however, is largely disconnected from ecological processes and has been negatively influenced by the perception (and reality) of “catastrophic” wildfire. Culture of Fire is a community-oriented project that raises awareness about the critical role of fire in California’s forests and grasslands. It is a model for re-imagining our collective relationship with fire. The idea is simple and anyone can participate. It starts with creating an object from a locally collected natural material (wood or clay). This is placed by our team inside a section of forest that will be burned using prescribed fire. Before the burn, the objects will be publicly displayed in a gallery or as an installation in the forest. The burn will then become a ritual to be witnessed live or in a video presentation. Finally, the objects will be recovered from the fire zone and displayed again. They may be destroyed, radically changed in form, or remain largely intact. The variable outcomes help us understand the critical role of low intensity fire in our forests.