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Mission Statement 

The mission of the University of California Natural Reserve System is to contribute to the understanding and wise stewardship of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service at protected natural areas throughout California. Read more at:


A Protected Natural Environment for Study and Learning

UC Merced was established to provide world-class education to everyone and especially those in the San Joaquin Valley.

In furthering that mission, campus leaders and faculty will use 6,500 protected acres adjacent to the university to conduct research and to offer education that will benefit the university and the Central Valley, as well as national and global communities. UC Merced will manage the Reserve ecosystem to protect the rare and endangered organisms and to allow university students and faculty to investigate ecological research questions that have relevance at local, national and global scales.

The campus faculty, Merced community, and state environmental leaders agreed with founding campus leaders that the Reserve lands should be conserved forever, protecting their unique ecosystems and maintaining the pastoral grazing lands northeast of the campus.

The Reserve lands are also environmental mitigation lands and are subject to federal and state permit conditions and regulations. In addition, environmental easements serve to protect the lands in perpetuity from damage or development.

 We also plan to involve the community as well as primary and secondary schools so that they can learn along side of researchers and students, getting up-close views and gaining first-hand experience with the fascinating springtime pools, their fragile flora and endangered fauna, and exploring the unique soils found in this region.