What We Do

Volunteers maintaining trails
Volunteers maintaining trails
Students learning to use a compass
Students learning to use a compass
Annual barn dance
Annual barn dance

The Sedgwick Reserve is used primarily as a scientific research site. In any given year 45 projects may run concurrently, with individual researchers spending an average of 14 days a year conducting their field studies. While most of the projects are based at UCSB, it is not uncommon for researchers to come from other states, and countries, to conduct work in this Mediterranean landscape. As a result of their hard work and dedication, Sedgwick scientists have 10- 25 journal manuscripts published annually that are based on Sedgwick research.

Sedgwick hosts up to two dozen university-level class visits each year that focus on biology, physical science, environmental management, social science/art, and education. While most classes come for just the day, the Field Station provides modern classroom space and facilities suitable for students to stay over for a night or more.

Local elementary, middle and high school students also find field trips to Sedgwick’s Outdoor Classroom to exciting, fun and memorable elements of their K-12 science curriculum. The Reserve hosts hundreds of students from Santa Barbara County schools every year, programming made possible largely through donations and with the commitment and enthusiasm of Sedgwick’s outdoor education docents and our partner organization Nature Track.

Sedgwick’s volunteer docent program, 50 members strong, enables the visits of thousands to Sedgwick annually to participate in classes, docent-led hikes, workshops and community events. Volunteers maintain a native plant nursery at the Reserve, demonstration gardens and restoration projects, participate in work parties to clear trails and maintain facilities, take part in science and restoration projects and contribute thousands of hours of service annually to steward the Reserve and share it with others.

The Reserve’s staff is committed to protecting our 5865 acres of natural resources and cultural heritage. Annual work plans are designed to safeguard the Reserve from wildfire, invasion by non-native species, erosion, overgrazing, abandoned research infrastructure and other threats to the Reserve’s viability. Cultural restoration projects recently renovated three of the Field Station’s historic structures – the Hay Barn, the Ranch House and the Art Studio.

At the Reserve, science and education intersect simultaneously with pastoral uses: 15% of the Reserve’s acreage is earmarked for private market agriculture production. This allows agricultural ventures including organic row crop and stone fruit farming and seasonal cattle grazing, managed through University of California lease agreements.

A use agreement brokered in 2007 allowed the Las Cumbres Observatory to build and operate a privately operated Observatory at the Reserve. Since its commissioning in 2010 the telescope has been used remotely on 90% of clear usable nights. Several impressive astrophotography images have been published in national journals and over 1000 hours of scientific, educational and public viewing time have been made possible.