The La Kretz Research Center at Sedgwick Reserve was established in 2016 as an intellectual center for research in conservation science and to ensure long-term maintenance and use of the Ranch House, which was recently renovated.
Developed and housed within the UCSB Natural Reserve System, the La Kretz Research Center at Sedgwick Reserve will spark a UC Santa Barbara-led, interdisciplinary, collaborative, translational, and science-based approach to study, identify, and develop solutions for today’s pressing environmental problems that impact California’s critical habitats, utilizing the nearly 6,000 acres of land at the Sedgwick Reserve.
The effects of climate change, persistent drought, and land use threaten human and environmental conditions in California and across the globe. These problems are in urgent need of science-based solutions. The proposed La Kretz Research Center at Sedgwick Reserve will address local, regional, and global challenges through the integration of top-performing researchers, students and staff to implement a nimble and effective research program.
These challenges, best framed as questions, can inform human usage and management of these essential resources, such as:
- What are the food web structures representative of the region and how do they work?
- How much genetic diversity is needed to sustain populations under changing climate regimes?
- What is the future of the California landscape, and how will it “look” with a changed climate?
- What ecosystems will be supported into the future, and what can we promote?
- What can we retain in the California landscape that we value today, and what can be restored, how, and to what end?
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
- Maximize use and provide certainty for the maintenance of the Ranch House.
- Strengthen connections with academic departments on campus and foster new opportunities for research collaborations at UC Santa Barbara, and with the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, and UC campuses, as well as other universities, agencies, or relevant organizations.
- Increase on-site research activities to leverage the Reserve’s facilities, environment, and outreach and education programs. Through science-based and translational approaches, develop a fundamental understanding that can inform the ability to manage lands and to improve environmental stewardship in a shifting world.
- Conduct science to serve society by fostering partnerships with local agricultural, conservation, and management stakeholders to collaborate on pressing environmental questions facing the region today.
- Ensure that the Education and Outreach in parallel program at Sedgwick continues to provide the important interface between the community in the region, the research and preservation that occurs at Sedgwick and is maintained into the future.
LEADERSHIP AND RESOURCES
- La Kretz Center Director: UCSB Professor Frank Davis has been named the Center’s first La Kretz Center Director. Frank is a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara and was one of Sedgwick’s earliest proponents and researchers when the Reserve was formed in the 1990’s. Frank’s research interests on landscape ecology, biogeography, oak woodlands and conservation planning make him especially poised to further research in these areas at Sedgwick.
Sedgwick Assistant Reserve Director: Arizona State University alumni Hannah Heavenrich was selected as the Sedgwick's first assistant reserve manager and the La Kretz Center's research coordinator. Prior to moving to central California, Hannah was a research specialist and lab manager in an ecosystem ecology lab at Arizona State University. There she gained invaluable experience running a research lab, and gaining skills in administration and environmental outreach and education. Hannah's enthusiasm for data management, field research planning and organizing and training research assistants have already made her an integral part of the La Kretz Center's early success.
- Research Project Funding: Funds will be available to support research teams and projects that utilize the resources of Sedgwick and address key questions of relevance. Specific funds will be allocated, through a separate endowment, to support Graduate Research Fellowship(s), which is further leveraged by matching funds from the Dean of the Graduate Division (for the first three years.)