Welcome to the UC San Diego Natural Reserve System
The mission of the Natural Reserve System is to contribute to the understanding and wise management of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service at protected natural areas throughout California.
Support the Reserves
We value and depend on friends, neighbors, educators, students, scientists, professionals, and volunteers to help us with everything from public outreach to hands-on projects.
Dawson Los Monos Canyon Reserve
Located in Vista, California, 45 minutes northeast of the main campus, Dawson's unique topographies and habitats include the perennial Agua Hedionda Creek, coast live oak woodland, and inland sage scrub. Dawson has two weather stations and a research/dormitory trailer.
Elliott Chaparral Reserve
Located 25 minutes east of the main campus near MCAS Miramar, Elliott was almost entirely burned by the 2003 Cedar fire. The subsequent succession of chaparral habitat and recovery of animal populations have been the focus of several studies. Elliott also has a weather station and research trailer.
Kendall Frost Reserve
Located 20 minutes south of the main campus on the north shore of Mission Bay, Kendall-Frost's rare Pacific salt marsh habitat is home to the endangered Ridgway’s rail and many other species of birds, fish, invertebrates, and plants. Kendall-Frost also has a research and dormitory trailer.
Scripps Coastal Reserve
Located immediately west of the main campus and directly adjacent to Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Scripps' topographies and habitats include coastal sage scrub, sandy beach, rocky intertidal, and underwater canyon. While the Scripps Reserve is accessible to the public, organized groups should obtain a permit before visiting.