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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.

The Capital Campaign is on!

We have until October of 2020 to match an offer of $1 million for a new education, research, & outreach center at Kendall-Frost Marsh.

See our Vision

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.

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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.

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Dawson Reserve

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.

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Elliott Chaparral Reserve

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.

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Kendall Frost Reserve

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.

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Scripps Coastal Reserve