2018 Director's Report - A Year In Review

The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) fulfills the UC Santa Barbara mission of research, education, and public service through stewardship and restoration of campus lands, preservation and management of natural history collections, and through learning experiences and programs, which offer unique opportunities for students of all ages.

The North Campus Open Space project continues to transform our community. This project restores 125 acres of diverse wetland and upland habitat including salt marsh, coastal sage scrub, vernal pools and grassland, doubling the capacity of Devereux Slough. The scale of this restoration project is immense, with our staff collecting 500 gallons of seeds from 125 native species, and more than 100,000 plants were planted this fiscal year. NCOS employs more than 60 UCSB students, who receive hands on job training experience in restoration and ecosystem services. Greater than 15 local, state and federal agencies and organizations have supported this project. This has truly been a campus wide effort, with support and encouragement from the Office of the Chancellor and throughout UCSB. CCBER continues to play a principal role in the planning and fundraising preparation for the NCOS project, in collaboration with many campus partners, including the financial administrators at the Earth Research Institute and the North Campus Open Space Science Advisory Committee, which is composed of faculty from ERI, EEMB, Earth Science and the Bren School; Facilities Management Design and Construction Services, and the Offices of Research, and Budget and Planning. 

The Cheadle Center’s Director of Ecosystem Management, Dr. Lisa Stratton, has raised over a million dollars for the North Campus Open Space endowment this year. The endowment ensures that NCOS will remain a resource for education and research at UC Santa Barbara, and be a flagship of ecological restoration in California. A great way to keep in touch with the progress, become involved, and learn about all of our partners is though the newsletter, NCOS News (https://www.ccber.ucsb.edu/ncos-news). 


The Kids in Nature program served over 600 area school children this year thanks to the support of the Executive Vice Chancellor’s office, the Mosher Foundation, Coastal Conservancy, Office of Academic Preparation (Faculty Outreach Grants), Departments of Environmental Studies and Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology and the Coastal Fund. The CCBER Kids in Nature (KIN) program promotes the aspirations and achievements of young students in local underserved schools by providing quality environmental science education. KIN staff and UCSB students work closely with children and their teachers to provide an in-depth educational experience. The UCSB students assisting with KIN are enrolled in an undergraduate course offered through the Environmental Studies and Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology departments.

One of our central roles on campus is to provide curation and research support through the UCSB Natural History Collections. Our collections continue to grow, are engaged by researchers nationally and internationally, and provide extensive research and educational expertise and opportunities for UCSB students and faculty. This year, over 30 interns and volunteers participated in the research and maintenance of our natural history collections. This expansion could not have happened without the generous support for our collections from donations. In particular, we would like to thank Dr. Shirley Tucker for her continued support of the Shirley Tucker Curator of Biodiversity Collections and Botanical Research, whose role in the collection is as a botanical researcher and the steward of our over 500,000 specimens. The collections continue to expand as research through staff whose interests are in botanical sciences and entomology, and our valuable Research Associates and Curators.

One high light this year is the work of Research Associate Mark Holmgren, who curates the Santa Barbara Breeding Bird Study, which maps more than 4570 records of 170 species of birds breeding in Santa Barbara County, with records dating back to the 1930s. The majority of the data come from a Field Note Archive held at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration.

CCBER is excited to announce a new workshop series designed to provide hands-on experience with the taxonomy and identification of California's unique biota. Previous workshops have focused on the ecology of soil biocrust, identification and ecology of native bees, and marine algae from the Santa Barbara coastal area. The workshops are designed to provide personalized instruction and intensive training for a variety of interested people, ranging from beginning naturalists to professional biologists and consultants. Workshops are opened to the public and registration is through UCSB Professional and Continuing Education (https://professional.ucsb.edu). Join our email list at (https://www.ccber.ucsb.edu) if you are interested in learning more.

A Director’s Council was established in 2014 with the goal of supporting, promoting, and guiding CCBER, and to serve as connection between the CCBER and the community at large. The Council continues to meet on a regular basis. Many members of the Director’s Council have made 

generous gifts to CCBER’s operations including the support for the Shirley Tucker Curator of Biodiversity Collections and Botanical Research position, Kids in Nature, North Campus Open Space bridges, visitor plaza and overlooks, and our endowment campaign.

We are grateful for the benefit of collaborative efforts through the North Campus Open Space Scientific Advisory Committee, the Director’s Council, CCBER Advisory Committee, Earth Research Institute and our natural history collection Curators and CCBER Research Affiliates.  Both the Executive Vice Chancellor’s office and Office of Research have generously supported CCBER programs.  Over the course of the next year, we look forward to continuing these great programs, to fostering unique research experiences for students, and to continuing our stewardship of campus lands.

Please help us continue our great work by donating to the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration this year. You can make a difference in the education of our next generation and in the preservation of our natural world.