Announcing the 2022 Carol Baird Graduate Student Awardees

We are very pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research. Our five UC Berkeley graduate awardees are listed below along with brief descriptions of their projects for the 2022 field season. Planning is underway and students will officially begin their Baird project fieldwork in February 2022.

Cesar Estien: From Fields to Concrete Jungles: Exploring How Landscape Differences Yield Behavioral Variability

Advisor: Prof Chris Schell, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

This project will investigate whether boldness in coyote populations varies across environments within Northern California, and how boldness phenotypes may vary within urban and nonurban landscapes due to hunting pressure and environmental health.

Project Location: Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, Hastings Natural History Reservation, and urban locations in the East Bay and San Francisco

Raphaela E. Floreani Buzbee: Coastal plant community composition shifts in response to tule elk herbivory

Advisor: Prof David Ackerly, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

This project will use a 24-year exclosure experiment in coastal grasslands at Tomales Point, Point Reyes National
Seashore to address questions relating to the effects of grazing on soil moisture and temperature, plant species composition and shrub cover, and proportion of xeric-adapted plant species.

Project location: Tomales Point, Point Reyes National Seashore

Emily Lam: Physiological and behavioral responses of northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) to global change among three northern California rookeries

Advisor: Prof José Pablo Vázquez-Medina, Integrative Biology

This project uses a combination of thermal imaging, behavioral and physiological metrics to investigate the potential for thermal adjustments in the northern elephant seal in the face of global change. This is Emily’s second time as a Baird awardee, following her successful 2020-2021 field seasons.

Project location: Point Reyes National Seashore, Ano Nuevo State Park, Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Nina Sokolov: Bee viruses across landscapes: Understanding the impact of crop pollination on disease ecology in managed and native bees

Advisor: Prof Mike Boots, Integrative Biology

This  project aims to investigate the impact of honeybee migrations for crop pollination on the emergence of viruses- both within California honeybees and native wild bees-through regular temporal sampling of bees and their viruses across a variety of landscapes. This is Nina’s second time as a Baird awardee, following her successful 2020-2021 field seasons.

Project location: Point Reyes Field Station, Sagehen Creek Field Station

Sophie Ruehr: Using hyperspectral imagery at Sagehen Experimental Forest to quantify ecosystem reliance on groundwater

This project will investigate groundwater vegetation dynamics over varying time scales using a novel hyperspectral imager that can retrieve photosynthesis signals from individual plants. An overarching goal of this study to is improve regional water and carbon cycle predictions for use in management applications.

Advisor: Prof Trevor Keenan, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

Project location: Sagehen Creek Field Station

Welcome to Ash Zemenick- New Sagehen Creek Station Manager

Sagehen Creek Field Station has a new Station Manager! UC Berkeley welcomes Ash Zemenick, who began their new position in July 2021. Ash received their PhD from UC Davis, and has also worked at Auburn University and Michigan State University as a postdoctoral fellow. Read the UCNRS press release welcoming Ash here

More links:

Sagehen Creek Field Station website

Sagehen Creek Field Station on Facebook


The 2022 Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research – now accepting applications

The University of California Berkeley natural history field stations and reserves are pleased to announce the fourth year of

The Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research

Awards will be granted to Berkeley graduate students to support high quality research that is carried out primarily in the field, based in or around Berkeley’s Natural History Field Stations and Reserves:

Angelo Coast Range Reserve

Blue Oak Ranch Reserve

Hastings Natural History Reservation

Point Reyes Field Station

Sagehen Creek Field Station

Applicants will prepare a proposal of up to five pages (total) describing the project, its importance, proposed methods and logistics, and an outreach plan (See Post Award obligation 1 below).

Proposal must be submitted by October 20th, 2021 to with “Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research” in the subject line. Please also contact this email address if you have any questions about the application or award.

Awards of up to $25,000 will be made to support field research beginning in 2022. Funding may be requested for a single field season or multiple field seasons, and for work at or around a single or several reserves. Support allocations (amount per student, potential for renewal) are flexible, as long as the research is field-based, is of excellent quality, and is substantially improved by this support.

Awardees will be selected by a faculty review committee and will be announced November 10th, 2021.

Eligibility: Current UC Berkeley graduate students are eligible for the Baird award.

Post Award obligations: 1) Awardees will be required to present their findings to the local community around the field station(s), for example at town meetings or at workshops organized by local conservation, educational, agency, or citizen science groups.

2) Each awardee must give a 20-minute presentation at a Baird Fest field station symposium scheduled during the fall after their award, and report their research accomplishments to by 15 November, 2022.

3) By April 15, 2023, a fuller report (with full analyses, photos, videos, links, etc.) should be sent to the same email address, Both reports will be evaluated by the faculty review committee, and forwarded to the funding Foundation.

Relevant dates:

October 20, 2021 Applications must be received at

November 10, 2021 Awards will be announced.

August-Sept 2022, date TBA: participate in a 2-day Baird fest symposium, presenting projects.

November 15, 2022 Reports from awardees due, submitted to with “Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research” in the subject line. Reports should describe research accomplishments based on the award, including scientific findings, publications, and reports, videos, and links to public workshops, lectures, or presentations.

April 15, 2023 More complete reports, with manuscript drafts if available, data analyses, photos, videos, and other links should be sent to with “Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research” in the subject line.

California Ecology and Conservation Course

The application deadline for the Summer 2019 offering of the UC Natural Reserve System field course, California Ecology and Conservation, is approaching! Applications can be found here and are due on February 5, 2018 so please spread the word!
This relatively new program, launched in Fall 2015, has been a tremendous success. Over 250 students from across the UC system have gained strong independent scientific research skills while immersed in the training grounds of the UC natural reserves, from Big Sur to the Mojave Desert, from coastal redwoods to California grasslands to high altitude bristlecone pines. Check out this video to get glimpses of what students are calling the most rewarding experience in their undergraduate careers.

Mary Power featured in Serengeti Documentary


Academy Award-winning Passion Pictures and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios present one of the most important but untold science stories of our time—a tale with profound implications for the fate of life on our planet. Beginning in the 1960s, a small band of young scientists headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth—from the majestic Serengeti to the Amazon jungle; from the Arctic Ocean to Pacific tide pools—they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life. 

The four living ecologists in the film (Jim Estes, Tony Sinclair, John Terborgh, and Mary Power) will be at the evening showing and will have a brief discussion and post film reception. 

Mary Power is the faculty director and an active researcher at the Angelo Reserve

The evening show is sold out, but at the time of posting, there are tickets available for a matinee showing.