As a video journalist for University of California I tend to travel all over the state visiting interesting people who are doing innovative research. I always have my Canon 5D Mark iii on hand and my field recorder to do my interviews. Recently, I decided to also bring along my Nikon FG-20 and expired 35mm film that I bought through the Lomography Shop. So far, the outcome has been really interesting and hopefully this will be one of many future posts about my travels through the golden state.
One of the university’s invaluable resources is its nature reserve system – a network of protected land throughout the state where researchers and graduate students can conduct field studies. Hastings Natural Reserve is the oldest in the system. Run by UC Berkeley, its rich and unique history as a research station dates back to the 1930s when former farming land was offered to the University for biological fieldwork. The forward-thinking landowner and University staff and faculty allowed the 2700 acres of land to return to a natural state, and 80 years later, it’s become a great place for scientists to investigate anything from geology to phenology — the study of seasonal or periodic events in biology — with a focus on long term patterns in the environment.
We visited the reserve to interview Brian Haggerty, a UC Santa Barbara graduate student. He’s one of the researchers working on The California Phenology Project, an effort to track and keep record of plants as a way to monitor climate change. He conducted a workshop with thirty scientists from central California to talk about creating a statewide database for phenological events…or as he calls it, “Facebook for plants.”
Before we met up with Brian though, Vince Voegeli, the reserve manager, took some time to show us around Hastings and tell us a little bit about current research going on here along with the other reserves at University of California. As he showed us around, the sun was setting and I couldn’t help but think this was the perfect time to pull out my old Nikon and snap a few shots around the reservation.
For more on what is going on in research you can follow my Tumblr blog.