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UC Berkeley Natural Reserve System
Hastings Natural History Reservation

Carmel Valley, CA

Land management, research and community engagement at Hastings Reserve

Desired Skills/Traits:

  • Academic background: 

  • Associate's Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in ecology, environmental science, forestry, land management or related degree.

  • Primary skills:

    • Plant identification

    • Land stewardship experience

    • Ability to hike in hot or inclement weather.

  • Secondary skills:

    • Experience and interest in working with children, Tribal communities, and underrepresented communities

    • Tolerance for insects, poison oak, and other local flora and fauna.

Openings: 1 of 1

Focus Area: Forestry/Fire

Climate Mitigation & Adaptation, Ecological Forestry, Education and Outreach, Fire Preparedness & Management, Volunteer Engagement

project breakdown







Education & Outreach


Goals & Needs

Hastings Natural History Reservation, a historic cattle ranching property, was established as a biological field station in 1937 by the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley. It became a member of the UC Natural Reserve System in 1970, providing researchers and educators alike unparalleled access to nearly 2,500 acres of oak chaparral habitat. It serves as a thriving center for environmental research and education, with about 12 regular field courses taught each year by visiting faculty from the University of California, California State University and other colleges from across the country.


A fellow can expect to work on projects that improve the capacity of the reserve which aims to provide transformative experiences for students and researchers alike. The fellow will have the opportunity to work on land stewardship and restoration, fire mitigation, and community engagement. A typical day may involve activities such as grounds maintenance, habitat restoration, the creation of defensible spaces around facilities by managing flammable vegetation, as well as assistance with the propagation of native plant species. This work will bolster the reserve’s resiliency to the increasing threat of wildfires, drought, and habitat disturbance. A fellow will also be encouraged to develop independent projects that enhance visitor experiences and use of the reserve, by engaging with students, researchers, community members, and Tribal representatives.


This capacity building work is essential to ensure that Hastings Natural History Reservation remains an active center for field-based teaching in a variety of disciplines. The projects will align with GrizzlyCorps’ goals to build the capacity of the local community by ensuring that the natural habitats of Carmel Valley in Monterey County are protected for generations to come.

Capacity Building Projects

Project 1. Land Stewardship & Community Outreach

This project will serve both visitors to the reserve as well as community members in the surrounding areas. The fellow will support Hastings staff to create a welcoming environment for visitors. Part of their duties will be to help maintain and improve landscape conditions at the reserve. This may include invasive plant removal, restoration of upland and riparian habitats, and the maintenance of fuel breaks. Additional planned landscaping, for example, could involve the development and maintenance of pollinator gardens and propagation of native plants. In addition to environmental stewardship of the site, the fellow would help expand Hastings’ public service efforts and contribute to ongoing community outreach in the Carmel Valley area. This may involve designing games, activities, or otherwise presenting research at public events. These engagement opportunities are targeted towards community members, K-12 groups, and interest groups that visit the reserve. 

Project 2: Research Support

This project would help support collaborative work by the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County and an archaeology research lab at UC Berkeley. The fellow would assist archeology researchers, students, and Tribal partners to identify culturally important sites. Additionally, the fellow would work alongside other Hastings researchers and provide support where interested. This may include monitoring nesting birds, surveys for a variety of taxa (butterflies, small mammals, bats, etc.), checking camera traps, organizing camera data, and proposing new monitoring plans and projects.

Organizational & Community Highlights

Hastings Natural History Reservation is part of the larger UC Berkeley Natural Reserve System which encompasses six other protected areas in Northern California. Our small community of staff and faculty foster a collaborative environment that is characterized by a deep appreciation for nature. We are committed to advancing scientific knowledge and environmental stewardship to help address our society’s pressing conservation challenges. Working alongside this community would provide GrizzlyCorps fellows with invaluable professional development opportunities. First, fellows have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience conducting land stewardship projects that are highly sought after in environmental science, policy, and management fields. Second, our staff and faculty strive to offer practical skills, mentorship support, and career development advice to interns, students, and assistant stewards. Several long term research projects have been ongoing at Hastings for over 70 years! Our collaborations with the UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, archaeology & other research labs, the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, and local school groups will offer additional opportunities to engage with the local community. Thus fellows would have access to a broader network of experts and professionals in the disciplines of conservation science and environmental stewardship. 


In addition to these professional gains, living and working in Carmel Valley will offer fellows access to the stunning natural beauty of the diverse ecosystems of Sierra de Salinas. The site is found on the most northerly end of the Santa Lucia Range that makes up the Big Sur wilderness of central, coastal California. Located about 26 river miles upstream of the Pacific Ocean on the Carmel River watershed, Hastings includes the confluence of three seasonal creeks that feed into Finch Creek, and then the Carmel River. This area provides countless opportunities for exploration and outdoor recreation. The close proximity to Monterey and Big Sur offers additional ways to become involved with cultural events and arts initiatives in Monterey County. We hope to provide fellows with a dynamic and welcoming environment where they will not only thrive professionally but also enjoy a high quality of life, while cultivating a respect and love for the surrounding lands and communities.



The fellow would be housed directly on site in Carmel Valley. We can offer access to private housing with access to a kitchen, bath, and shower. The fellow would have free WiFi onsite and would not have to pay any utility costs. 

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