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The UC Natural Reserve System, established in 1965 to support field research, teaching, and public service in natural environments, has become a prototype of conservation and land stewardship looked to by natural resource managers throughout the world. From its modest beginnings of seven sites, the UC NRS has grown to encompass more than 750,000 wildland acres. This book tells the story of how a few forward-thinking UC faculty, who'd had their research plots and teaching spots destroyed by development and habitat degradation, devised a way to save representative examples of many of California's major ecosystems. Working together with conservation-minded donors and landowners, with state and federal agencies, and with land trusts and private conservation organizations, they founded what would become the world's largest university-administered natural reserve system--a legacy of lasting significance and utility. This lavishly illustrated volume, which includes images by famed photographers Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell, describes the natural and human histories of the system's many reserves. Located throughout California, these wildland habitats range from coastal tide pools to inland deserts, from lush wetlands to ancient forests, and from vernal pools to oak savannas. By supporting teaching, research, and public service within such protected landscapes, the UC NRS contributes to the understanding and wise stewardship of the Earth.