Blue Oak Ranch Reserve

BORR campus
Blue Oak Ranch Reserve campus

The Blue Oak Ranch Reserve (BORR) is a 3,280 acre Biological Field Station and Ecological Reserve, one of the 41 such units of the UC Natural Reserve System, and is operated jointly by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Berkeley Natural History Museums and UCNRS. The Reserve provides a wealth of research and teaching opportunities in a wide range of important Californian habitats. In addition to the blue oak woodlands that inspired its name, the site includes extensive upland valley oak woodlands, mixed (blue, black, valley, coast live) oak woodlands, steep densely vegetated canyons, and well preserved perennial streams with intact riparian vegetation and populations of native trout, river otters, and yellow-legged frogs. In total, the reserve supports more than 460 species of plants, 130 species of birds, 41 species of mammals, 7 species of amphibians, 14 species of reptiles, 7 species of fish, and hundreds of species of invertebrates. Less than a 2 hour drive from the Berkeley campus, we offer overnight accommodations for up to 52, a 24 seat classroom, large multi-purpose room that can seat up to 70, group kitchen, equipped field land wet laboratory, and broadband network access provide even more opportunities for courses, research, citizen science and focused workshops or retreats.

Programs and Opportunities

Our users originate from across the University of California System, California State University System, private and public universities inside and outside of California, government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and unaffiliated volunteers to conduct activities spanning the engineering and computer sciences, earth sciences, and the life sciences. Multi-year research projects focus on genetic and disease aspects of native amphibians (University of Colorado, Boulder, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz); eco- hydrological responses of vegetation to climate, soils and topography (UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz); Oak hybridization, population dynamics, and ecology (UC Berkeley); plant- pollinator-pathogen networks involving migratory hummingbirds (UC Riverside) and active land/vegetation stewardship using a range of techniques (fire, grazing, vegetation removal, etc). In addition, BORR facilitates field courses that provide outstanding educational opportunities to California students and engages with numerous environmental and nature-related organizations in the Bay Area. We encourage new project proposals at any time.

Additional contacts

Zac Harlow, Resident Director and Manager,, (307) 760-8031

Zac Tuthill, Resident Steward and Assistant Manager,, (406) 599-4751

Staff contact
Mailing address

1315 Piedmont Rd.
San Jose, CA 95132

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