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JRBP to Host Community Open House

Searsville Reservoir at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.  In the background is Leslie Shao-ming Field Station, Stanford University’s first carbon-neutral building.

On Saturday May 12, 2018, from 10 am to 3 pm, Stanford University’s premier terrestrial outdoor research and teaching laboratory in the hills near Palo Alto—Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve—will be open to the public for discovery and exploration in one of California’s most diverse ecological settings.  The last time a community open house took place was more than 10 years ago.

Formally established as a biological preserve by Stanford University in 1973 and a part of UNESCO’s Golden Gate Biosphere and the Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network, the preserve is recognized internationally not only for the ecological, geological, and other kinds of research and teaching that have gone on there for more than a century, but also as a gem of nature hidden in the midst of Silicon Valley.

The purpose of this year’s open house is to help the surrounding communities and all who are interested learn about the preserve and the role it plays in Stanford’s mission and in regional and international nature conservation efforts. At this family-friendly event visitors of all ages will have the chance to interact with Stanford researchers and educators conducting work at Jasper Ridge, to take self-guided walks, and to visit exhibits that highlight both current and past research that has made the preserve world-renowned.  

Among the special features of the preserve are its diverse vegetation, which include nearly every natural plant community found in west-central California.  More than a thousand species of vascular plants, mosses, lichens and fungi have been recorded.  Animal communities are no less impressive, with more than 280 vertebrate species (animals with backbones) that range from mountain lions at the largest to shrews at the smallest, plus an untold number of invertebrate animals—snails, worms, insects and so on—that are vital to healthy ecosystems. 

This rich assemblage of plants and animals, combined with the remarkably diverse landscape that hosts them, provides an ideal natural laboratory in which to learn how nature works, which over the years has yielded—and continues to yield—important discoveries by researchers from Stanford and around the world.  Currently about 60 different research projects are underway each year, some long-term, such as wildlife monitoring through a camera-trapping network that has been in place since 2009 and ant and bird surveys that have been in place more than two decades. Other studies play out over shorter time-spans (up to five years), such as determining how microbes affect subsurface soil processes, or how microscopic-size ecosystems evolve deep within sticky monkey-flowers.  Educational use abounds, with more than 5000 people learning at the preserve each year, drawn from more than 20 courses at Stanford, from other colleges and high-schools in the area, and from the general public who during the academic year can reserve educational tours via the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve website https://jrbp.stanford.edu/visit.

The 1193 acres that now comprise the preserve have a rich historical legacy that will also be featured during the open house. Prior to the arrival of Spanish explorers, Muwekma Ohlone encampments and villages were numerous.  After Spanish contact, ranching and timber operations eventually proliferated, and the town of Searsville grew only to be abandoned once Searsville Dam was completed in 1892.

Everyone is welcome to attend the family-friendly Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve Open House. The event is free, but a ticket which can be obtained at EVENTBRITE - JRBP OPEN HOUSE TICKET is required.  Please note that pets are not allowed and smoking is prohibited throughout the preserve, including outdoors.

Parking will only be available off-site at 2882 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, just east of the Sand Hill exit off of 280, about two miles from the preserve. Shuttle buses will run between the parking area and the preserve beginning at 9:30 a.m. Limited ADA parking will be available on-site at the preserve (located at 4001 Sand Hill Road, Woodside) by prior reservation, which can be made here: JRBP OPEN HOUSE TICKET. Bicyclists can come directly to the preserve, where limited bike parking will be available.

Further details about the event, including safety information, what to bring and what not to bring, can be found at: https://jrbp.stanford.edu/content/open-house-information.

​Photo: Searsville Reservoir at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.  In the background is Leslie Shao-ming Sun Field Station, Stanford University’s first carbon-neutral building.