On the Expedition
Explore the natural landscape that protects one of California’s most valuable resources, its rivers. The rivers in the California Delta provide drinking water for major cities, support the fruits and vegetables grown here, and provide habitat for many iconic species.
Scientists, non profit organizations, and local governments are working to restore and safeguard California’s rivers and the habitat around them. You’ll work along several rivers in the California Delta region to determine how this essential ecosystem is responding to riparian and floodplain restoration efforts. You’ll set up transects, identify vegetation and measure trees. You’ll capture and identify butterflies and wild bees, and collect other data necessary to quantify nature’s services.
By engaging in this applied research, you’ll have the opportunity to experience what it is like to work in a ‘living laboratory’, where research findings provide guidance for better management of California’s riparian and floodplain ecosystems, as well as its water resources. Your valued involvement will deepen your awareness of the connection between freshwater ecosystems and surrounding terrestrial habitats, as well as issues critical to sustaining local communities and solving regional environmental problems. Your work will help illustrate the relevance of freshwater systems to our daily lives.
In your time off, you can hike, kayak or canoe the California Delta and its nearby Cosumnes and Mokelumne Rivers. You can explore the Cosumnes River Preserve, and watch for enigmatic birds in the heart of the Pacific Flyway. End your journey with a visit to famous wine-growing areas, or visit farmers markets stuffed with fresh produce and alive with local entertainment.
Meals and Accommodations
You’ll stay at the Hallmark Inn in Davis, and will share rooms (same gender only), with two volunteers per room. The hotel is within walking distance of the University of California, Davis and offers free parking. Each room has flat-screen TV, coffee maker, and is equipped with free Wi-Fi. Guests can also work in the business center. The Hallmark Inn is 20 miles from the Sacramento International Airport, and a 60-minute drive from Napa Valley.
Breakfasts will be at the hotel. Dinners will be at local restaurants selected by the team leaders. In the field, brown-bag lunches will be provided so as to not lose valuable research time. Lunch may consist of sandwiches, chips, salad, drink and water. Snacks in the field will also be provided, and may consist of fruit, granola bars, or chips.
About the Research Area
The Cosumnes River Preserve is the gateway to California's Delta Region and contains some of the best examples of riparian forest remaining in California. The preserve has its own hiking trails where wildlife can be observed, including many species of migratory birds. It is also a popular kayaking and canoeing spot. The town of Lodi, just 15 minutes away, is also a well-known wine growing area. The preserve is located just 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento, where volunteers can enjoy local farmers markets, the California State Capitol building, restaurants, and visits to the Sacramento and American Rivers. The study site is just under an hour from the Sierra Nevada foothills, where wine tasting and hiking are quite popular.
Volunteers can expect to be immersed in California's rural agricultural culture, where farmers markets and vineyards are far more common than skyscrapers and beaches.