The UC Mission: Teaching, Research and Public Service
The University of California's storied history and mission of teaching, research and public service dates back to its establishment as a land grant institution in 1868. The public service role took shape almost immediately with promotion of the newly formed College of Agriculture, providing expertise to support the state’s burgeoning agriculture industry.
The 1887 passage of the Hatch Act, which provided federal land for the creation of a series of agricultural experiment stations, led the way for the creation of the Riverside Citrus Experiment Station in 1907. Since then, contributions by university scientists and researchers have ranged from creating new industries to eradicating bothersome pests throughout the valley.
The University and the Coachella Valley
For more than 100 years, the Coachella Valley has been central to university research of crops of arid and semi-arid lands which has been shared in similar regions of the world. The university's work in agricultural research in citrus, field crops, grapes, turf and vegetables, including Phoenix dactylifera - commonly known as the date palm, a staple of modern-day valley agriculture.
The UCR Center for Conservation Biology is focused on research questions that manage a sustainable environment for people and our region’s natural biodiversity. Current research and projects include: impacts and control of exotic weeds in native habitats; determining sufficient habitat area and patch configuration to sustain populations of sand dune species; developing a framework from which to evaluate local environmental health, such as when to manage a region vs. letting nature "take its course;" creating a collaborative research program with conservation biologists working in arid lands in Mexico; developing programs to engage local middle and high school students in answering environmental research questions.
The Philip L. Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Reserve Center is a 6,597-hectare (16,301-acre) reserve that is part of the University of California Natural Reserve System (NRS). Located about five miles south of the city of Palm Desert, Deep Canyon is one of the largest NRS reserves, containing a major portion of an entire drainage system on the north side of the Santa Rosa Plateau fronting Palm Desert, spanning forest to desert scrublands. The center is home to many threatened habitats and more than 50 archeological sites. Examples of selected research at Boyd Deep Canyon include: population biology of the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata), a state-endangered and federally threatened species; health and demography of the peninsular bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis cremnobates), a state-threatened and federally proposed-endangered species; mountain lion and rattlesnake ecology; physiology of succulents; and hybridization of quail species.
UCR Palm Desert is also home to an office of the California Center for Native Nations. The center initiates, facilitates, and executes research by, about and with American Indian people with a strong focus on California Native Nations. The center also serves tribes by connecting them with the expertise found within the University of California to solve research problems unique to Native Nations.