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Santa Monica Mountains opens new field station

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Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 11:58 am

UCLA and the National Park Service (NPS) opened a field station in the Santa Monica Mountains last week. The field station will serve as headquarters and center of operations for the university’s La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, according a NPS press release.

The new field station is housed in NPS facilities and was renovated through the generous endowment provided by UCLA alumnus and philanthropist Morton La Kretz.

The field station, a project that began three years ago, will have many uses including serving as an off-campus location for classes as well a place where UCLA’s world class researchers will work to save and renew Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains, says the release.

As the headquarters for La Kretz Center activities, the field station will encourage more conservation research in the Los Angeles area, said UCLA conservation biologist Brad Shaffer.

“Having a home base in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains makes it much more attractive to do research,” Shaffer said. “For the first time, we have a building where students, researchers and our agency partners can work, brainstorm, and stay in the mountains.”

Upcoming projects at the La Kretz Center include:

• A small grant program to jumpstart graduate students’ research on local conservation management projects.

• A program to recruit post-Ph.D. scientists to UCLA to work with the La Kretz Center and its agency partners.

• The California Conservation Genomics initiative, which will use cutting-edge conservation genomics tools to examine how well California’s public lands are protecting endangered species.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. For more information, visit

UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. For more information, visit

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