The UC Natural Reserve System is a network of protected natural areas throughout California. Its 39 sites include more than 756,000 acres, making it the largest university-administered reserve system in the world. Most major state ecosystems are represented, from coastal tidepools to inland deserts, and lush wetlands to Sierra Nevada forests. The reserves also serve as a gateway to more than a million acres of public lands. Founded in 1965 to provide undisturbed environments for research, education, and public service, the Natural Reserve System contributes to the understanding and wise stewardship of the earth.