By Date

Amanda Okamoto receives the Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award

College of Natural Resources - Wed, 05/01/2024 - 10:25
thumnail of Amanda Okamoto May 01, 2024

Okamoto, department manager for the Energy and Resources Group, was recognized for her significant contributions to DEIBJ within the UC Berkeley community.

Professor Teresa Head-Gordon awarded the Humboldt Research Award

Department of Bioengineering - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 17:48

Photo of Teresa Head-Gordon, waist up, standing in the lobby of Stanley Hall, UC Berkeley

Congratulations to Professor Teresa Head-Gordon, who has been honored with a prestigious research award from the Humboldt Foundation, known for fostering collaboration with German scientists.
Categories: Science News

MCB Postdocs Research Showcase 2024

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Fri, 04/26/2024 - 16:58
Peukes and Yerkesh Peukes and Yerkesh, Co-Chairs (Image credit: Nico Novoa-Marchant, SDP Audiovisual 2024)

The 3rd annual MCB Postdocs Research Showcase took place on March 28th, 2024. The event featured research talks from MCB postdocs across every division, a poster session, a keynote address by Christopher Barnes (Assistant Professor at Stanford), and a career panel featuring guests from diverse career paths including academia, startup, science policy, and a science incubator. The showcase was a huge success in highlighting the stellar research being done by MCB postdocs, supporting postdocs' professional development, and building community. 

Hurley elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Thu, 04/25/2024 - 16:09

Hurley American Academy of Arts and Sciences electionJames Hurley, Professor of Cell Biology, Development and Physiology, was among 7 UC Berkeley faculty recently elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The Academy selects members for their excellence with the aim to connect across disciplines to advance the common good. Read more...

A win-win for people and the environment

College of Natural Resources - Wed, 04/24/2024 - 13:00
A photo of a farm with multiple rows of green crops and vegetables. April 24, 2024

A Science study co-authored by Kathryn De Master and Adrian Lu, PhD '20, found evidence that diversified farming practices maintain soil health and on-farm biodiversity while also increasing crop yields, food security, and human wellbeing.

Professor Doris Bachtrog Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Department of Integrative Biology - Wed, 04/24/2024 - 11:03


Integrative Biology Professor Doris Bachtrog was elected to the American Academic of Arts & Sciences in 2024. She was elected in the Evolution and Ecology section of the Biological Sciences elected members.

Categories: Science News

King and Welch elected as AAAS fellows

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Fri, 04/19/2024 - 13:13

King and Welch elected fellow of AAASProfessor of Genetics, Genomics, Evolution, and Development Nicole King and Professor of Cell Biology, Development and Physiology Matthew Welch are among six UCB faculty elected as lifetime fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This honor recognizes their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements. Read more...

Congratulations new NSF Fellows!

Department of Bioengineering - Wed, 04/17/2024 - 15:09
Congratulations to our new NSF Graduate Research Fellows! Among the winners are current PhD students Kira Buttrey, Emilie Kono, Nathan Lanclos, Brendan Mitchell, Gabriela Pena Carmona, Sarah Wasinger, and Dana Wilkins; incoming PhD students Joseph Asfouri and Corinne Martin; and graduating undergraduates Sushil Bohara, Justin Garlepp, Cyrus Tau and Dhruv Vaish. Well done!
Categories: Science News

ESPM’s Damian Elias receives UC Berkeley’s top Equity award

College of Natural Resources - Mon, 04/15/2024 - 11:48
Headshot of Professor Damian Elias April 15, 2024

The Chancellor's Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence and Equity recognizes UC Berkeley faculty who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to advancing DEIBJ efforts.

Spring 2024 ESPM faculty book panel

College of Natural Resources - Thu, 04/11/2024 - 11:34
Picture of professors Sunaura Taylor, Youjin Chung, and Michael Mascarenhas discussed their latest books with Rachel Morello-Frosch at book talk April 11, 2024

ESPM Professors Sunaura Taylor, Youjin Chung, and Michael Mascarenhas discussed their latest books with Rachel Morello-Frosch earlier this semester.

Advancing scientific understanding of calcium signaling

College of Natural Resources - Thu, 04/11/2024 - 11:19
Arabidopsis plantlings at the Oxford Tract April 11, 2024

Recent studies led by Plant and Microbial Biology professor Sheng Luan shed light on the role calcium plays in plant immunity and defense.

Only China is on track to meet global renewable energy commitments

College of Natural Resources - Mon, 04/08/2024 - 14:32
A photo of two men in suits shaking hands. April 08, 2024

New analysis from University of California, Berkeley researchers finds that China is the only nation on track to triple its renewable capacity by 2030, a key goal for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

2024 State of the College Address

College of Natural Resources - Fri, 04/05/2024 - 23:28
A person speaking with slides in front of a group. April 05, 2024

In his annual State of the College address, Dean David Ackerly covered topics such as recruitment, staffing, and students; strategic plan implementation; the College’s 50th anniversary celebrations, and budget and philanthropy.

Two Rausser College undergrads honored with 2024 Sustainability Awards

College of Natural Resources - Thu, 04/04/2024 - 14:00
April 04, 2024

Tatum Hurley and Brisa Alvarez were recognized for their efforts to make UC Berkeley a more sustainable place to work, live, and learn.

In Memoriam: Carroll B. Williams, Jr.

College of Natural Resources - Mon, 04/01/2024 - 12:29
A black and white photo of a man standing in front of a chalkboard in a classroom environment. April 01, 2024

The pioneering environmental scientist and former senior lecturer passed away on March 1. He was 94

Marletta inducted to AIMBE’s College of Fellows

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Sat, 03/30/2024 - 13:21

Marletta with his AIMBE awardMichael Marletta, Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, was inducted to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. This award honors individual's distinguished achievements in medical and biological engineering. Read more...

Strengthening nature-based climate solutions at the federal level

College of Natural Resources - Fri, 03/29/2024 - 11:13
A photo of a metal tower peeking out through tree branches. Photo courtesy of A. Christen, University of British Columbia Geography. March 29, 2024

In a PNAS opinion, professors Dennis Baldocchi, Trevor Keenan, and Margaret Torn join experts in recommending ways to strengthen the scientific foundation for Nature-based Climate Solutions.

Berkeley Analytics Lab Showcase

Department of Bioengineering - Thu, 03/28/2024 - 12:13
Join us for the Berkeley Analytics Lab Showcase from 12 pm to 2pm on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, where students will showcase data-driven solutions developed in the 2024 Analytics Lab Spring semester course. This showcase will explore the transformative power of analytics across an array of industries. From sports and entertainment to the forefront of fashion, finance, generative […]
Categories: Science News

Fostering Indigenous Co-Stewardship of Public Lands

College of Natural Resources - Thu, 03/28/2024 - 11:27
By Julie Gipple People holding hands in a circle on a hill [image caption]

Attendees of the field trip to Tolay Regional Park joined hands, reflecting on the area to which fire had returned after over 100 years. Photo by Lobsang Wangdu.

On a sunny Wednesday morning in Rohnert Park, California, Tribal leaders, Indigenous culture bearers, academics, and representatives of land management agencies from the places now known as the United States, Canada, and Mexico gathered for a two-day event focused on creating substantive, long-term agreements for Indigenous co-stewardship of public lands. Some attendees were meeting for the first time at The Event at Graton Resort and Casino, some were enjoying seeing collaborators in person after many meetings held via Zoom, and some renewed long standing relationships after too much time apart. 

Titled “Indigenous Co-Stewardship of Public Lands: Lessons for the Future,” the event was presented in partnership by the California Biodiversity Network (CBN) and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR), with grants from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and Resources Legacy Fund. FIGR’s significant contributions included providing the conference facility, planning, technology, food, and field transportation. Event partners included  the UC Berkeley Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity, California Natural Resource Agency (CNRA), The Stewardship Network, Hispanic Access Foundation, Native California Research Institute, East Bay Regional Park District, Indigenous Stewardship Network, and 30x30 California. 

The agenda included presentations on substantive, long-term co-stewardship agreements, hearing from proven communities of practice about co-management models, and offering attendees the opportunity to visit and learn about long-term co-management agreements initiated by FIGR at two Northern California places designated as public parks.

Advancing conservation, access, and resilience through Tribal partnerships

During the event’s opening remarks, Dr. Ana Alvarez, Deputy General Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District and a member of the California Biodiversity Network steering committee, referred to the Pathways to 30x30 report, issued by the CNRA on Earth Day 2022 that outlines priorities to advance the conservation of 30% of California lands and coastal waters by 2030, with three key objectives: protect and restore biodiversity, expand access to nature, and mitigate and build resilience to a changing environment through nature-based solutions. She said the report stressed that these objectives should be pursued while embracing a commitment to strengthening partnerships with California Native American Tribes. The conference aimed to address research priorities from the report and was intended to “spark a paradigm shift, laying the foundation for meaningful and mutually beneficial Tribal management and co-management of public lands by creating the opportunity to learn from successful models,” said Alvarez. 

Dr. Beverly R. Ortiz, Chair of the Native California Research Institute, also provided perspective as the event began. “Before there were public lands, before there was this thing called co-stewardship and co-management of public lands, there was stewardship of land. There was Traditional Ecological Knowledge. There were culture bearers,” she said. “It was a system of relationships—with creation, with previous generations, with plants, other animals, the minerals, the rocks.” Ortiz went on to acknowledge the “tremendous upheaval and change that Native people have endured, survived, and thrived through because of the generosity, the caring with kindness, the goodness of the elders.” It is these culture bearers and these elders, she said, whose resilience and forward-thinking formed the basis of all that’s being done related to co-stewardship today. 

Miracles, Healers The Honorable Greg Sarris, Chair of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. Photo by Lobsang Wangdu. [image caption]

The Honorable Greg Sarris, Chair of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. Photo by Lobsang Wangdu.

Next, The Honorable Greg Sarris, Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, spoke of Spanish and then Mexican colonization of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo Tribes of Marin and Sonoma Counties. “What happened to the people happened to the land,” he said. “As we were put in missions, new species of grasses colonized the Indigenous grasses.” He further discussed the enslavement of Indigenous people through indentured servitude, vagrancy laws, and convict leasing, and how the state of California continued the environmental degradation started during colonization. “The water table in the area was lowered by 50 feet, and the last grizzly bear was killed,” he said. “By the 20th century, only 5 to10% of the Indigenous population remained, and the same percent of the original redwood grove was left,” he said. “The land was radically changed.” 

Sarris referenced a term in Kashaya, the language of the Western Pomo, which referred to white people as “miracles.” Elders told him they called white people “miracles” because they’d always believed that if you harm nature or one another, something would come for you—you’d “get fixed.” But the white people arrived—killing animals and people, chopping down the trees, damming the water—and instead of getting punished, more of them kept coming. “Today, as we know, nobody turns out to be a miracle, because in fact, it's all coming back on all of us,” Sarris said. “There is no water, there is no air that isn’t poisoned. We know that we and future generations are being punished. But today we gather as Indian and non-Indian alike and want to change that. We know that we are all in this together. Luckily and miraculously, Indigenous knowledge survives. We can share.”

Sarris then described co-stewardship of public lands as an avenue to begin to heal the extreme damage done to both the land and the people.  He outlined the two co-stewardship agreements that FIGR has made. One, at Tolay Lake Regional Park in Sonoma County, is believed to be the first of its kind in California between a local government and a federally recognized tribe. The second is a precedent-setting agreement with Point Reyes National Seashore and the National Park Service. Sarris noted that the most important thing when negotiating co-stewardship agreements is that Tribes have at least 50/50 control, and even more when it comes to sacred spaces. “Co-management can’t be where we’re just advisors invited to the table but somebody else has power,” he said. “You make sure that regarding sacred sites, restoration, land use…that you have equal power to whatever agency you’re working with.”

He closed by acknowledging that the goal cannot be to restore everything to how it used to be. “There has been so much destruction that we need to work together to go piece by piece to restore and heal the land,” he said. “Just as none of us are miracles, all of us can become healers.”

California, U.S., and International Agreements

The event then focused on the topic of co-stewardship in present-day California, including presentations detailing: 

  • co-management at Point Reyes National Seashore; 
  • how the Karuk Tribe is moving from co-stewardship to co-management; 
  • the formal co-stewardship agreements between the Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians and the Bureau of Land Management; and
  • expanding opportunities for Tribal partnerships with California State Parks. 
Cynthia Wilson (Diné), PhD student in ESPM, speaking stewardship efforts [image caption]

Cynthia Wilson (Diné), a PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, discussing co-stewardship efforts at Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Photo by Lobsang Wangdu.

Many lessons learned, examples, and useful resources were shared, including the Karuk Tribe’s climate adaptation plan and resources related to how to approach possible agreements at the state park level. 

Next, the presentations broadened scope to agreements in other states in the U.S., with sessions moderated by Patrick Gonzalez, Director of the UC Berkeley Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity. These included discussions on:

  • grassroots strategies at Bears Ears National Monument, Utah; 
  • co-stewardship of Grand Portage National Monument on Lake Superior between the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the National Park Service; and
  • formal funding agreements for co-stewardship of the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska between the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Cynthia Wilson (Diné), a PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management began the conversation on co-stewardship efforts at Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Wilson is a founding member of the Women of Bears Ears initiative, which seeks to restore Indigenous women’s matrilineal roles and rematriate the earth. She has been active in the efforts to establish Bears Ears as a National Monument. Wilson illustrated how changing presidential administrations have affected Bears Ears, with President Obama designating the 1.36 million acre monument in 2016 followed by President Trump reducing the monument’s size by 85%, and then President Biden reinstating the monument to its original acreage. Due to the controversy, signs were not posted at the monument until about a year ago, she said.

“The presidential proclamation highlighted that Traditional Ecological Knowledge is itself a resource to be protected, and to use for understanding and managing this landscape sustainably for generations to come,” Wilson said, adding that “the land itself is essential to each of our cultures and tribal nations.” She continued to describe how Tribes in the area of Bears Ears interact with the land. “Our ceremonies originated from this place; we go there for firewood, medicine, for food, for art,” she said. “Part of this movement is this place being a living landscape. It's really that restoring that symbiotic relationship of the land and of the people.”

She highlighted the restorative relationships, saying “access to the land is more important than highlighting Indigenous knowledge, because we don't share our knowledge—we practice it. We need to be actively present on these lands for healing of the people and healing of the land.” 

Wilson described some activities that exemplify restoring a relationship to cultural resources, including a study on firewood research that consulted with elders; her work rematriating Solanum jamesii, a tiny white potato that is an ancestral food documented 11,000 years ago in the southwest region; and a New York Times Op-Ed published by the Women of Bears Ears.

Co-presenter Gavin Noyes, Arts, Advocacy, and Healing Program Coordinator with the nonprofit INDIGENOUS LED, discussed the importance of nonprofit organizations—in addition to federal and state agencies—in supporting co-stewardship movements. He stressed that nonprofits can be especially helpful when Tribes have little capacity and infrastructure to advance their goals of protecting public lands. 

A woman and a man are both speakers or presenters [image caption]

Left: Minneth Medina, Director of Junta Intermunicipal Biocultural del Puuc (Mayan), speaking on biocultural governance in the Mayan region of Puuc.  Right: Armando Quintero, Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, outlining options for expanding Tribal Partnerships with California State Parks. Photos by Lobsang Wangdu.

After a lunch break during which attendees continued to make connections and share ideas, afternoon presentations turned toward co-stewardship of public lands internationally.  These sessions were moderated by Jonathan Jarvis, board chairman of the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity. Speakers discussed: 

  • Formal management agreements between First Nations and Parks Canada;
  • Community-led conservation collaborations between Indigenous and Local Communities in the Yucatan Peninsula; and 
  • Biocultural governance in the Mayan Region of Puuc
Inspiration and Activation

The day’s presentations ended with a Q&A session and an opportunity for open-mic audience reflections, which included discussion of how co-stewardship works with Tribes that are not federally recognized as well as attendees expressing thanks for the resources shared throughout the day.

Jon Jarvis noted that a forthcoming issue of Parks Stewardship Forum, a free online publication of the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity and the George Wright Society, will capture the ideas, lessons, and models mentioned during the conference and make them available in 2025. “The issue will focus on how to scale, and push for every agency to enter into an agreement that truly creates co-stewardship,” he said. 

Don Hankins (Plains Miwok), Co-Lead of the Indigenous Stewardship Network, urged attendees to use this event as an activator, and go on to explore opportunities to push new boundaries and forge new arrangements. “We came to the meeting; now what's the action we will take?” he said. 

Traditional artifacts [image caption]

Left: Artist Martina Morgan, Kashia Pomo Tribe, displayed a miniature Pomo cradle, a seaweed tray made from willow, clapper sticks, and willow tied up for basket making. Right: Robin Meely, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, holding an open twine willow bird catcher.


The day’s formal events were followed by a reception hosted by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, during which attendees could take in several cultural presentations, visit cultural display tables, and sample cultural foods. The following day, field trips to Point Reyes National Seashore or Tolay Lake Regional Park allowed members of FIGR to elaborate on their historic co-stewardship efforts on those lands. At Tolay Lake, park staff shared stories of the many years of dialog, building relationships, and identifying common visions and goals for the park. The PhD work of ESPM assistant professor Peter Nelson, which documented archeological evidence of Indigenous communities who lived on the land, was also discussed. In addition, speakers noted that last year fire was restored to the park’s grasslands for the first time since Spanish colonization.

In comments concluding the formal proceedings of the day, Gregg Castro, (t’rowt’raahl Salinan/rumsien-ramaytush Ohlone), Vice-Chair of the Native California Research Institute, noted that a resounding theme throughout the day was on the importance of relationships, and stressed the value of the work being done. “It's not an easy road, but it's the right road,” he said. “It's not business to us…it's our heart and spirit that we put into this. We’ve learned the tools of business in this new world that we have to live in, but it's who we are and what we do. We’re not from the land, we’re of the land, and the land is of us. And that’s the only way we can do it.”

People in group where one i holding up a poster, and in the second picture there are two people squatted down on grass observing a frog [image caption]

Left: Freddie Romero (Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria) during the field trip to Tolay Regional Park, showing a map design for a new outdoor event, educational, and performance space co-designed by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and the Sonoma Regional Parks. Right: Clinical Herbalist/ Traditional Practitioner Sage LaPena (Nomtipom Wintu) showing a Pacific Chorus Frog to attendee Isaiah Thalmayer, Senior Project Manager at Point Blue Conservation Science. Photos by Lobsang Wangdu.