The legacy of an early conservationist now provides a hands-on, open air laboratory for Sonoma State students, just a few miles up the mountainside from their campus.
Nathan Rank is a professor of Biology at Sonoma State University and has been Director of Fairfield Osborn Preserve since 2000. He received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California-Davis in 1990. His research interests focus on evolutionary ecology and population biology.
One of the benefits of having the Osborn Preserve nearby, says professor Rank, is that it provides a convenient way to observe seasonal changes within the same environment.
Fairfield Osborn Preserve was established by The Nature Conservancy in 1972 through the generosity of William and Joan Roth in honor of Joan's father, Fairfield Osborn. The Preserve was donated to Sonoma State University in 1997 for use as an educational and research site. In 2004, William and Joan Roth donated an additional 190 acres to the Preserve, nearly doubling its size, and including the scenic ridgeline of Sonoma Mountain.
The Preserve occupies the upper slope at the center of the ridge (above) and is home to the headwaters and much of the watershed for Coleman Creek (below).
In addition to the many grade school children who visit the Preserve each year, Rank explains that university students are also able to work on a considerable variety of research projects there.
Various hikes and other educational outings are offered at Fairfield Osborn Preserve. Information and registration forms can be found here .
Fairfield Osborn Preserve is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including the endangered California Red-legged Frog.