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Chico State

Man vs. Wild, Huber Style!

An educational session at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

Scott Huber leading a family bird-watching trip.

Scott Huber, Education and Research Coordinator, Ecological Reserves

I have the world’s best job. As the education and research coordinator for CSU, Chico’s Ecological Reserves I get to do both of the things that I love most: sharing my love of nature with others and getting my hands dirty as I help protect the reserve’s natural resources.

Dr. Paul Maslin pointing out the effects of fire on native trees.

On Tuesdays and Saturdays I work with the field manager, Paul Maslin (professor emeritus, biological sciences). First thing in the morning we load up an ATV with tools and head out – sometimes all the way across the creek to isolated Musty Buck Ridge. Typical tasks include creating fire breaks, removing invasive plants, and maintaining trails.

Northern saw-whet owl, the subject of two research projects at CSU, Chico Ecological Reserves.

On other days I join biologists as they work on their projects. I sometimes assist owl researchers: During the day we track radio-collared northern saw-whet owls with telemetry, scrambling up steep, brushy slopes to record the exact location of the owl; at night we use a recording to lure owls into a mist net, then we weigh, measure, and band them to aid in understanding their migration.

Other recent projects I’ve assisted with were helping a grad student determine what areas of the reserve would be best for studying foothill yellow-legged frogs and helping a Department of Fish and Game biologist choose a spot to capture and study band-tailed pigeons.

An educational session at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

In the spring and fall I have the privilege of sharing my enthusiasm for wildlife with school children as I visit classrooms and host class field-trips on the reserves. Our excellent staff teaches the kids about birds, turtles, geology, and Native American history, attempting to instill in them an outdoor ethic and appreciation for their natural surroundings.

I have the world’s best job.

You can keep up with Scott’s adventures on the BCCER’s Facebook page.

The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve contains 3,950 acres of diverse canyon and ridge habitats, including 4.5 miles of Big Chico Creek, and is home to many species of plants and animals. Our mission is to work together with the CSU Research Foundation’s Ecological Reserve System to preserve critical habitat and to provide a natural area for environmental research and education. BCCER contributes to the understanding and wise management of the Earth and its natural systems by preserving critical habitat, and providing a natural area for environmental research and education. You can learn more about the reserve at their website.