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Research and Monitoring Program

Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary serves as a research facility where staff, students, and citizen scientists monitor and investigate the status of our local native habitats. Our research and monitoring program utilizes sound scientific principles and practices in designing projects that focus on the development of information datasets. Datasets are available for copy at the Sanctuary. Tucker is well-suited to its scientific role, having the resources of California State University, Fullerton to pursue its research mission.

College Research Projects

Student research is a critical component of all college and university disciplines. Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary has hosted student researchers from such disciplines as biology, botany, geology, geography, and environmental science for many years. Recent projects have included studies on vegetation regrowth after the Santiago Fire 2007; hummingbird feeding habits; and riparian mapping strategies. College-level students are encouraged to submit a Research Proposal to Site Manager, Marcella Gilchrist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Citizen Monitoring

Bio Research
Bio Research
Citizen-based monitoring combines the knowledge and commitment of interested citizens with the technical expertise and resources of the Sanctuary. The program fosters environmental awareness by encouraging volunteers to actively participate in projects that promote stewardship of our natural resources.

Citizen monitoring is conducted every Friday, from 9am until 4pm. Join us for part or all day. Call 714 649-2760 to reserve your spot. Adults and supervised teens volunteers are welcome to participate.

Programs for youths and students are available through our Outdoor Education Program. Learn More

We invite you to explore the links below and learn more about how our volunteers are working to improve the health of our local environment.

Avian Monitoring

About the Program

Bird monitoring is a strategic activity involving repeated measurement of avian distribution, abundance, demographics, and/or health. Monitoring is important to assess the status of bird populations and to evaluate response of bird populations to management actions or environmental change. Bird monitoring also has an essential role to play in bird conservation planning. Because bird-watching is popular among members of the general public, bird-monitoring projects have been among the most successful at integrating citizen scientists. Tucker teams citizen monitors with knowledgeable staff to conduct weekly surveys of bird species diversity, density, and distribution.

What do Volunteers do?

Tucker staff conducts several types of bird counts. Daily casual observations are recorded by all staff. Volunteers, both amateur and experienced birders, participate in weekly USGS style Point count surveys. A point count, or circular-plot survey, involves a series of points or stations at which birds are counted. Observers spend a prescribed time (10 minutes) at each station, looking and listening for birds. Monitors record their findings at each of five stations at the Sanctuary. Once the point counts are completed, volunteers may spend time recording casual observations or just practicing their birding skills.

Who Can Volunteer?

Water Monitoring
Water Monitoring
Either amateur and experienced birders or just interested volunteers are welcome to join us. This activity is limited to adult participants. Most trails are accessible; however, this activity may require hiking on a moderately strenuous trail. Binoculars and field guides can be provided if needed. Avian monitoring is conducted from 9am to 11:30am. Call 714 649-2760 to reserve your spot.

Vegetation Survey

About the Program

Plants form the basic foundation of food webs and support other life forms. The vegetation can influence the kinds of animals that are attracted to the area. Vegetation can also act as an indicator of change in local or regional environments. Tucker staff and volunteers conducted a weekly species diversity study for years 2009/2010. The study included indentifying all species present at the facility and recording fruiting and flowering activity of all species. The vegetation study will resume in Jan 2013.

Herbarium

About the Program

Volunteer efforts are now focused on collecting and preserving plant specimens in order to complete a herbarium for Tucker's laboratory. When completed, the herbarium will house dried, mounted and labeled examples of all 289 species of plant identified at the Sanctuary. the specimens will be available as reference material for students and visitors.

What do Volunteers do?

Volunteers work with experienced staff to collect plant specimens and photograph plants. Field notes are important in helping to indentify species and increasing the botanical knowledge in a geographical region. Citizen volunteers help record information on plant location, habitat, plant description, fruiting/ flowering activity, etc. The collected plant specimens are set up in a plant press for drying. Previously dried specimens are mounted on paper and labeled.

Who Can Volunteer?

Adult volunteers are welcome to join us. Some knowledge of native plants is helpful but not necessary. Neat penmanship is a plus. Training is provided. Activity may require access to rough terrain. Volunteer help is needed from 1pm to 4pm Tues-Fri. Call 714 649-2760 for more information.

Weather Monitoring

Davis Vantage Pro2 transmits wireless data to Tucker's Natural Science Center.