Hopland Research and Extension Center
University of California
Hopland Research and Extension Center

Happenings at Hopland REC

Drones, Vines and Oaks: Hopland RECs Harvest Celebration

Acorns are dropping from the mighty oaks at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) – marking a time to celebrate the 5,358 acres of oak woodland and rangeland at the facility.

On Oct. 15 the doors to the center will open, inviting the public to join scientists and staff as they enjoy the fruits of the season with a farm-to-table luncheon, live bluegrass music and an oak-inspired silent auction. Funds from this event will support educational programming at the site.

The event offers the community the chance to learn about the research being conducted and enjoy the best in local produce.

“From 10 a.m. to 12 noon there will be optional field tours of some of our key research projects, where visitors can meet the scientists, see what tools they use and what they are learning about our environment,” said Hannah Bird, community educator at HREC.

Participants can choose from four field experiences, including large mammal wildlife research using the latest in drone technology with UC Berkeley researcher Justin Brashares to a relaxed visit in the vineyard tasting Mediterranean wine varietals with UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor Glenn McGourty. A stroll with the HREC director will offer a visit to the Shippey Hall, woodworking and mechanic shops, lambing barn and greenhouse to experience a slice of the diversity of research, outreach and teaching offered on the site.

A three-course luncheon runs from 12 to 3 p.m. and includes presentations from HREC director Kim Rodrigues, live bluegrass music from local band “Gibson Creek” and the silent auction.

“We've been so grateful to all those who have offered artwork, jewelry, food and oak woodland experiences for this silent auction,” Bird said. “I'm going to struggle not to bid for them all myself.”


Auction items include gorgeous oak paintings, a stunning oak table made by Ben Frey, a dinner and farm tour with Magruder Ranch and a family science adventure kit focused on our woodlands, alongside books, posters and photographs.

Funds raised at the event will support the creation of a new nature trail to Parson's Creek, which cannot currently be safely accessed during school field trips.

“We are now offering many more opportunities for the public to visit our site. More than 500 K-12 students and 2,000 community members visit annually, yet we cannot currently access the creek safely,” Rodrigues said. “This trail will open up great opportunities for riparian educational activities with our local students.”

Tickets cost $65 for adults and $15 for children.

Register online 

 or by calling Hannah Bird at (707) 744-1424, Ext. 105. The registration deadline is by October 11. The event will be at the Rod Shippey Hall, 4070 University Road, Hopland.

Due to the nature of the research with sheep and a commitment to using guard dogs as part of a predator control program, no dogs are allowed on UC ANR HREC for public events.


More on our speakers


Justin Brashares, Ph.D., is an associate professor at UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.  His focus areas include

the catastrophic global decline of biodiversity widely recognized as among the most pressing problems we face as a society. His research attempts to understand how consumption of wild animals and conversion of natural habitats affects the dynamics of animal communities and the persistence of populations. Work in his group extends beyond traditional animal conservation to consider the economic, political and cultural factors that drive and, in turn, are driven by, changes in wildlife abundance and diversity. Through these efforts, his group strives to propose empirically based, interdisciplinary strategies for biodiversity conservation.


Glenn McGourty is the UC Cooperative Extension viticulture and plant science advisor for Lake and Mendocino counties. He received a bachelor's degree in botany from Humboldt State University in 1974 and an master's degree in plant soil and water science from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1979. McGourty joined UC Cooperative Extension in 1987, and works with winegrape growers, wineries, nurseries, landscapers and vegetable growers. Present research activities include evaluating 14 Mediterranean winegrape varieties; clonal trials of Sauvignon blanc, comparison of organic, biodynamic and conventional farming for their effects on winegrape and soil quality; and evaluation of cover crop species.


Prahlada Papper is an educator and naturalist as well as a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley in David Ackerly's ecology lab. His research at the Hopland Research and Extension Center involves the genetic and ecological diversity of California oaks. Papper doesn't really expect to find answers to the age old mysteries of oaks, but does think that by using modern tools like genome sequencing and ecological models, we can look at some of the old questions in new ways.


Kim Rodrigues, Ph.D. is the director of the Hopland Research and Extension Center. She began her UC career with Cooperative Extension in 1991 as a forestry and natural resources advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties. She became the county director two years later. Her research and extension activities have focused on environmental policy and engagement of the public in resolving environmental conflicts. Her experience, coupled with a great passion for HREC's 5,300 acres of oak woodland and a keen desire to reach out to the community to encourage collaboration and partnerships, offers new opportunities and exciting times at HREC.

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2016 at 3:16 PM

Meet HREC intern Dana Burton

We are so fortunate to have had Dana Burton join our team over the last few weeks, interning on a variety of our educational projects - here's a note from her!

Hi Everyone!
I am Dana Burton. I was raised in Los Angeles, CA. Currently, I attend University of California, Davis majoring in Environmental Science and Resource Management and interning at the Hopland Research Extension Center for the summer.  Here at HREC, I've been able to help on many projects such as the "Sheep Stories" a tour of Mendocino County libraries. Also, I have been fortunate to experience many different habitats and wildlife as I work on the Shippey Hall Museum drawers.

  Dana worked hard to prepare raw fleeces (straight from the backs of our sheep) into brightly colored, clean wool for our educational projects! As she commented during the process "I've never even touched a sheep before!"

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2016 at 12:06 PM
Tags: Hopland (10), intern (1), wool (5)

HREC June Newsletter NOW OUT!

Follow this link to see our June newsletter and meet our researchers!


HREC June Newsletter


Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 12:54 PM
Tags: goatgrass (1), Hopland (10), medusahead (1), ranching (2), Research (3), sheep (9), Wildlife (5)

Confident Collaboration: Early Bird Registration

We talk about the need for collaboration all the time! There's no question about it's value, but we also know that it's one of the most difficult things to achieve when you enter a room of diverse viewpoints in the hopes of bringing them together in a common path.

In my year at HREC I have been amazed on numerous occasions by our own Director, Dr. Kim Rodrigues, as she tackles complex subjects with many and diverse groups and manages to reach some level of agreement and action in every case! Dr. Rodrigues has agreed to share some of the tools that she has built up over years with her colleague Kim Ingram in a 3 day workshop "Collaborative Facilitation and Group Process" during which participants will explore facilitation skills and tools that can support your success during collaborative efforts, both as a facilitator and participant. Participants will identify important processes that can support collaboration, share tools to prevent problems, and demonstrate interventions to support success when problems arise. These workshops are designed to help you learn the skills needed to support the mutual learning and discussion required in any truly collaborative effort. 

This training has been developed to serve a wide variety of stakeholders representing many different backgrounds, don't miss this chance to revitalize your collaborative efforts!

The 3 workshop days take place on August 23rd, 24th and September 29th. Take advantage of early bird registration by July 1st and pay only $125, $150 after this date.

Register online here!



Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Dave Koball to join as HREC Superintendent

In the 60 years that the University of California has operated it's beautiful 5,358 acre Research and Extension Center (REC) in Hopland only a handful of people have helped to manage the site as Superintendent. Dave Koball, formerly of Fetzer, is about to follow in the footsteps of Bob Keiffer in this role.

“Dave's education and experience prepare him well for the diversity of management challenges and opportunities we currently face while supporting relevant and timely research at Hopland.  Dave's established working relationships with our community partners will advance our research and outreach efforts and strengthen our current team efforts.” commented Dr. Kim Rodrigues, Hopland REC Director. The job of superintendent at the Hopland REC has always been something of a balancing act – mixing the needs of many and various research projects on the site with the desire to practice sustainable land management. Just one of the challenges that Koball will be working on is the efforts the center is making to run an active ranch while also respecting the wide diversity of native wildlife that shares the site with the flock of over 800 Western whiteface sheep.

“I am thrilled and honored to become a member of the knowledgeable, dedicated, and enthusiastic team at the University of California Hopland REC. It is my hope that my background in research from earlier in my career and more recent winegrape industry experience and contacts will help me to increase the visibility, and usability of this gem of a resource that we have here in our backyard.  The Hopland REC is a very representative sample of inland Mendocino county, and has features in common with many areas of California, making it the perfect area for research on natural resources, ecology, and different agricultural products from winegrapes to sheep and other new up and coming crops.  With a base elevation of 500 feet and upper elevation of 3,000 feet, the ranch is topographically diverse and absolutely beautiful!  I am really looking forward to entering the California Naturalist program that is run from the Center, as well as participating in many of the public events held there, from sheep shearing to the monthly hikes.  I feel very fortunate to be able to have this fantastic opportunity to learn more about nature and biology while continuing to live and work in Mendocino County.” described Mr. Koball when asked about his hopes for the position. Koball's addition to the team marks an important time at the center as a number of new positions, including the directorship have been filled in the last 2 years. “This is an exciting time for Hopland REC, with a great team now ready to meet the challenges of our times and to share what we learn with our local community” commented Rodrigues.

There are opportunities to visit the center and meet Hopland REC staff at upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter to be kept up to date! 

Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 1:22 PM

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