By Tiffany Wu, Jennifer Adachi, Kayla Sarah Patel, Abir Hossain, Jamie Liu, Polly Kirsch, and Valeree Catangay

As the year comes to an end, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our SAR experiences. We’ve been through so much together as a team and gone through our fair share of hurdles. We have helped restore Sage Hill, spread awareness, and became advocates for this beautiful spot on campus.

We would also like to thank everyone involved in the process. Thank you to our incredible SAR directors Mochi and Austin for hosting meetings and keeping us on track. Thank you to Dr. Tom Gillespie for inspiring and teaching us. Thank you to Cully and Nurit for helping us navigate the difficulties of UCLA and never giving up on the sign.

Jen: “I can’t believe how fast the past two quarters zipped by! It’s crazy to think that 20 weeks ago we were just meeting each other and had no idea what our project would be. Now Sage Hill feels like such an important part of my UCLA experience and is one of my favorite places on campus. I’m incredibly proud of our team and how much we accomplished and learned over the course of the program! We all gained experience identifying California native plant species, applying for funding, transplanting/monitoring plots and conducting fieldwork, and presenting our work at various poster sessions. I’m so thankful for my team and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with!”

Tiffany: “SAR has been a great experience in my final year at UCLA. Looking back on our project, I’m so proud of everything that our team has accomplished. We’ve faced some major hurdles, but everyone has kept smiling and pushing forward to get to where we are today. We are all so much more knowledgeable about biodiversity and Sage Hill, and I truly believe the things we’ve learned during this project can translate to many other projects in the future.”

Abir: “I’m very grateful for the chance to have worked with such talented and determined people as a part of the Biodiversity team. The entire experience has shaped my leadership, networking, and organizational skills which I hope to use in my future SAR endeavors. Sage Hill has become a big part of my life and I will continue to champion the restorative efforts taking place at the site for years to come.”

Polly: “I’m so glad I joined SAR this year. I’m very proud of our team and all that we have done over the past two quarters. Before joining the Biodiversity team I didn’t even know what Sage Hill was and now I have learned so much about it and we have all become so invested in its maintenance and restoration. I loved working with this team. We definitely learned a lot and had a great time doing it!”

Jamie: SAR was an incredible experience for me and I’m glad I decided to join. Working on Sage Hill with the Biodiversity team gave me a fieldwork research experience I haven’t been able to enjoy elsewhere, and SAR in general opened my eyes to all of the sustainability work that’s going on in UCLA. I definitely learned a lot and will be proud to visit Sage Hill in the summer and observe its continued restoration.

Kayla: “SAR has been such a valuable experience for me because of the work I have done with the biodiversity team and because of the lessons I have learned about making changes on such a big campus. The dedication shown members of this team have constantly inspired me to persevere in situations that seem like daunting challenges and the diverse perspectives from other groups have reminded me about the broad scope of challenges sustainability on a college campus encompasses. Overall, being a member of SAR has motivated me to pursue a career in sustainability and encouraged me to promote the value of natural reserves like Sage Hill to my friends, family, and the public.”

Valeree: “I am so grateful for the past two quarters with SAR. Working with the biodiversity team and our stakeholder Dr. Gillespie has been one of the hugest highlights of my time at UCLA. I especially enjoyed working out in the field and learning about Sage Hill’s culture and the many species that thrive there. I can’t wait to see what SAR has in store for project teams next year. Thank you SAR for further cultivating my interests in nature and the environment!”