UC Merced proposes to develop the Field Education Center site in an area approximately 10 acres in size and located in the northernmost portion of the UC Merced campus, adjacent to the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve. The Field Education Center site is located within the Research Open Space land use designation of the 2020 Long-Range Development Plan, which allows for a research and field station facility on the site. The overall project area also includes 16 acres to the south and east that will accommodate access improvements. The project involves the construction and operation of a Field Education Center. The Field Education Center, will consist of a 2,500-square foot, open-air pavilion that would offer educational and research opportunities to university and K-12 students, an entry garden and gathering area, an outpost with viewing instruments, internal circulation and parking for motorized and non-motorized transportation, infrastructure to support the uses on-site, and access road improvements.
None of the proposed project improvements would be located on the adjacent MVPGR. Proposed development on the Field Education Center project site would maintain a minimum 50-foot setback from the MVPGR property.
The proposed Field Education Center is an important project that is intended to facilitate the MVPGR’s educational and research program by providing a facility that supports field research and educational programming, including increases in the levels of K-12 and public outreach.
The primary objectives of the proposed project are to:
• Create opportunities for students of all ages to appreciate, understand, and engage with nature.
• Inspire and empower next generations of leaders through environmental stewardship.
• Highlight and support UC Merced enviromnental research; and
• Continue to protect the MVPGR by expanding education and research opportunities in the area adjacent to the MVPGR.