At UC Santa Barbara’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, we steward over half a million specimens in our collections, some dating back to the 1870s. The UCSB Natural History Collections are natural history libraries, preserving both the organisms and information about their existence. We are proud to be stewarding these treasured collections that include the legacy of research at UC Santa Barbara and priceless records of the birds, plants, insects, and many other organisms that live in our fragile California Central Coast. We value the responsibility we have to preserve our natural history, and we need your help to upgrade our facility.
Collections require certain conditions that support the preservation of the specimens. The climate is changing everywhere, including here in Santa Barbara, and our specimens are susceptible to fluctuations in heat and humidity. In order to fix this issue long-term, we plan to install a climate control system that will protect the specimens from fluctuations in temperature and moisture, thus ensuring that these valuable collections will continue to be available for research and education
We are currently working towards institutional funding for this essential need, and this GauchoBoost Campaign will serve as the starting point for a capital campaign to fund a museum-quality climate control system for our specimens housed at the Cheadle Center. In the interim, there are several things we can do to protect our collections including hiring and training undergraduate student curators to monitor all the specimens, and if the student curator notices any damage, they can take care of it immediately through freezing and drying. In addition, we can purchase air and pest tight permanent museum standard cabinets for the vertebrate collections, as well as supplies needed to check on the specimens such as sticky traps, archival paper, and thermometers.
By supporting the preservation of our collections, you will help provide researchers a glimpse into our past so we can better understand the effects of climate change, invasive species, and human impact on the environment.