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2023 Santa Barbara TREX Hosts CNNCTS Partners at Sedgwick Reserve

Multiple CNNCTS partners came together for the 2023 Santa Barbara TREX training—a prescribed fire training exchange—held on Chumash Lands at the Sedgwick Reserve in early November. Keep reading to learn more about this training and future opportunities like it at UC Natural Reserve System locations.

Many people wearing protective fire gear, including yellow jackets and red hard hats, stand on a dirt road near white trucks while small fires burn and release smoke in the distance with green shrubbery dotted along the landscape.
TREX instructors and trainees monitor the prescribed burn around the perimeter. Photo by Sam Spaulding.

For eight days in November of 2023, participants of the 2023 Santa Barbara TREX training developed their firefighting skills on the UC Santa Barbara Sedgwick Reserve. This TREX, short for Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges, was held to build capacity for community-based burning by promoting ecological health while meeting cultural, training, and wildfire mitigation goals. As part of the training, prescribed fire was conducted on approximately 50 acres of oak woodland, grassland, and coastal sage scrub at the Sedgwick Reserve.

A group of trainees and participants, wearing yellow jackets and hard hats carrying equipment, walk along a dirt path under a large tree with dry vegetation on either side of the path, where the edge of the fire is seen in the background.
TREX trainees and participants maintain the prescribed fire at the perimeter. Photo by Sam Spaulding.

Multiple partners of the Collaborative of Native Nations for Climate Transformation and Stewardship (CNNCTS) were in attendance. Hosted by UC Santa Barbara at the Sedgwick Reserve, which is part of the UCSB Natural Reserve System, the training was supported by a cooperative agreement between the Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service, and agencies of the Department of the Interior. Training partners included Cal Poly, County of Santa Barbara, Fire Safe Council of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians’ Environmental Office, Swanton Pacific Ranch at Cal Poly, the La Kretz Center for Research at Sedgwick Reserve, and the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Three trainees, wearing yellow jackets and white hard hats, face the burnt vegetation at the base of a tree, using equipment like a pick and water hose to put out the remaining fire.
TREX trainees removed duff (fallen branches and other parts of the oak, that create fuel for the fire), raked a fire break around the base of the tree, and wet the ground down with a hose. These practices made the prescribed fire burn at a lighter intensity, reducing oak mortality. The trainees are seen in this photo reviewing the aftermath of the burn and putting out remaining hotspots. Photo by Sam Spaulding.

The training was attended by UC and CSU researchers and students as well as land managers, fire professionals, Tribal members, and community members. The Indigenous Stipend Program, a scholarship from The Nature Conservancy, was offered to support the participation of Indigenous and cultural practitioners by reducing fiscal barriers.

Joel Arellano, the Indigenous Land Stewardship Specialist at the Climate Science Alliance, participated in the training with the goal of gaining experience and knowledge to apply to the Alliance’s Southern California Interagency Fire and Fuels Cadre and future Stewardship Pathways programming. Participation in this TREX event allowed Joel and other participants to complete tasks in their National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) position task book, which is a key component of the qualification process for specified NWCG positions.

A group of participants, wearing yellow jackets and white hard hats, convene under a blue sky with clouds on a hill that has recently been burned.
A group of TREX participants—including researchers, graduate students, and Natural Reserve staff—convene on the last day of the training. Photo by Sam Spaulding.

Learn more about the week-long training from The Nature Conservancy, here:

Future Training Opportunities

CNNCTS is expanding opportunities for UC and CSU university students, Tribal members, and the community to participate in hands-on experiential learning at Stewardship Living Labs across the various reserves. We will share opportunities on our website, newsletter, and Instagram—please subscribe or follow along to stay updated!

These opportunities are made possible through partnership with the Natural Reserve Systems at UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside, including the UCR Summer Internship Program; the Climate Science Alliance and its Stewardship Pathways programming; and the Native American Land Conservancy and its Learning Landscapes programming.

Learn more about our focus areas:


Learn more about the Collaborative for Native Nations for Climate Transformation and Stewardship (CNNCTS) at


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