A Friend and Neighbor to Sedgwick Reserve
Jane Kievit was known in Santa Ynez for her two beagles, bright red Corvette, and verdant garden. A lifelong teacher, Jane and her generous bequest will create opportunities for undergraduate students to travel 30 miles north of campus to learn and explore in Sedgwick Reserve.
Sedgwick Reserve joined the University of California Natural Reserve System in 1996 and is one of seven reserves managed by UC Santa Barbara. At nine square miles of Mediterranean landscape in Santa Ynez, Sedgwick Reserve encompasses two watersheds, rich natural resources, and a shared cultural heritage. Jane and her husband, Henry F. Kievit, were Sedgwick neighbors and nature lovers.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee in 1945, Jane moved to California for an adventure far from home. Later that year, Jane met Hank after his discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard. They lived in Santa Ynez and were married for 57 years until Hank passed away in 2007. When Jane died in 2019, she left a legacy that will strengthen the relationship between the Sedgwick community and UC Santa Barbara students.
“It’s amazing how many students, even ones who grew up in Santa Barbara County, will say that they’ve never seen stars or heard a coyote before,” said Kate McCurdy, reserve manager. “You can see that barrier dissolve.”
Jane’s bequest invites students from kindergarten and beyond to explore Sedgwick, and the reserve already has big plans to engage undergraduates. Sustainable vans will create greater access and increase the diversity of courses that incorporate Sedgwick experiences. In addition to field research and internships for students pursuing STEM fields, McCurdy hopes to provide opportunities for non-STEM majors, underserved communities, and Chumash scholars.
UC Santa Barbara professor Gretchen Hofmann sees synergy with FUERTE, her field-based undergraduate teaching and research program that will support diversity and access. Recently funded by the National Science Foundation, FUERTE will host three cohorts of ten students who will receive three years of inclusive mentorship, exposure to field research, and extensive professional development tools.
In addition to planned work at Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve and the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, Jane’s bequest could bring FUERTE to Sedgwick by supporting an additional fellow, sponsoring an intern, and hosting the cohort on an annual retreat.
“It is wonderful to leverage such amazing resources to drive inclusive excellence in field-based science at UC Santa Barbara,” said Hofmann.
“We have an outreach program because of private support like Jane’s,” said McCurdy. “Otherwise we’re just a closed facility in a remote place. Sedgwick would be a very quiet place if not for our endowment supporters. An outreach program allows our neighbors to see the science going on, which fuels greater support within our community.”