Berkeley, the National Park Service and the vital role of science in the parks

Yosemite National Park is a natural splendor, a climber’s heaven, a hiker’s dream. And it’s a pristine laboratory for scientific explorations that, among other things, are helping all the national parks — and the world — address the environmental changes being driven by climate change.

That’s the premise behind “Science for the Parks, the Parks for Science: The Next Century,” a new video collaboration by UC Berkeley and the National Park Service, which takes viewers along with scientists taking the measure of changes in Yosemite to show the importance of all the parks as labs for natural changes.

UC Berkeley was a key player in decisions made during the founding of Yosemite, and, along with influential alumni, drove the effort to establish the National Park Service. The video was made as part of the NPS’s celebration of its centennial this year, which focuses science in the parks.

A conference focused on the next 100 years of the parks will take place March 25-27 at Berkeley, in partnership with the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society.

“The national parks are great labs because we protected them way back when,” says a National Park Service resource specialist at Yosemite.

For more information about Berkeley’s role in the national parks, go to