Green strip of color

A Letter from the Dean

David Ackerly standing in a forest

In the very first course catalog of the College of Natural Resources—published in September 1974—Acting Dean L.L. Sammett emphasized the strength and potential created by bringing together the complementary programs of the College of Agricultural Sciences and the School of Forestry and Conservation. The philosophical direction of the new College, he wrote, lay in the belief that “our renewable resources must be used in ways that are at once productive, conservative of those resources, and protective of environmental quality.”

Half a century later, Rausser College of Natural Resources remains grounded in that belief and is a leader in cutting-edge research, exceptional educational opportunities, and creating connections between science and society through outreach, policy, and community engagement. The College is committed to a renewed vision of creating equitable, efficient, and innovative solutions that address the climate crisis, promote ecological and economic sustainability, responsibly steward natural resources, and improve human health and well-being.

In this anniversary issue of Breakthroughs, we celebrate the many achievements of the College in the past 50 years and also look ahead. We highlight groundbreaking research, share anecdotes and little-known facts, and spotlight some of our many changemakers and trailblazers. Beyond these pages, we’re publishing more commemorative pieces on our website all year and are excited to present a special anniversary event in the fall semester.

I’d like to thank everyone in our community—alumni, students, faculty, staff researchers, and donors—for your hard work and continued support. We’re grateful for all you have made possible, especially throughout the campuswide Light the Way campaign. We also welcome the chance to hear your stories; email your photos or remembrances to to help us celebrate our first fifty years and prepare to make the next half century even more impactful than the first.

David D. Ackerly

Breakthroughs magazine is published twice per year by Rausser College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. 



David D. Ackerly


Julie Gipple

Associate Editor

Mathew Burciaga

Creative Director

Arnaud Ghelfi

Copy Editor

Laura Deck

Contributing Writers

Mathew Burciaga
Julie Gipple
Mary Ellen Hannibal
Kara Manke
Austin Price
Kristin Baird Rattini

Contributing Photographers

Mathew Burciaga

Design & Production

l’atelier starno

Online Director

Joseph Bunik

Online Production

Magaly Santos

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