Financial Support

PHASE 2 – 2016-'17-'18

The California Grizzly Study Group

History – Ecology – Political Science

Project Summary

The CG Project brought together faculty and graduate students with backgrounds in history, ecology, and political science to understand what would need to be known to successfully reintroduce grizzly bears to California, after being extirpated from the state in 1924. This project used the example of the grizzly bear to highlight the kinds of knowledge and tools needed to understand reintroduction, as well as the social and natural system requirements for successful reintroductions. From identifying what grizzly bears ate in California prior to extirpation to mapping suitable habitat to evaluating public opinion on reintroduction to developing curriculum plans, this project's research illustrated the difficulty of reintroducing a species with a large extinction gap (characterized by deviations in the natural and social conditions needed for successful reintroduction) and provided insight into the tools academics and managers can use to gather information and formulate potential scenarios for reintroducing such species. The graduate students then brought these research experiences and their expanded cross-disciplinary perspectives into their classroom lessons and discussions with undergraduates in a large-enrollment environmental studies course.

Faculty Investigators

Peter Alagona
(History; Environmental Studies)

Sarah Anderson
(Political Scientist: Bren School of Environmental Science & Management)

Bruce Kendall
(Ecologist: Bren School of Environmental Science & Management)


Jolie Colby

Elizabeth Hiroyasu
(Ecologist: Bren School of Environmental Science & Management)

Molly Hardesty-Moore
(Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology)

Chris Miljanich
(Political Science)

Zoe Welch
(Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology)

Other Key Participants

Graduate Students

Elizabeth Forbes
(Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology)

Ian McCullough​
(Environmental Science & Management)

Andrea Adams
(Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology)

Faculty and Researchers

Scott Cooper 
(Emeritus Faculty – Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology)

Kevin Brown 
(Post-doc, Historian – Environmental Studies)

Jennifer Martin
 (Lecturer, Historian – Environmental Studies) 


Project website
The California Grizzly Research Network