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Why Give to the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology?

Back in 1908 when Annie Montague Alexander envisioned a natural history museum on the Cal campus she aspired to create a comprehensive research museum where naturalists could hone their research skills, expand their understanding of West Coast vertebrates, and create a legacy for future scientists. Working closely with Alexander, the museum’s first director, Joseph Grinnell, set forth the museum’s core philosophy that the museum devote itself to evolutionary studies and the study of terrestrial vertebrates in relation to their environments. Today that philosophy still holds true as scientists merge studies of preserved specimens with field observations and biochemical analysis of tissues. Field and laboratory research remains an essential part of the museum’s work to increase understanding of evolutionary biology.

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Why your gift is so important
  • Today the state provides less than 13% of the Museum’s funding. Therefore, the support we receive from alumni and friends is essential to the future growth and development of the Museum and its research.
  • Private gifts from alumni and friends support important field and laboratory research not covered by state funding. Such support is crucial to recruit the most talented graduate students and faculty. Private support directly enhances the museum’s ability to help students and faculty become environmental leaders, to develop innovative approaches to biodiversity understanding and to advance intellectual discourse and the formation of conservation policy.
  • Museum of Vertebrate Zoology faculty and students continue to break new ground in biodiversity conservation, ecology, population biology and genetics. Your partnership enables this tradition of innovation to continue.
  • Museum of Vertebrate Zoology curators, staff, and students conduct research that is either directly applicable to conservation biology, or that provides essential baseline information that is used in the conservation of species and associated habitats.
  • The Museum's faculty sponsor 20 to 25 graduate students in the Ph.D. program in any given year, host several post-doctoral scholars, and serve as mentors to a large number of undergraduates engaged in honors or independent research experiences.
  • The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology has been one of this country's premier institutions in the training of vertebrate biologists over the past century. MVZ has been a leader in intellectual achievement through individual publications ranging from scientific journal papers and specialized monographs to books and magazine articles of broad public interest. The nearly 4,000 individual publications generated by the faculty, research staff, students, and post-doctoral associates over the past 90 years encompass virtually all aspects of vertebrate evolutionary and ecological biology.
  • The first major conservation activity of the Museum involved the establishment of Yosemite National Park. Museum staff members conducted the first substantive biological surveys of the park, and Joseph Grinnell played a key role in determining the park's boundaries and in developing policies concerning wildlife and its protection within the park. The Museum continues to play a role in the state’s conservation policies through advocacy, publications and sharing of research.

Your investment in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology is an investment in the people and in the innovative research that can make a real difference in our world. Thank you for your support!

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