Hiking near Davis

Now that spring is here, hiking enthusiasts are becoming antsy in lecture halls and laboratories everywhere. The perfect weather, the birds, bugs, and scents of trees in full bloom around campus all signal us to go explore the great outdoors …but where? Davis is located in the dull expanse of the central valley amidst countless acres of agricultural land – which leaves very few decent locations to hike in. Nevertheless, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and over my last three years at Davis I have tried to find the best local hikes. There aren’t many, and obviously the further you are willing to travel, the more variety in hiking you can find – but in this blog I will highlight my experiences with the closest hiking spots around Davis.

Putah Creek Riparian Reserve


The Arboretum is often recommended as the best, closest place for a relaxing nature walk around UC Davis. It is undeniably the closest, essentially located on campus itself, and it is a great place for a relaxing stroll, but not much else. The arboretum is a relatively short loop of paved trails around a pond that used to be the north fork of Putah Creek. The plant collections are beautiful, but it is heavily landscaped with little resemblance to native riparian wilderness. A lesser known hiking option is South Putah Riparian Reserve, which is just a mile south on Old Davis Road from the arboretum. Unlike the arboretum, South Putah is a fully connected creek maintained in its natural state for research and teaching purposes, and with hiking trails all along. South Putah is full of wildlife to see- my favorite sightings have been river otters, foxes, and California kingsnakes. The creek is large enough for swimming and is frequently fished.

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area


Another local Davis hiking destination is the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. The Bypass is a huge, 16,600-acre stretch of wetlands located just East of Davis, accessible via I-80 and various Yolo County country roads. The Bypass is flat but its wetlands foster incredible biodiversity, especially migratory birds. For the birdwatchers of Davis, this spot is perfect!

Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area


Another riparian nature reserve near Davis is the Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area. Like South Putah and the Yolo Bypass, Fremont Weir is a mix of grasslands, sparse oak forests, and wetlands. This State Wildlife Area is located on the Sacramento River, but otherwise the scenery is similar to both previously mentioned nature reserves. It is a pretty location, but I felt as though it was not worth the hassle of getting out there when South Putah is so conveniently nearby.

Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve


A personal favorite hiking destination of mine is Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve. Stebbins is a UC Davis reserve on the far south tip of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National monument, a 330,000-acre piece of land declared a national monument in 2015 by President Obama. In the same year, Stebbins was burned extensively by a wildfire, and has been a hot spot (no pun intended) of fire ecology research and teaching since then. Stebbins’ trails actually start along Putah creek, but much further upstream than the arboretum – not very far from where Putah creek exits Lake Berryessa. Sequestered in the canyons of the Mayacamas Mountains, Stebbins’ trails can be steep and cover a lot of elevation changes, which is a nice break from the uniformity of Yolo County. Reaching the top of the ridgeline on the Blue Ridge trail leaves you with a breathtaking view of Lake Berryessa, the surrounding Mayacamas, as well as Yolo County. The enormous size of the wilderness contiguous to Stebbins means that it can support a wide variety of wildlife. Although I haven’t spent enough time there to find much more than newts, skinks, and raptors, Stebbins is reportedly home to black bears, ringtails, and bald eagles.

This is not an exhaustive list of hikes near Davis – just some close spots that I have enjoyed hiking myself. Hopefully in my last year I will discover more fun hiking destinations and get the opportunity to update this blog post. I also hope that in writing this, I have inspired some of you readers to go out and explore!

Justin Waskowiak
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd Year, Genetics and Genomics major

Sweet Deals of Davis

You know what they say about summer, hair gets lighter; skin gets darker; water gets warmer; drinks get colder; music gets louder; nights get longer; and life gets sweeter… literally. Summer is the time to indulge in sunshine and sweets, but, since we’re all still broke college students trying to treat ourselves for low costs, here are some sweet deals you can find in Davis.

Davis Creamery

113 E Street Davis, CA 95616

The Davis Creamery is a family owned and operated gourmet sweets shop. They make unique ice cream flavors and host a “Bracketology” event twice a year during which new ice cream concepts are created and go head-to-head in a customer voted competition. Some fun flavors from the bracketology include the Trifecta (Oreo, Butterfinger and Reese Peanut Butter), black tea and shortbread, and guava passion fruit.

Their daily specials include:

Monday – $2.00 Scoop Night (5pm-10pm)

Tuesday – $2.25 Cupcakes (all day)

Wednesday –  $3.00 Cowpies (all day)

Thursday- $7.00 Quarts (all day)

Friday – $5.00 Milk Shake Happy Hour (4pm-7pm)

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Sweet and Shavery **

210  Street Davis, CA 95616

Sweet and Shavery is known for its combination of Italian ice with a creamy custard to create a refreshing, yet satisfying treat. They also have other popular items, such as mangonadas and made-to-order crepes.

Their weekly special is:

Wednesday: $3.25 for two small parfaits (3-5 PM)

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The Good Scoop **

130 G Street, Suite C Davis, CA. 95616

The Good Scoop is definitely one of the hidden gems of Davis. They sell unique, tasteful small batches of ice cream which are made only 1.5 gallons at a time. Some creative flavors include salted caramel with cajeta, ginger, and rosewater. My personal favorite, however, is the jasmine green tea!

Their weekly specials include:

Monday: $2 non-dairy scoop (all day)

Tuesday: $2 scoops (all day)  

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Gong Cha **

1411 W Covell Blvd.Suite #110Davis CA 95616

Gong Cha is one of the many boba spots of Davis, specializing in tea, coffee, and juice. They are located next the the Safeway of “north” Davis, making it super convenient to drop in. They also have four seater tables which are good for studying!

Their happy hours are:

Monday – Thursday before 7 PM: Free size upgrade

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Baskin Robbins

236 E St, Davis, CA 95616

Baskin Robbins is an oldie, but a goodie. The Baskin-Robbins “31®” was created to represent a different ice cream flavor for each day of the month, but since 1945, they’ve created more than 1,300 unique and delicious ice cream flavors. If you sign up for their birthday club, you can get a free scoop on your birthday!

Their monthly special includes:

31st of the month – $1.31 scoops

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Brick Toast Cafe

201 Sage St., Ste B Davis, California 95616

Brick Toast Cafe boasts high quality ingredients, including Gunther’s ice cream, fresh-made whipped cream, and local wildflower honey. They are most known for their brick honey toast, but also have boba teas and Temple coffee.

Their special includes:

Free boba all the time!

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** = Stamp card/rewards program available!

Don’t forget to stay active and eat healthy foods to balance out this sugar rush!!

Christina Duong
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major w/Spanish minor

Undergraduate Research Conference – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Undergraduate Research Conference?
The Undergraduate Research Conference is an annual conference where UC Davis students present their individual research projects under the supervision of faculty sponsors or law/medical professionals. Students in all academic fields, including STEM majors, social science majors, and art majors who conducted independent research are welcome to show their work. The goal of the conference is to encourage undergraduate students to pursue higher degrees after undergraduate and to conduct research in their discipline.

When and where is the Undergraduate Research Conference?
The Undergraduate Research Conference usually happens towards the end of April every school year. This year, the 29th Undergraduate Research Conference of 2018, will be on Friday April 27th from 3-7 PM (ARC Pavilion) and Saturday April 28th from 1-4:30 PM (Wellman Hall). The poster session and art exhibition are at the ARC Pavilion, and the oral presentations are at Wellman Hall.

How can I show my work at the Undergraduate Research Conference?
If you are interested in participating as a presenter, make sure to talk to your faculty research supervisor early and submit your abstract in February. There are three types of presentation.
1. Poster Presentation: a 60 minute poster session will be assigned to each presenter. The posters will be shown at the ARC Pavilion, while presenters stand next to them to give short talks and answer questions. UC Davis Undergraduate Research Center provides free poster printing before the conference.
2. Oral Session: each presenter will have a 15 minute oral session to introduce the research, including their research interest, hypothesis, methods, and results. PowerPoint slides are often used.
3. Art exhibition: The art exhibits are in the same area as the poster presentations. The exhibition allows students to showcase their research results in the form of studio art, design and multimedia.

Do I have to present in the conference by myself? Can I do it with my research partner?
Most students did their own independent projects and thus presented by themselves. If you happen to have a research partner collaborating on the same project, you will be able to present with them. Both students will have to sign up for the conference and submit the same abstract. Usually the group is not larger than 2 or 3, since the main focus of the conference is independent research.

Why should I go to the Undergraduate Research Conference? I am not doing research now.
First of all, the Undergraduate Research Conference is free for everyone! Second, it is a great chance to see what other students are doing and ask questions. If you have never done research before but interested, it is a good chance to ask how the students doing independent research find faculty supervisors, decide on research topics, etc. Also, since this is the largest research conference for undergraduates in UC Davis, you will be able to see more than 500 groups presenting on campus all in two days.

How can I get involved in research?
UC Davis is a research university, and according to a 2016 report, more than 40% of undergraduate students have participated in some kind of research. Speaking from my own experience, I will say that it is never too early, yet never too late (of course, not on the last day of your last quarter) to get involve in research as an undergraduate student in UC Davis. For first year students, many professors are willing to train younger students because they can stay in the research lab for longer. For upperclassmen, you already have background knowledge in the field and maybe know some laboratory techniques, so make use of that knowledge. You will be able to ask more in depth questions and get the grasp more quickly in research labs.
I advise that students interested in research can start by looking at profiles of UC Davis professors, and email the professors who do research topics that you are interested in. Express your interest towards the field, and ask if they have undergraduate researcher openings in their labs.
You can also looking for laboratory jobs and opportunities on Aggie Job Link, the Undergraduate Research Center (URC), and the Internship and Career Center (ICC). Sign up for the listserve of URC and ICC to receive weekly emails about new position openings. Read more about getting involved in research in “What Undergraduate Research Can Do For You“.

Wide photo of poster sessions on the floor of the ARC Pavilion showing many presenters, posters and participants with art exhibits in the backA picture of the Undergraduate Research Conference. (https://urc.ucdavis.edu/conference/)

Linya Hu
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd year, Genetics & Genomics Major

8 Fun Things to Do in Spring Quarter

As soon as spring quarter starts, you can immediately tell that it is very different than winter quarter. Campus seems to be filled with twice as many people (and ducks and squirrels), the winter blues are gone, and everyone seems to be in a better mood. This fresh sense of excitement is peaked by all of the events that are happening around campus. But with so much going on, it can be easy to miss out on some of the fun events, so here’s a list of 8 fun things (1 for each week left in the quarter) you simply must do before the start of summer.


Week 3 (4/21): PICNIC DAY!

Image result for picnic day uc davis

Whether you’re living on or off campus, you won’t be able to miss all the picnic day activities. Just a few of the fun events are the parade, the Doxie Derby, the chemistry show, and Davis Dance Revolution. For a comprehensive list of ALL the many things you can do on picnic day, check out this link: https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/calendar/ On this website, you can also download the picnic day app so you can stay up to date with all the goings-on.

Week 4 and 6 (4/23 & 5/7): Go to a campus concert

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This spring, we have three exciting musical artists coming to our very own UC Davis. On April 23rd, alt-J and Borns are coming to Freeborn Hall to perform and on May 7th, Khalid will be stopping by the UC Davis ARC Pavilion on his “The Roxy Tour.” Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see these iconic artists.

Week 5 (4/29): Run in the Stride for Aggie Pride 5k

Image result for stride for aggie pride

The Stride for Aggie Pride 5k begins at 9am on Sunday 4/29 at the Memorial Union. It is a great way to improve your physical fitness and it benefits the ASUCD Awards Endowment and We Are Aggie Pride which both aim to support student’s holistic health.


Week 7 (5/19): Eat at the Street Food Rodeo

Head out to West Davis from 5-9pm on 5/19 for an event completely dedicated to food. (My favorite kind of event.) Admission to the Rodeo is free, but you certainly will spend some money getting amazing food from the 13 different food trucks. There also will be live music and a beer garden (if you are of age).




Week 8 (5/23 or 5/26): Hang out at the Farmer’s Market

Image result for davis farmers market

Stop by the Davis Farmer’s Market from 8am-1pm Saturdays or from 4:30pm-sunset Wednesdays. Bring a blanket and you can picnic in the grass while eating some of the market’s delicious foods and listening to the fun live music.



Week 9 (5/29-6/1): Snag a hammock in the quad

Image result for hammock quad uc davis

As I’m sure most of you know, this is harder than it sounds. I recommend waiting nearby the hammocks right before peak class times like at 11:50, 12:50, and 1:50 to see if you can swoop in and grab one from a student leaving for class. Once you have secured your hammock, pull out a book or take a nap in the sun and be sure to post your hammock success to your Instagram story.

Week 10 (6/4-6/8): Go on a walk in the arboretum

Image result for arboretum uc davis

The flowers are blooming, the sun is out, and the green algae covering the water is almost all gone! At this point, the finals’ study crunch is in full swing and there’s no better place than the arboretum to take a quick study break.


Hope you enjoy this list of spring events and activities!

Katie Galsterer
4th Year Biopsychology Major
BASC Peer Advisor

Why UC Davis?

With my love for beaches and obsession with tacos, I’m definitely a socal girl through and through. I like giving freeways their intended articles and cringe at the word “hella.” So, why did I make the 500 mile move up to Davis, two hours away from the closest beach and with only two ‘Taco Tuesday” options in town? I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle, so I can’t say that I drawn in by being in “The Bicycle Capital of the World.” I didn’t know that it was a small town, so I can’t say that I was attracted to its close-knit community. And I didn’t know that it was so environmentally friendly, so I can’t say that I was impressed by the organic beauty of all the nature around me. What I did know was that I had an upperclassman friend already attending, it was definitely far from home, and part of the distinguished UC system. I can’t say that I had the strongest reasons for attending, but when the time came, I submitted my SIR to UC Davis and committed to spending the next four years of my life in norcal.  

I was unable to attend Decision Day, so my first encounter with Davis was for orientation. I remember driving to downtown Davis and stopping to walk onto campus. My first thought was, ‘wow, there are so many trees.’ Coming from a suburban area with dislocated palm trees evenly spaced between the intersections, I was amazed by the sheer abundance of greenery and how whimsical all of the homes seemed. I fell in love with the tranquility and vastness of the campus. It probably helped that it was about one hundred degrees outside and the shade provided was the only solace from the blistering heat, but I was awed. The heat never bothered me anyways. Day one of the program, nothing could have prepared me for the nearly five hundred students filled lecture hall. Honestly, I shied away from the large group interactions and was a little intimidated by the thought of trying to pave my own path from the rest. But, as we we broke off into smaller groups, I was given the sense that students at Davis were very accepting, encouraging, and laidback.

Two years later, I was back at orientation, not as an attendee, but as an orientation leader. I really hadn’t given thought to how much I appreciated coming to Davis, unil I saw the new, young faces and couldn’t help but feel so excited for their futures here at Davis. I was  eager for them to find their spaces and realize that they were in a place which would foster their growth, both socially and academically. As a STEM major, it’s an unfortunate, but common, stereotype that students are cutthroat and competitive, however during my three years here, I have found so much support from both my peers and academic resources. It’s always been clear to me that my professors want me to succeed in their classes, and, I might be biased, but I think that I’ve met the nicest people I’ve ever known here at Davis. I have been able to immerse myself in a variety of extracurriculars, ranging from peer advising to tutoring to volunteering for the homeless. There are so many opportunities available to students, free of prerequisites and open to all who are interested, including health related internships, study abroad programs, and numerous clubs and organizations.

Attending UC Davis has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made, and I can say with confidence that I have no regrets. College is a time where it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the transitions of life, to higher education, to adulthood, and to taking more responsibility. Being able to grow into who I am at UC Davis, has allowed me the opportunity to pursue what I’m interested in while appreciating the small things in life. Surrounded by kindness of my peers and the simplicity of pausing to watch the beautiful sunset or taking a detour to amble through the weekly Farmer’s market, I have been able to take life at my own pace and in that way, succeed. The beaches of socal will forever be near and dear to me, but Davis has shown me the quaint beauty of norcal.

Christina Duong
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major w/Spanish minor

Why UC Davis?

When I was admitted into UC Davis in 2015 as a Genetics and Genomics major, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew no much more than it was one of the top schools in California with the nation’s best animal science program. Besides, I went to high school in Taiwan, so I never had a chance to tour the campus before the actual orientation. My first impression of UC Davis was that it was a huge school with a flat landscape and bikes everywhere. It reminded me of a huge city park in Taipei (the bikes, squirrels, trees, and grass areas).quad.jpg
Now in my junior year, I will say that I really enjoy my experience in UC Davis. I love the place, the people, and my major. There are many opportunities in UC Davis to explore your passion and to develop yourself professionally and spiritually. Although there were definitely hard times in college, I was able to make through with the support of friends and community.
Here are some things that I love about UC Davis:


– There are many animals on campus. One night, I saw an owl standing on my path when I was walking back to the dorms. My favorite animals are the cows next to Tercero and the lamas at the Vet Med Teaching Hospital.

– When I am tired from school and studying, the Arboretum is a great place to walk around and relax.

– Enjoy stargazing in summer nights when the air is dry. (It is very safe to stay on campus at night. If you have late classes, Safe Ride can bring you home – on campus or off campus).

Academics and Career

– Besides classrooms equipped with visual and audio learning devices, UC Davis has one of the best plant facilities and animal facilities. Students can also spend a quarter or a summer to take marine biology courses at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory.

– UC Davis has a Health Professions Advising Center (HPA) for all pre-health students. I cannot count how many times I went there for creating timeline, for discovering internships, and for writing a personal statement. The advisors are all very welcoming and knowledgeable. Besides HPA, the Internship and Career Center is also a place that I visited a lot to get my resume reviewed. I also signed up for their email listserve to get weekly updates on new job and internship opportunities.

– UC Davis Medical Center has 8+ affiliated student run clinics. Undergraduate students can volunteer in the clinics, shadow doctors, and gain hands on health care experience. This is a very unique opportunity that not many other universities have. Currently, I am involved in Paul Home Asian Clinic, which provides health care mainly to underserved Asian community in Sacramento. By translating and accompanying the patients, I learned more about the health care barriers they faced, and how doctors could help them achieve better heath. Health Related Internships are also offered in the UC Davis Medical Center and Sutter Davis Hospital. The sign up for those internships is very simple, and there are always spots available every quarter.

– UC Davis is a research university. We have an Undergraduate Research Center, and an annual undergraduate research conference every April where students present their research projects. Many students in UC Davis participate in some kind of research, and I’m sure there will be something interesting for you!

Diversity and Involvement

– Joining a student organization definitely made my time in UC Davis much more fun. There are more than 800 student clubs on campus, and you can even found your own club.
– Check out Picnic Day and Whole Earth Festival in spring! I can’t even explain how much I love those events. You will have to experience the energy and enthusiasm yourself. As a student in UC Davis, you have the chance to take a step further and apply to be volunteers or even directors of these campus-wide events. At the Picnic Day of 2017, I volunteered at the chick petting room, and it was the one of the best days I had in UC Davis.

picnic chic.jpg   picnic day
– Discover something fun and unique for you! I joined the Global Ambassador Mentorship Program as a peer mentor in my second year. As a peer mentor, I worked with a group of 5 international students, guiding them in their first few quarters in Davis. In the three quarters I got to meet with so many amazing people from different backgrounds, and we still kept each other in contact until now. Here’s a picture of us at the Thanksgiving Dinner gathering in 2016.

GA thanksgiving

After all, congratulations on being accepted to UC Davis! Become an Aggie, and you will love it!

Linya Hu
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd year, Genetics & Genomics Major

Why UC Davis?

I am from Napa, just an hour West from Davis, so unlike many out of state and even SoCal students, I knew the town of Davis existed before applying to colleges. Additionally, my dad went to Davis, so the University was familiar to me as a good school with a strong biology program. Since I was sure that biology was what I wanted to study, Davis was an obvious option for me. I think that because of this, I was less than excited about going there. It seemed too predictable, safe, and not too much different from my hometown. According to the published freshman profile, I thought I would be a shoo-in based off my high school GPA and SAT scores. To my surprise, I was waitlisted – something I was not too happy about, but because Davis did not excite me too much to begin with, I shrugged off the unexpected “soft-denial” and focused on my out-of-state private school options. I had researched them thoroughly and applied to about 10 different schools across the country with good biology programs. My favorite was Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. I flew to their admitted freshman decision day event with my mom and had a wonderful experience. The campus was small, but beautiful, and I was impressed by the organization of the event and the city of San Antonio.

Shortly after coming home to Napa, I received my acceptance to UC Davis and now had another option to consider. This time I started to think more practically about Davis. On one hand, I was excited about the idea of living in a totally different state on my own, and I really connected with the atmosphere of San Antonio. However, the convenience of living an hour from home was undeniable, especially because I had a sizeable menagerie of exotic animals still living with my parents that I wanted to continue to care for. I would be able to go home for nearly every holiday, and while tuition was comparable, the cost of travelling to and from Texas a few times a year needed consideration. In the end, my decision to attend Davis was a combination of financial reasons, convenience, and some convincing by my high school friends who were attending Davis. While I was not unhappy with my decision, I was not excited about the university in particular.

My outlook on Davis changed dramatically once I started to get to know the school and the city better. The more time I spent exploring Davis, attending classes, and meeting new friends, the more I learned to love the school and the happier I became that I chose Davis over Trinity or any other school. This trend continued and in my 3 years at Davis I have never regretted choosing UCD. Not only do I appreciate the city of Davis more than I ever thought I could, but with more time I spend here, I also appreciate the time I get to spend with my parents in Napa. Like most graduating high schoolers, I was ready for a change in atmosphere and sought independence from my parents and from my hometown. Now that I have that independence, I value the time I get with my parents – the support, free meals, and of course being able to see my dog and cat way more than I ever would have living in a far-away state. The quality and diversity of courses, magnitude of on-campus research, and a wonderful girl I met in the dorms are all more reasons I am glad I chose Davis over other schools.

In summary, I was apprehensive and never sure of my decision until I got to Davis and started experiencing the Aggie experience, and since then I have never looked back.

Justin Waskowiak
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd Year, Genetics and Genomics major