Sage Hill is unique because of a long history of California Native and Natural Heritage. During the last glacial maximum, the site was cooler in temperature and contained plants that currently exist in Central California. There was a diversity of megafauna that occurred at the site including Saber-toothed Cats, Mammoths, California Condors, and Giant Ground Sloths. These large native mammals existed at Sage Hill until the arrival of Native Americans. Native Americans hunted most of California’s Megafauna into extinction for food and sport. Europeans arrived at the site and significantly reduced the population of Native Americas through the introduction of diseases and hunting. Indeed in 1850 the year after California became a state, Legislature in Sacramento made it legal to shoot California Native Americas on sight. This along with migration programs has resulted in the extinction of all Native Americans in Westwood. It was also during this time that the last Bruin or Grizzly Bear, the symbol of UCLA, was hunted to extinction in California. By the 1900’s Sage Hill was surrounded by ranchland and agricultural areas and the region began to be developed for housing. This further resulted in the local extinction of a number of animals such as the Acorn Wood Pecker and plants such as California Buckwheat.
By the year 2000, the site contained the highest diversity of native flora and fauna on the UCLA campus. Many of the plants were used by extinct megafauna and the California Indians to make arrow shafts, flutes, acorn mush, orange juice, and mosquito repellent. The site also contained the only native grasses in the lowlands of Westwood and the largest remaining mammals in Westwood such as deer, coyote, and wood rats.
Currently, there is discussion as to the future of Sage Hill and benefits the UCLA community. This webpage provides background to the unique natural history of Sage Hill and the education potential of the site.
SAGE HILL SITE LOCATION: