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Desert Ecology for Families


This is a citizen-scientist training class. To develop a sense of the place, we begin with Google Earth to explore the watershed, from the highest elevation down to our field site. Once in the field, we compare what we see on the ground with what the satellite images show. This is called “ground truthing”. You look closely at the soil, see and feel what happens when rocks become gravel and sand, and perform an experiment to discover where water can infiltrate deep into the soil and where it cannot. You learn about the plants, identify them, and map their distribution on the landscape. You will move easily and be on the lookout for reptiles, insects, arachnids, mammals and birds. You observe what you see, note the characteristics of the desert habitats and niches and make quick field notes. The observation techniques in this class can be used in your backyard, local park, and wherever your family travels and explores.

Bring snacks, a lunch and water, a day pack, comfortable shoes, sunscreen and hat, and an open mind for learning in the Joshua Tree National Park!

This is a half-day course for children from 8 – 13 years accompanied by a parent, grandparent or guardian. Field trip material correlates with grade level science standards and will support your child’s science education.

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Joshua Tree Gateway Communities, Palm Springs & Coachella Valley, Las Vegas Area, Inland Empire & Victor Valley, SoCal Mountains & Pass Areas