Saving Joshua Tree's Desert Species
Joshua trees live for hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of years in one of the U.S.’s most extreme climates: the Mojave Desert. But can they survive climate change?
Climate change could dramatically reshape the fate of the Joshua tree. One model predicts that, if temperatures rise at the predicted rate, this iconic tree will disappear from 90% of its current range in California’s Joshua Tree National Park by the end of the century. Extinction for this tree—and many other desert species—is a real possibility.
Help scientists understand and preserve the fragile Mojave Desert by joining Joshua Tree National Park’s first long-term monitoring project. Hike among stunning rock formations as you identify and measure plants, including pinyon pines, junipers, and, of course, Joshua trees. You’ll also document sightings of the park’s resident reptiles, such as iguanas and desert tortoises, and birds, such as wrens and quails.
Under the expert guidance of two researchers with a combined 50 years of experience in the field, you’ll have the chance to interpret and shape the future of one of the natural world’s most precious places.
A Typical Itinerary
- DAY 1 Arrive in Palm Springs, travel to field station
- DAY 2-6 Hike to monitor desert plants, trap and release reptiles and amphibians, look for birds and mammals, photo identification of animals
- DAY 7 Departure
HOW WILL YOU HELP
Hike to monitor desert vegetation
The researchers will drive as close as possible to one of the plots they’ve set up around the park, and you’ll hike the rest of the distance (for a total of three to five miles a day of hiking). Once at the plot, you will identify each plant species, height, width, condition, and a host of other data points.
Trap, record, and release reptiles and amphibians
You’ll hike to pitfall traps—holes dug in the ground that little creatures fall into and can’t climb out of—and record data on the lizards or other critters you find inside.
Explore the desert for birds and larger animals
As you traverse the park, you’ll document sightings of the park’s resident birds, such as wrens and quails, and any other larger animals you might see.
Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
5 Reviews on this Expedition
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