Track: Field Trip
On this tour, we’ll get a look at the California State University Desert Studies Center field station and its environs. We’ll highlight research and education opportunities at the Center and in the Mojave National Preserve. The Center sits in a biodiversity hotspot surrounded by abundant perennial springs, rugged mountains, sand dunes, salt sinks, and high plateaus. The Center hosts thousands of students and researchers annually from California and around the world. • We’ll start with a quick tour of the Center itself. We show the natural mineral springs that attracted a mid-century snake-oil salesman to build a small health resort. We’ll walk through the quirky resort that now houses the Desert Studies Center and highlight amenities available to visitors.
• Second, we’ll demonstrate some of our hands-on learning opportunities, including field experiences for students at all levels. Demonstrations include one-day mini research projects, as well as an upper-division interdisciplinary environmental science field course.
• Third, we’ll do a three-stop geology road tour. We’ll visit Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic formations, show fossils, and discuss ecology from those periods, and show present-day plant communities.
• Finally, we’ll close with an in-depth tour of a multi-decadal herpetological community study, which demonstrates the effects of geologic substrate and a changing climate on endemic reptile communities living on a characteristic Mojave Desert bajada.
Each of these segments will include a pre-recorded tour with CSU professors and Center staff, followed by facilitated live Q&A.