Students from Baker Elementary (CA) and C.T. Sewell Elementary (NV) had the rare opportunity to get up and close to three generations of juvenile desert tortoises -- called hatchlings -- at the dedication of the new Ivanpah Desert Tortoise Research Facility at Mojave National Preserve, CA earlier this month.
These lucky students were the first ever to visit the facility where they met with park rangers and scientists from the University of California, Davis and University of Georgia, Savannah River. They learned all about the plight of the desert tortoise and the fascinating research taking place at the facility. Did you know that a newly hatched tortoise is only the size of a quarter? Their shells are so soft that they are easy prey for ravens. They are on the "threatened species" list which means that they are protected by the federal government due to their relatively small population. The research facility is a head-start program that is studying factors that will improve their chance of survival in the wild.
Watch this video about the research being conducted there.
One of the students from Sewell Elementary stated at the end of the day, "wouldn't it be fun to go to college to get a job doing something really fun for our world? Like saving animals or the environment." That's music to my ears!
A big Buddy Bison thanks to Chevron for constructing the facility and to Molycorp for donating the land that it resides on -- AND to both corporations for providing the resources to cover the expenses for the students' attendance at the dedication event. It was such an educational, fun and historic day!
Mojave Happenings with Our New Buddy Bison School
At the end of October, I had a chance to catch some sun while exploring the Mojave Desert in California with my friends from Baker Elementary (CA). With the help of volunteers from First Solar, they spent the day exploring and learning about the importance of our desert parks.
At Mojave National Preserve, students explored the Kelso Dunes, which are some of the tallest sand dunes in North America. Imagine mountains of sand at the beach, but without the water! Some students dragged magnets through the huge dunes in search for magnetic sand called magnetite while others hiked the Teutonia Peak Trail.
At Joshua Tree National Park, the kids visited White Tank which is home to many stone landscapes. They hiked through rocky trails and learned how the boulders were created by thousands of years of wind and rain! Fun fact: Despite having little rain, the Mojave Desert parks are filled with over 750 species of plants! A big thank you to Rangers Lorna and Caryn for guiding the students and First Solar for sponsoring these three new Buddy Bison schools.