Desert Trip

Pretty much from day one at the institute I’ve heard people talk about how beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert is. This year’s Seeds of Success collections focused more on the areas surrounding Ramona. While the properties we scouted in the Ramona area were very diverse and interesting, they were all composed of the same types of plant communities. This was the first week we’ve been able to make it out to the desert transition areas leading into Anza-Borrego. When planning to explore a new property, the first step is to find one that has access. For our internship, we are only allowed to make collections on BLM land, which doesn’t always have roads. We look at layers of BLM land on GIS and then choose one that looks reasonable. To do this we mostly use images from Google Earth. The only problem with this is that it can be difficult to determine if something is a dry creek or a road… but we were fairly sure that we could get within walking distance of the site. Another part of scouting that is always fun is navigating back roads. The first dirt road we turned off on was well kept, the second one was less so, and on the third road I felt the tires sink a few inches into soft ground. We managed not to get the truck stuck, which was a very good thing since we didn’t have cell reception. The site itself was a combination of hills and dry wash ravines with an amazing number of different plant species. After exploring for a couple of hours we determined that we could make three collections starting next week, which was really exciting!

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