Mapping Joshua trees across the Mojave

This post was originally published on this siteWillamette University’s Chris Smith explains survey protocol to the group If you live in, visit, or care about the Mojave Desert, you’re probably quite familiar with the ungainly silhouette of its most iconic resident: the Joshua tree. Yucca brevifolia and its related species Yucca jaegeriana are endemic to the Mojave…

A photo of an MDLT herbarium print

Rare desert flower launches new herbarium at Mojave Desert Land Trust

White-margined penstemon While out on a land monitoring expedition in February 2017, a group of Mojave Desert Land Trust staff came across a very special plant. “We were going out onto our lands to monitor and collect seed, and in the process we were coming across some rare species,” says Madena Asbell, Director of Plant…

Rare desert flower launches new herbarium at Mojave Desert Land Trust

This post was originally published on this siteWhite-margined penstemon While out on a land monitoring expedition in February 2017, a group of Mojave Desert Land Trust staff came across a very special plant. “We were going out onto our lands to monitor and collect seed, and in the process we were coming across some rare species,”…

Tracking climate change through the Joshua tree

This post was originally published on this siteMeasuring a young Joshua tree on Section 33, a 624-acre wildlife linkage corridor acquired by Mojave Desert Land Trust in 2013 (Photo: Brandy Dyess) It’s 10am and the sun already feels strong. Seventh and eighth graders pile out of vans and start applying sunscreen. They’ve driven 150 miles from…

Tracking climate change through the Joshua tree

It’s 10am and the sun already feels strong. Seventh and eighth graders pile out of vans and start applying sunscreen. They’ve driven 150 miles from Grauer School near San Diego to become citizen scientists for the day. “I see you’re all wearing the right shoes,” observes Adam Henne, outreach and volunteer coordinator at Mojave Desert Land Trust. In a safety briefing he warns the group about the cholla cactus and reminds everyone to hydrate. “One more thing you’ll need to watch out for: snakes. A good rule is never to put your hands or feet where you can’t see them.”

Submit your comments: Defend the desert plan!

Our desert lands are facing a new threat. The Bureau of Land Management wants to review a plan that governs the entire California desert. It is asking for public comments and is holding a series of public meetings on a proposal that could change how desert lands are used. The public has until March 22 to submit comments to the BLM. That’s where you come in. In this article, we provide several resources to help you submit your comments or find a public meeting near you, and we provide some talking points that you can use.

photo of a desert tortoise hatchling

Why desert tortoises need desert defenders

A rare sighting of a unique creature… Desert tortoises are extremely elusive, spending upwards of 95% of their time underground. To say they are camera-shy is an understatement. Desert tortoises are also what we call “ecosystem engineers”. Their burrows are used by other species for shelter. They eat plants and spread seeds around. They hold an integral place in the dynamic desert landscape. Although this remarkable creature has been around since the time of the dinosaur, they are now endangered.

photo of a seed-firing still

Burning Plants to Grow Seeds

We associate fire with destruction. But some plants, known as “fire followers”, grow abundantly in places where there’s been a blaze. Apricot mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is one such plant. Our nursery and seed bank has been experimenting with different ways of helping this popular garden plant to germinate. They recently did five scientific experiments with apricot mallow seeds.

photo of MDLT staff with the founder of Kids Speak for Parks

What A Year!

Robbie Bond came running across our lobby earlier this year, excited to describe his first ever night camping in the high desert. His stopover in the Mojave Trails was part of an amazing tour he was doing with his Dad to promote the 27 national monuments threatened with federal cutbacks. Like a lot of kids his age, Robbie had never visited the desert before. Never woken up to a sunrise over the Cadiz dunes. He left determined to share that experience with others.

photo of tricolored blackbird

The Plants Saving Blackbirds at Wind Wolves Preserve

The tricolored blackbird population has steeply declined in recent decades. Stinging nettles grown by the Mojave Desert Land Trust could help turn that around. One of the goals of our nursery is to restore habitats throughout the region by growing native plants. In the summer of 2017, the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) was contracted to grow plants for a restoration project at Pleitito Creek in Wind Wolves Preserve. That’s right — a riparian habitat, not our usual desert fare!