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Professional Certificate in Field and Nature Studies

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H Hybrid

Ecology and Natural History (5 units)
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Spring

Summer

Fall

Ecology of the Coachella Valley

Introduction to the plants and animals of the Coachella Valley and their relationship to the desert ecosystem in which they live. Illustrations and demonstrations emphasize how desert organisms respond to the intense heat and aridity of their environment. Discussion of man's impact on the local environment.

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2 units

Ecology of Joshua Tree National Park

Introduction to the plants and animals of Joshua Tree National Monument and their relationship to the desert ecosystem in which they live. Illustrations and demonstrations emphasize how desert plants and animals respond to the intense heat and aridity of their environment. Discussion of man's impact on Joshua Tree National Monument.

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2 units

Biological Soil Crusts of Joshua Tree National Park

Biological soil crusts--communities of cyanobacteria, green algae, diatoms, bacteria, fungi, lichens and mosses--are important components of desert ecosystems. Biological soil crusts contribute to soil stabilization, increase soil fertility and influence soil-water relations. Crusts are involved in habitat provision and food web relations and directly affect seedling establishment. The course lecture introduces biological crusts, crust species diversity focusing on terrestrial cyanobacteria and green algae, introduces functional/morphological groups of crusts, and discusses their importance and contributions to desert ecosystems. In addition, methods of assessing biological soil crusts in the lab (basic microscopy) and field (including the stability test) are presented. Includes a field trip to the Wonderland of Rocks, where one learns to distinguish the main functional crust groups and to conduct the stability test.

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1 units

Natural and Cultural History of the Mojave National Preserve: Soda Lake to Kelso Dunes -- The Low Country

The Mojave National Preserve encompasses a region of remarkable landscape diversity, which results in a diverse flora and fauna unsurpassed elsewhere in the Mojave Desert. This course explores those areas of the Preserve below 3,500 feet. The area includes the western shore of Ancient Lake Mojave (Soda Dry Lake), the southernmost Ice Age lake of North America's Great Basin. The class explores how climate change has resulted in the plants and animals we see today and visits the habitat of an endangered fish that survived these changes. Along the way, students can explore the traces of over 10,000 years of human use of the area, from ancient stone tool manufacturing sites and petroglyphs, to 19th century wagon roads and an early 20th century railroad. East of the ancient lake's bed, students visit the historic Oro Fino mine site at the foot of Old Dad Mountain. Participants will have the opportunity to set live traps for desert wildlife and search for scorpions glowing under blacklights. The course concludes with an exploration of the Cima Volcanic Field and the Kelso Dunes. Highlights include a short hike to the top of the youngest cinder cone, exploration of an underground lava tube, lunch at the historic Kelso railroad depot (1923), and a walk on the Kelso Dunes looking for animals and their tracks.

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1.5 units

Natural and Cultural History of the Mojave National Preserve: Clark Mountain to Mitchell Caverns -- The High Country

The Mojave National Preserve encompasses a region of remarkable landscape diversity, which results in a diverse flora and fauna unsurpassed elsewhere in the Mojave Desert. This class explores those areas of the Preserve between 3,500 and 5,000 feet. Participants travel from Shadow Valley (4,000 feet), visiting the Valley Wells mill and smelter site, where some of the workers lived underground in "miner's condos." Explore the plant and animal communities along the way to Copper World Mine in Clark Mountain, which supplied the mill and smelter. En route to the Cow Cove petroglyph site, one of the richest cultural sites in the eastern Mojave, travel through a portion of the world's largest Joshua Tree forest flanking the famous Cima Dome. On Sunday, participants travel past the Cima Volcanic Field, the historic Kelso Depot and the nearby Kelso Dunes on the way to beautiful Round Valley, where the Mojave ecosystem gives way to an island of Great Basin Desert at about 5,000 feet. The class crosses the divide between the Great Basin of North America and the Colorado River drainage, to the eerily eroded rocks of Hole-in-the-Wall. Here one can descend the "Rings Trail" of Banshee canyon to the bottom of this unique volcanic formation. The final stop is a guided tour of the Mitchell Caverns in the majestic Providence Mountains.

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1.5 units

From Playas to Pines: The Diverse Landscapes and Habitats of the Eastern Mojave

The eastern Mojave Desert is characterized by great topographic relief, complex geology, and diverse habitats, yielding a species richness not found in much of the western Mojave. Explore this diversity, from the low-lying remains of Ice age lakes (playas), to Piñon Pine forests on the slopes of the higher ranges. The towering Kelso sand dunes, expansive Cima Volcanic Field with its cinder cones, lava flows (and even a subterranean lava tube), the largest and densest Joshua Tree forest in the world on Cima Dome, and the eerily eroded volcanic deposits at Hole-in-the-Wall, are among the highlights. Weather permitting, you will live-trap Kangaroo rats and hunt for scorpions using ultraviolet lights on Saturday evening. Topics to be discussed include plant and animal adaptations to this arid region, major geological events, and the interesting role blowing dust plays in forming some landscape features. Cultural sites, including petroglyphs left by early Native Americans, and a historic mining camp with the tallest head-frame still standing in the area are also explored.

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1.5 units

Field Natural History: The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area

Home to ancient forests, lush meadows, and free-flowing streams, the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area is one of California's premier mountain environments. This well-watered refuge is both biologically diverse and geologically interesting, and includes Southern California's highest peak, as well as the southernmost glaciated terrain on the west coast. This course explores the geology, ecology and biogeography of this unique mountain environment. Participants gain hands-on field experience in identifying forest trees, shrubs and wildflowers, as well as rocks, minerals, and other geologic and geomorphic features in this area.

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1 units

Wildlife of North American Deserts

Natural history and identification of the common arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of the North American deserts. Class sessions emphasize animal adaptations to the heat and aridity of the desert environment.

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2 units

Natural History of the Channel Islands: Santa Rosa and Eastern Santa Cruz Islands

Explore the Scorpion Bay area of Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa Islands. Learn about their natural, cultural, and geologic history; endemic species that inhabit the islands; and the conservation challenges facing these islands. Potential sightings may include the Santa Cruz Island Fox and other bird and plant species. Various pelagic bird species, whales and other cetaceans, fish and pinnipeds may also be seen along the way. Explore Painted Cave by boat and learn about the natural history of a local resident: the Great White Shark.

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1.5 units

Natural History of the Channel Islands: Central Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands

Explore on foot the Prisoner's Cove area of central Santa Cruz Island and the Anacapa Island Western Gull nesting colony. Learn about the natural, cultural, and geologic history of the islands, endemic species that inhabit the islands, and the conservation challenges facing these islands. Potential sightings include the Santa Cruz Island Scrub-Jay and other endemic bird and plant species. Various pelagic bird species, whales and other cetaceans, and pinnipeds may also be seen along the way.

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1.5 units

Deserts of the World

An introduction to the environments of the world's deserts. Topics include factors which create desert conditions, climate, evolution of present environments, plant and animal life, and human ecology.

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2 units

Wildlife of the San Jacinto Mountains: The Upper Plateau

Natural history and identification of the common arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of the San Jacinto Mountains. Class sessions emphasize animal adaptations to the cold climatic conditions of the mountain environment.

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2 units

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) are one of the largest and most visually appealing animals living in the desert Southwest. Unfortunately, their numbers have steadily declined as a result of human and livestock intrusion into bighorn habitat, introduction of exotic diseases, isolation and inbreeding of populations and habitat loss due to human developments. Examine the physiological and behavioral adaptations that allow them to survive in an environment of thermal extremes and intense aridity and of current trends in bighorn distribution and numbers, factors responsible for historical declines and actions taken by government agencies and private research organizations to facilitate the recovery of bighorn populations. Field experiences include visits to institutions with captive bighorn as well as detection of sign in bighorn habitat.

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2 units

Mammal Tracking in the East Mojave

Using habitat in the East Mojave Desert, home to gray and kit foxes, coyotes, bobcats, badgers, ringtails, bighorn sheep, cottontails, jackrabbits and many rodent specie, this workshop introduces methods to identify, interpret and follow mammal tracks via lecture, photos, plaster casts, videos and hours of practice in the field. The course covers clear print identification; gaits and track patterns; interpreting tracks for motion, mood and personality; relating tracks and signs to behavior and biology; and learning a mental approach to tracking that allows greater perception, more vivid visualization and less human impact.

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1.5 units

Vertebrate (3 units)
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Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Birds of the Mojave Desert

Beginning on Friday evening, this course examines the important role of these stopover areas in the conservation of neotropical migrant birds and introduces the techniques used to identify the common families of birds found in the vicinity of the Desert Studies Center. On Saturday, students travel by car to various migrant bird traps near Death Valley including Baker, Shoshone, Tecopa, and China Ranch. Sunday's activities center around the Desert Studies Center where more than 175 bird species have already been recorded.

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2 units

Bird Life of the Eastern Mojave: Spring Migration

This weekend course begins with a Friday evening discussion on the diversity and natural history of birds in arid environments. On Saturday, participants visit oases at Baker, Salt Creek, Shoshone, Tecopa Marsh, and the Amargosa River. Casual hikes around the Desert Studies Center afford further opportunities to observe birds during early morning hours and at dusk. Beginners learn field observation and identification techniques. Experienced birders can expand their life lists.

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2 units

Field Study of Birds: Southeast Arizona

A one-week field study of birds in southeastern Arizona, one of the premier locations in the U.S. to observe and study birds. Southeastern Arizona has diverse habitats, including desert, mountain and riparian zones, and lies at the northern end of Mexico's Sierra Madre Mountains. Thus, many species of birds can be studied here that are unlikely to be observed anywhere else in the country. In addition to field study are lectures on geography, weather, and habitat associations. Topics include biogeography and climates, bird habitats, birdwatching, and the "specialty" birds of southeastern Arizona.

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3.5 units

Birds of Anza-Borrego

The oases in and around the Anza Borrego Desert are home to a surprisingly wide variety of bird species. This habitat also provides the perfect resting place for migrants such as warblers, flycatchers, grosbeaks and other tired travelers on their way south for the winter. After a short lecture Friday night, the class spends Saturday and Sunday in the field, studying both migrant and resident bird species. Along the way participants learn about their conservation, ecology, natural history and special adaptations to the harsh desert environment.

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1.5 units

A Field Study of Birds: Fall

An introduction to the local birds in relation to their communities. Emphasis is placed on identification in the field and museum. Field trips include local mountains and valleys, San Diego Bay, High Desert, Salton Sea and Imperial Valley.

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2 units

A Field Study of Birds: Winter

Introduction to the wintering birds of Southern California with special emphasis on identification and natural history of waterfowl, gulls and birds of prey. Many of the prime wintering areas are visited on the field trips.

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2 units

A Field Study of Birds: Spring

Birds during the spring migration and in their breeding territories. Emphasis on identification of breeding plumages in the field and museum. Field trips include Mystic Lake, Imperial Beach, Salton Sea, Imperial Valley, Morongo Valley, High Desert and San Jacinto Mountains.

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2 units

The Desert Tortoise: A Natural History

Explore the fascinating life of one of California's best-known reptiles -- the desert tortoise. Learn how California's official reptile and a threatened species continues to survive in North America's hottest and driest region and how it has adapted to the pulse of plant growth following winter rain. Participants examine living tortoises, view a major museum exhibition on this desert reptile, and attend a day-long symposium on the desert tortoise presented by some of the world's leading authorities.

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2 units

Introduction to Bird-Banding

Through short lectures and hands-on experience, class participants study the ethics and history of bird-banding and tracking, how to handle birds correctly, and how bird-banding is used to develop information for research and monitoring. Participants capture and band resident and wintering birds in Southern California and gather important biological information. Topics include the sex-related differences, age classes, wintering site tenacity and survivorship of the wild birds observed. Banding location is a private residence in Riverside. All banding equipment is provided.

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2 units

Advanced Bird-Banding

This course will focus primarily on molt limits and other characteristics in North American birds as they relate to determining their accurate ages. Topics covered will include plumage topography, molt terminology, molt strategies among songbirds and their close relatives, additional techniques such as skulling and morphometrics, determining skull, fat, and molt scores, banding ethics, safe handling of birds, and prevention and treatment of stress and injuries.

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1.5 units

Lizards & Snakes of the East Mojave

Lizards and snakes are among the most interesting and diverse but least known of the vertebrates that inhabit the desert southwest. These animals are easily studied and provide us with insights into many of the important characteristics which make existence in the harsh desert environment possible. Participants examine and identify reptiles beginning with a short identification and natural history presentation in the laboratory Friday night, before venturing into the habitats preferred by snakes and lizards on Saturday and Sunday. Explore several different ecological habitats including sand dunes, Joshua Tree woodland, creosote bush scrub and volcanic lava fields and flows.

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2 units

Snakes of the Desert: Mystery and Intrigue

Feared and respected by many for their potential to inflict harm, snakes have long captured the fascination of humanity. This course introduces participants to a remarkable variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes that inhabit Southern California's deserts and the many adaptations that are essential for them to survive in the desert ecosystem including unique morphological, physiological, behavioral, and ecological traits. Many questions about venoms are addressed: What is venom, how is it made, and how is it delivered? How should a snakebite be avoided and, if necessary, treated? Can venoms provide beneficial cures for disease? Includes exploration to locate and identify reptile habitat and possibly see some snakes. A sampling of local venomous and non-venomous snakes are brought into the classroom.

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0.5 units

Birds of Joshua Tree National Park

Over 230 species of birds have been found in Joshua Tree National Park. This course teaches students to identify individual species and separate the summer and winter residents from the true migrants. Nesting habits, feeding habits, interrelationships with plant life and other adaptive strategies are discussed. The course is scheduled at the peak of spring migration so that students have the opportunity to view and identify: Black-throated Gray Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Western Tanager and various Empidonax flycatchers. Some of the summer residents that nest in the area are Scott's Oriole, Western Kingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Bendires Thrasher. Year-round resident birds such as LeConte's Thrasher, Black-throated Sparrow, Cactus Wren, Greater Roadrunner, Phainopepla and Verdin may also be found. Students hike a total of approximately four miles during the Saturday and Sunday field trips.

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1 units

Desert Tortoise Conservation Biology

A seminar investigating major issues in the conservation biology of the desert tortoise, designed to develop an understanding of its anatomy, physiology, and ecology, as well as an appreciation of the tortoise's relationship to humans and the environment. Knowledge of the principles of conservation biology and their practical application is stressed. Integrated laboratory and field activities in the campus tortoise preserve explore the current methods, techniques, and skills used in desert tortoise conservation biology. Activities include multimedia lectures, presentations of current issues, small group discussions, field surveys, instruction in survey techniques and equipment, microscopic specimen preparation and observation, health assessment of tortoises, measurement of tortoise morphological parameters, and use of taxonomic keys.

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1 units

The Amazing World of Bats: Natural History and Ecology

Explore the amazing world of bats and learn more about their evolution, ecology and relationship with people in both myth and reality. Includes a field trip for observation of bats and a few of their roosting sites. Field trip focuses on actively monitoring bats with a bat detector and learning how to identify some bats in flight, as well as by their call.

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1 units

Botany (3 units)
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Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Introduction to Plant Identification and Ecology

Appropriate for individuals with no experience identifying plants, this course introduces a simplified process of plant identification. Discussion and direct observation explore the relationships between plant species and families in several common habitats. Plant materials are used to teach botanical terminology and introduce the concept of keying as a means to identify plants. Saturday and Sunday field trips to the local mountains provide an opportunity to study the native flora of Southern California. Field studies include discussions of plant distribution and community ecology, plant physiology, adaptation to environmental stresses, pollination biology, conservation and uses of native plants. This course provides a framework for those who wish to continue explorations of the plant world.

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1.5 units

Desert Flora

The California deserts are renowned for their occasional but spectacular springtime displays of wildflowers. Learn how to use the key used by botanists to determine each species of flower. Class sessions emphasize identification techniques using actual specimens. Students collect common species in the field and then return to the classroom for study. Identification sessions are supplemented with illustrated lectures that describe plant adaptations in the desert, one of the most difficult plant environments on earth.

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2 units

Flora of Joshua Tree National Park: Wildflowers

Joshua Tree National Park contains excellent examples of the flora of both the Mojave and the Colorado Deserts as well as the habitat associated with the fan palm oasis. This course includes the identification of many of the major plants of the Park. It also includes the study of plants' adaptive mechanisms for desert survival, responses to precipitation and the effects of elevation and rainfall on the plant communities. Field trips are planned to the high and low desert regions of the Park, the Joshua Tree forest community, an area of creosote scrub, the fan palm oasis, and a riparian habitat.

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1.5 units

Desert Plant Ecology

Through study of basic desert plant forms, individual plant characteristics and species distribution across select areas of JTNP, students develop an introductory understanding of the desert plant community's role in the environment, and its development as a function of adaptations to pressures of climate, topography, and competition.

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1.5 units

Wildflowers of the Desert Foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains

The north slope of the San Bernardino Mountains holds many surprises for the botanical explorer. Visit the best areas to view and inspect the wildflowers of this region, some of which are rare and endemic. Search for wildflowers such as scarlet milk-vetch, Mojave ghost flower, desert bells and various cacti. The route follows old trails of the Serrano Indians and the botanical explorer, John C. Fremont. Along the way, explore ghost towns, old mines and historic Indian sites and gain an appreciation for this little-traveled area between mountain resort communities and Joshua Tree National Park.

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1.5 units

Natural History of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine

This field investigation of the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine focuses on the natural and cultural history of the oldest trees in the world. The bristlecones have become known as the "trees that rewrote history" because of their role in the recalibration of the radiocarbon dating process. Among the topics covered are growth patterns, evolution, adaptations, current research on and cultural history of these 4,000-year-old conifers. Students become familiar with the principles of dendrochronology and have an opportunity to determine the age of trees through increment boring. The course blends an academic study of Bristlecone Pines and their environment with hikes, quiet moments and photographic opportunities.

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1.5 units

Chaparral of Southern California

Chaparral defines one of Southern California's most extensive and characteristic native landscapes. Shaped by climate, geology and fire, this sclerophyllous-shrub-dominated habitat ranges from near sea level to 800 ft. elevation, forming several distinct communities found in coastal, inland valley, foothill, mountain and desert environments. This course surveys the ecology and natural history of Southern California's native chaparral, including its distribution, classification, habitat requirements and life cycle strategies. On the field trip, participants visit several representative community types and learn basic field identification techniques and to differentiate closely related species within and across habitat types. In addition, the course explores how climate, geology and fire have influenced chaparral evolution, and how communities are affected by modern environmental stresses associated with urban sprawl, air pollution, invasive species and global warming.

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1 units

Citizen Science: Phenological Monitoring in Joshua Tree National Park

Learn how to become citizen scientists and collect data on the effects of climate change on plant phenology - or life cycle phases -- in Joshua Tree National Park or in your own backyards for the California Phenology Project. The Project is gathering data on the effects of global warming on when plants produce leaves, flowers, and fruits to learn whether plants are engaging in these activities earlier as temperatures rise. You will spend Saturday night in the classroom learning about the Project, including basic plant biology and the plants that are being monitored in Joshua Tree National Park. You will spend Sunday monitoring plants on Ryan Mountain. The hike up Ryan is 1.5 miles (3.0 miles round-trip) with an elevation gain of about 1000 feet, and will end with fantastic views of the Park from the summit. You then return to the classroom to enter your data.

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1 units

Conifers of Southern California

Southern California has one of the most diverse assemblages of cone- bearing trees anywhere in the world. Over one-fourth of the conifer species found in the United States exists in Southern California, including two rare cypress species, several closed-cone pines, and the endemic Big Cone Douglas Fir. This course surveys the natural history of cone-bearing trees in Southern California, including habitat, reproductive cycles and responses to disturbances such as fire. On the field trip, participants learn basic field identification techniques, as well as tips for differentiating closely related species. The class also discusses current scientific theories concerning the relationship among landscape scale disturbance, reproductive success, and the modern distribution of Southern California's conifer species. Course participants should be prepared for approximately three miles of light to moderate hiking at elevations between 4,000 and 7,000 feet.

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1 units

Ecology of the Joshua Tree

No other plant typifies the California deserts better than the Joshua tree. This is one of only three plant species in the U.S. that has a national park named after it, Joshua Tree National Park. Not only is the Joshua tree a symbol of the California deserts, it is also the largest yucca in the U.S., the largest plant found on the open desert, and the most important nesting site for many desert birds. Class sessions emphasize the relationships Joshua trees have with their environment, particularly the plants and animals with which they are associated. Class sessions focus on current research involving this tree with illustrated lecture visits to 10 study sites established by the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Field trips visit many spectacular yucca forests including the site of the world's largest Joshua tree.

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2 units

Native Plants of California: Medicinal Uses

This workshop explores the many ways that indigenous peoples of Southern California adapted to their local environment and to the plants with which they share it. Focus is on the medicinal uses of native plants and the preparation of healing salves, teas, soaps and lip balm. Includes a field trip to Mockingbird Canyon.

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1 units

Oaks of Southern California

Southern California is home to one of the most diverse, abundant and beautiful assortment of oaks in all of western North America. Ranging from the coast to the high desert, 17 distinct species (along with nearly a dozen hybrids) grace the slopes and canyons of nearly two-thirds of Southern California's native landscapes. This course surveys the ecology and natural history of Southern California's native oaks, including their ranges, habitat requirements and life cycles. On the field trip, participants learn basic field identification techniques, as well as a few tricks for differentiating closely related species. Includes information on how natural disturbances such as fire, flood and drought have influenced oak evolution. Current status and future prospects of oaks in light of recent environmental stresses associated with urban sprawl, air pollution and global warming are discussed.

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1 units

Citizen Science and the Race North: Population Ecology of Joshua Trees In an Era of Climate Change

Joshua trees are the most unique and recognizable plants of the Mojave Desert, but the most amazing thing about them may be their unusual pollination biology. Joshua trees are pollinated exclusively by two species of yucca moths and tiny grey moths that carry pollen to the trees in their mouths. The moths, in turn, reproduce by laying their eggs inside the Joshua tree flowers. Thus, both the moths and the Joshua trees each rely entirely on the other for reproduction. During a three-day citizen science program, you contribute to ongoing scientific research on the biology of this most famous Mojave Desert species.

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2 units

Invertebrate (2 units)
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Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Insects and Other Arthropods of the East Mojave Desert

Learn about the anatomy of insects and how to distinguish them from other desert arthropods as you study the many insect orders and families found in Mojave Desert. These local insects have interesting stories to tell. Specimens in a demonstration collection are examined along with field observations in daylight and after dark in both desert and riparian habitats. Mimicry and other important insect survival traits are discussed.

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1.5 units

Insects and Other Arthropods of the Morongo Basin

Learn about the anatomy of insects and how to distinguish them from other desert arthropods as you study the many insect orders and families found in the Mojave Desert. Specimens in a demonstration collection are examined along with field observations in daylight and after dark in both desert and riparian habitats. Mimicry and other important insect survival traits are discussed.

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1.5 units

Desert Invertebrate Diversity Great and Small - a Macro Photography and Microscopy Primer

An introduction to the major groups of respectively macroscopic and microscopic invertebrates found in Southern California's deserts. You will learn where and when to find them, and how to observe and identify them with the aid of online tools after taking digital macro photographs in the field (in the case of insects and other animals visible to the naked eye), or with the aid of a compound microscope in the lab (for smaller animals). The first part will include an outline of basic techniques for approaching and photographing different macro subjects with a compact camera or an interchangeable lens/SLR camera. In the second part, you will discover simple techniques for isolating microscopic invertebrates from different materials, how to transfer them to microscope slides and how to operate a compound microscope to observe them

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1 units

Physical Science (3 units)
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Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Rocks and Minerals of Joshua Tree National Park

An overview of the rocks and minerals of Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding desert environment including weathering and erosion in arid environments. Participants learn to identify minerals using physical properties and identify igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks using tables, diagrams, pictures and hand samples. The class visits several locations to identify rocks, minerals, structural features, and weathering characteristics in the field. Previous training in geology is not required.

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1.5 units

Field Study of the San Andreas Fault: San Bernardino to Palmdale

Examines the history and present form of the San Andreas Fault through field study between San Bernardino and Palmdale. Numerous stops are made to observe unique surface features caused by seismic activity, such as faceted ridges, shutter ridges, closed depressions, offset streams and sag ponds. Field study includes the famous trenches across the San Andreas at Pallett Creek which provide a clear record of past earthquakes and allow a rare three-dimensional view of the fault. No previous knowledge of geology is required.

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1 units

Field Study of the San Andreas Fault: San Bernardino to Mecca Hills

A companion to Geo. X440.2, Field Study of the San Andreas Fault: San Bernardino to Palmdale (which is not a prerequisite course), tracing prominent surficial features along the fault southward to the Salton Sea area. Stops begin around San Bernardino to observe the relationship between urbanization and fault location and then continue southward through the desert to note such features as shutter ridges, offset streams and anomalous vegetation. The course concludes at the picturesque Mecca Hills, where deformation along the San Andreas has produced wildly tilted rock layers. No previous knowledge of geology is required.

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1 units

Geology and Natural History of Death Valley

Death Valley National Park offers a wonderful outdoor laboratory for studying the natural forces that have shaped western North America. An extraordinary range of geologic processes has left its mark on this landscape. This weekend field course addresses how such processes as earthquakes, volcanoes, lake formation, sedimentation and mountain-building have contributed to the present form of Death Valley. Discussions introduce desert plants and animals and address the colorful human history of the region. Several short hikes (less than one mile) are planned. No previous background in geology is required.

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1.5 units

Geology and Natural History of Northern Death Valley

The northern section of Death Valley National Park is a seldom-visited wonderland of fascinating geologic processes that were also the backdrop for a colorful Wild-West past. Within this remote area lie ghost towns, faulted mountain ranges, young volcanoes and mysterious "moving" rocks. This weekend field course explores the remarkable natural and human history of the area through moderate hiking and off-road travel.

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1.5 units

Geology and Natural History of the Eastern Sierra

Along the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada lies one of the most remarkable landscapes in North America. This weekend field course explores the Owens Valley and Eastern Sierra between Lone Pine and Mammoth Lakes. Topics include the huge 1872 earthquake (one of the three great earthquakes in California history), glacial landforms from the last ice age, the cataclysmic eruption of Long Valley, and the volcanic hazards of future eruptions of Mammoth Mountain.

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1.5 units

Geology and Natural History of the Anza-Borrego Desert

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is one of the most biologically diverse and geologically active regions in all of western North America. This remarkable preserve occupies a unique position atop three major fault zones at the western margin of the Salton Sea Trough, where the earth's crust is literally tearing itself apart. This course explores the geology and natural history of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, with an emphasis on the dynamic relationships between climate, geology and biogeography that have shaped this region for millennia. Participants gain hands-on field experience identifying plants, animals, rocks, minerals, earthquake faults, and other geologic and geomorphic features unique to this area.

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1.5 units

Geology: Creation of the Joshua Tree Landscape

Through an extended field trip in Joshua Tree National Park, students focus on the major geologic features that define the landscape while illustrating broader geological phenomena. Topics include erosion, weathering, igneous activity, metamorphism, and the place of the Joshua Tree region within the context of the large-scale geologic framework of Southern California.

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1 units

Geology and Natural History of Hawaii

During this five-day course based on the Big Island of Hawaii, participants explore active volcanoes, living coral reefs, black sand beaches and the fascinating human history of the Hawaiian Islands. Investigate how volcanism, earthquakes, tsunamis and human habitation continue to shape this tropical wonderland. Emphasis is on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and to the Kilauea Volcano, the most active volcano in the world. No previous background in geology is required.

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3 units

Geology of the Basin and Range Province

The Basin and Range Province is a unique geological region located in the southwestern United States. During the past 27 million years, extensional stress related to plate tectonic activity has created a landscape of mountain ranges and valleys riddled with faults, marked by volcanoes and modified by erosion. Participants will study the rocks, minerals and landforms of the Mojave Desert to learn how the landscape has evolved since the Miocene Period. Learn how to recognize faults and rock formations in a field setting, how to differentiate among the various rock types (volcanic, igneous and sedimentary) and how erosional features have sculpted the present-day landscape. Types of volcanic activity and minerals related to the Basin and Range extension are also covered.

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2 units

Geology and Natural History of Yosemite: A Weekend of Discovery

Field study of the spectacular landscape and natural history of Yosemite National Park. Why is El Capitan so sheer? Was Half Dome really sliced in two? These and other questions are addressed during this weekend field course. Topics include park geology, glaciation, flora and fauna, Native American culture, park history and current park management practices. Emphasis is on gaining an appreciation of the unique features of the park. Saturday is spent in Yosemite Valley studying glacial features, igneous rock characteristics and natural history. On Sunday, weather permitting, students venture into the magnificent high country to explore sparkling lakes and alpine meadows. No previous background in geology is necessary.

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1.5 units

Geology and Natural History of Yellowstone

Spanning the roof of the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park is one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Recognized by the United States as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yellowstone is famed for its scenic grandeur, unparalled geysers and hot springs, and extraordinary displays of wildlife. It is also one of the most active and violent volcanic regions in the Western U.S., with the potential for colossal eruptions in the future. Join a week-long exploration of the amazing landscpae and history of Yellowstone.

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4 units

Geology and Volcanic Hazards of Mammoth Mountain

The region around Mammoth Mountain is one of the most scenic areas in California, drawing thousands of skiers, hikers and fishermen each year; however, it is also one of the most dangerous volcanic hazard areas in the nation. Less than one million years ago, a cataclysmic volcanic eruption completely obliterated all life there, leaving an enormous depression on the earth's surface. Mammoth Mountain is actually a young volcano which has erupted along the edge of that depression and it could erupt again in the future. This weekend field course explores the geologic history of the Mammoth region, discusses volcanic processes and eruptive styles, and explores the potential hazards of future eruptions. No previous knowledge of geology is required. Several short hikes of about one-half mile as well as a gondola ride to the top of 11,000 foot Mammoth Mountain are part of the course. Participants should be in good physical condition.

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1.5 units

Rock Art Documentation Methods

Rock art refers to art created by people in the past. Some of the oldest rock art sites in Europe are believed to date to 40,000 years ago. In North America, rock art is associated with pre- and post-contact indigenous people that created a variety of regional styles studied by modern archaeologists. In this hands-on class, students will learn about the scientific study of rock art as they are led through the process of rock art documentation. Learn a variety of documentation methods and collect data to use for lab analysis. Includes classroom instruction, field documentation, and laboratory analysis of data collected from a rock art site. Students will also learn how to scientifically classify figures, record and enter attribute data into an Access Database, capture figure photographs with color correction for data analysis, use D-stretch for in-field and laboratory analysis, capture color data using a colorimeter that can be used to differentiate painting episodes and document diachronic changes to the panel, create digital renderings of rock art figures for analysis, analyze relationships between figures on a panel and interpret the meanings inherent in those relationships, engage in microscopic analysis of a panel to determine the order of figure execution, and more. 

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2 units

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