Borrego Sun - Since 1949

College Classes Visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park


Last updated 4/10/2018 at 1:57pm

By Jolene Nacapuy

It sure was a bittersweet blast from the past, OK two years, as my alma mater made their way down to Borrego Springs.

The University of La Verne was just one of the many colleges to visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for research and meetings.

Five La Verne students and professor Jay Jones, Ph.D., visited the Stout Research Center Laboratory and Collection Hall, and were given a tour of the facility, led by Lyndon Murray, District Paleontologist for the Colorado Desert District of California State Parks.

Murray guided the students through the types of fossilized plants and animal life found in the state park and how they came to be where they are. These fossils tell a story of dramatic geologic and climatic changes.

In March, the research center has had classes from UC Riverside, University of Chicago, University of Florida, UC Irvine, as well as researchers from University of Connecticut, University of Texas, University of San Diego, UC Irvine, Heriot-Watt University (Scotland), California State Parks, the Borrego Valley Hawk Watch, and the Arizona Dept. of Game & Fish, according to reserve manager Jim Dice.

"March is our busiest month of the year – just as it is for the Park and the town. Not only is the weather usually great, and there are wildflowers to see – but it coincides with most universities' spring breaks – allowing researchers that often double as college instructors an opportunity to get away for a week and work on their research," Dice said.

"It is also a time when some college classes can plan an extended field trip, and not have to worry about students missing too much class time in their other classes.

The Research Center has been used this month for meetings/retreats by the California Native Plant Society, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Paleontology Society, the Borrego Water District, the Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard Interagency Coordinating Committee, and the Anza-Borrego Geotourism Council.

The Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center is a partnership between the University of California, Irvine, the University of California Natural Reserve System, California State Parks, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and the Anza-Borrego Foundation.

The intent of the partnership, formalized in 2011, was to enhance research opportunities in the State Park – to bring additional scientific information on the natural and cultural resources of the Park to better inform management of those resources by California State Parks – and to enhance opportunities for education and interpretation of the Park and its resources.

The core of the facility is the old Borrego Desert Club building that sits atop a knoll on the west side of Borrego Springs, south of downtown, north of Tubb Canyon, and east of Dry Canyon and Montezuma Grade.

Since renovations and new construction were completed in August of 2014, the Research Center has become increasingly popular with all types of researchers and especially with college classes (there are dorms to sleep up to 24 students and 4 motel units to house researchers and professors).

Full story can be found in the April 5 issue of the Borrego Sun.