Desert Stories - Today and Yesterday

Offered by: California State Parks
Program Description:
Anza Borrego Desert State Park furnishes a spectacular setting for discovering natural history. The Desert Unit of Study is designed to connect the geologic and ecological stories of a changing land. In this unit, students will visit two areas of the park. Borrego Palm Canyon is the most popular hike in the park. Here, students view amazing natural resources. As they travel up the canyon students encounter endangered Desert Bighorn Sheep and learn about their successful story for survival. They are now protected due the hard work and years of study of many dedicated professionals. This canyon also contains extraordinary rock formations offering evidence of change caused by plate tectonics. Plate movement continues to affect the climate and ecology of Southern California. Travelling to the Borrego Badlands is a journey back in time. Students will see sedimentary layers revealing a stratified timeline and bearing an amazing fossil ice age record. The badlands help students understand concepts of ecologic change caused by geologic processes and changing climate. Fossil evidence allows us to step back in time to observe varied habitats and biodiversity that once flourished in Anza-Borrego. These same geologic processes affect habitats today as plates are always on the move and water and wind continue to reshape the desert landscape. Changing geology and climate dictate life everywhere. Desert ecosystems are extremely sensitive to change. Even small changes can permanently impact the future and forever destroy evidence of the past. The spectacular landscape and fossil collection here house several million years’ worth of stories, change and events. Preserving the desert preserves those stories and offers clues for our future.