Desert Tortoise Council Symposium Field Trip

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 7 PM

The Desert Tortoise Council’s second Symposium Field Trip will be hosted by Cameron Rognan and Mike Schijf and will take place on Wednesday February 22nd at 2p.m.

They offer a scenic mid-afternoon to early evening hike through a narrow rocky canyon where the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve recently expanded. This area is a recreation hotspot and offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, and world-renowned bouldering opportunities. While mountain biking or bouldering could be advertised as an optional activity either before or after the field trip, this field trip is a 3-mile roundtrip loop hike through 2 different canyons.

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Approximately halfway through the hike, participants will visit a scenic viewpoint to observe a distinctly different habitat type below the ridge. Tortoises are common in both the rocky canyons where the hike occurs and in the badland soils below the ridge (observable from the viewpoint). The badland soils have a thick biological crust and support the endangered dwarf-bear poppy.

While tortoises are generally not active in Utah in late February, participants will encounter various tortoise shelters, including the deep crevices they utilize. Some of the tortoise shelters are quite impressive with dozens to hundreds of scats at the mouths of their entrances.

Gila monsters and chuckwallas also thrive in this rocky habitat, but it’s unlikely any would be seen unless it’s very warm and sunny. Chuckwalla sign should be present on outcrops near crevices. Other wildlife species living in the canyon–hawks, owls, or foxes, may be observed.

Trip leaders will discuss attempts to balance tortoise conservation with the many recreational activities in the Reserve. Because the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is at the urban interface, both unique challenges and opportunities exist. The area has been one of the focus sites for citizen science, where numerous tortoise observations from the public have been recorded.

To learn more about the field trip opportunities and how to register, follow the link below.

Photo from the 2022 Photo Contest by Ingrid Carroll

Consumed by a rewarding career in Jewish philanthropy, it was not until 2018 that Aronson exhibited his work for the first time with a one-man show at Galerie Camille in Detroit, Michigan. It was this 50-year retrospective of Aronson’s work entitled “Landscape as Portrait” that featured his prints and drawings going all the way back to the late 1960s. The brilliant show at JTAG will be his second one-man show. We are fortunate to have both Bob and Lisa Aronson in our desert community.

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