Spend Earth Day, Park Week at DV

Spend Earth Day, Park Week at DVDEATH VALLEY — Death Valley National Park will host a variety of programs April 14-22 for Earth Day and National Park Week. One of 419 national park sites, Death Valley encompasses 3.4 million acres, the largest national park in the contiguous United States. Programs about wildlife, plants, geology, astronomy and more will be featured.

Throughout the week Biologists Jason Wallace, Laura Cunningham and James Cornett will share their extensive knowledge of the Mojave Desert. Since 2007 Wallace has managed the Desert Studies Center (Zzyzx), a field research station of the California State University system, located within Mojave National Preserve. He has done research on Mojave fringe-toed lizards, desert tortoises, Mohave tui chubs and desert willows.

Artist and conservation biologist Cunningham has studied desert tortoises, Panamint alligator lizards and pupfish for more than 20 years. She wrote and illustrated “A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California.”

Author and biologistCornett has been studying Joshua trees for more than 30 years. He has written several books on desert ecology including “Wildlife of the Southwest Deserts.”

Rangers will offer presentations throughout the week and weekend. On Saturday, April 20, Death Valley will celebrate Junior Ranger Day and Fee-Free Day. Families can learn about endangered species and pupfish in a drop-in program from 1 -3 p.m. at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. At 5 p.m., Cornett will share his research about Joshua trees in the auditorium. On April 20-21, visitors can experience some of the darkest skies in the country in an astronomy program at 9 p.m. at Harmony Borax Works.

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, visitors can enjoy a two-hour ranger-led sunrise hike at Zabriskie Point at 6 a.m. Hikes may be on uneven or rough terrain. Visitors should wear sturdy shoes and bring water, snacks and sun protection. At 5 p.m., visitors can participate in a ranger-led discussion about environmental impacts of solar projects in the Mojave Desert.

All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, check out the calendar of events on www.nps.gov/deva.

Pictured: Ranger-led sunrise hike at Zabriskie Point is one of the upcoming activities in Death Valley — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2019-04-12