UNK Departments offer Desert Field Study

Stan Dart
chair of geography department, 308.865.8357

he University of Nebraska at Kearney Departments of Geography and Biology are sponsoring a travel opportunity for students and non-students alike. The Desert Field Study will be during Spring Break, March 15-23.

The Chiricahua Mountains and the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Ariz. will be the location for a 9-day field study of the southwestern United States. The camping field experience will include study of desert environments, geology, flora and fauna of the Southwest, and both Native American and recent history.
“The field study is open to any interested person 18 years or older and there are no prerequisites for participation except curiosity and an adventuresome spirit,” Stan Dart, Associate Professor of Geography and Earth Science, said. Participants may receive one or two semester hours credit if they wish. Space is limited to 14 travelers on a first come basis. The reservation deadline is Feb. 14, 2003.

The trip will begin in Kearney on March 15, departing for Carrizozo, N.M. where participants will camp the first night at Valley of the Fires Park. On Sunday, the group will make their way only a few miles farther south and west, camping at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge along the Rio Grande River just south of Socorro. Monday the travel continues into southern Arizona to our camping area in Tucson Mountain Park just outside of Tucson, Ariz.

On Tuesday morning the travelers will visit the exceptional Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Tuesday and Wednesday will be filled with a variety of half to full-day side trips in the Tucson area. These may include: Kitt Peak National Observatory, Mount Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Mountains, Saguaro National Park, San Xavier del Bac Mission and Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.

Thursday participants will depart Tucson for Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson for a morning tour. In the afternoon they will travel to Chiricahua Mountains and Cave Creek Canyon in Southeastern Arizona. This unique riparian and “sky island” ecological system is unrivaled for its beauty and biological diversity. Friday’s events include hiking in Cave Creek Canyon and exploring a wide variety of ecological systems.

Saturday the group will drive from Cave Creek Canyon to Santa Rosa New Mexico through the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert. Stops may include White Sands national Monument near Alamogordo and Three Rivers Petroglyphs. Saturday night will be spent camping at Santo Rosa Lakes State Park. Sunday the group will return to Kearney via I-25 along the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado.

Expenses for the trip will vary with each individual. For additional information contact Stan Dart at (308) 865-8357 or e-mail at, darts@unk.edu or contact Bruce Eichhorst (308) 865-8661 or write the Departments of Biology or Geography, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska 68849.