Hero Image

UCR Palm Desert Center

The UC Riverside Palm Desert Center California Naturalist course is the first course in the program with a focus on desert ecosystems. The course builds on instructor Dr. Cameron Barrow's wealth of research experience working with reptiles in Joshua Tree National Park and throughout the region. Working with local partners, the course will provide a unique look at the arid lands in Southern California and provide strong connections to local opportunities for engagement in citizen science monitoring programs.  The California Naturalist Program will engage and empower the community to help protect and preserve the diverse desert habitats now and for future

"Desert Sands and Sky Islands" Course Description: Natural History is increasingly becoming a lost method for understanding the world around us. Lost because university students are encouraged to specialize and narrow their expertise, and in doing so miss the foundational importance of understanding how whole organisms fit together in nature (i.e. Natural History). Natural History stands alone as a science that weaves plants, animals, geology, and climate into a tapestry of knowledge. Starting with an overview of California’s rich natural history, this course will then focus on the tapestry that is the southern California deserts from the low elevations of the Colorado Desert to the higher Mojave Desert, from isolated sand dune islands to desert mountains, often referred to as “sky islands”. Deserts are a huge component of California, encompassing more than one third of the state, reaching up the eastern spine of the state up north of Mono Lake, and into the San Joaquin Valley, and area sometimes identified as a separate desert ecoregion. Despite the kaleidoscope of tans, beiges, and browns that characterize deserts, deserts are rich in biodiversity, a multitude of plants and animals that are unique to this region. Natural History is a discipline best taught outside; expect to spend much of your time with your feet in the sand.

Instructor: Dr. Cameron Barrows

2020 UC Climate Stewards Pilot Course Schedule: September 28 - November 23. Click here for more info.

2021 CalNat Course Schedule: February 6 - April 11, 2021. Class is once per week on Saturdays from 8am-12pm. Classes will include lectures, discussion of reading materials and/or outside activities, times to be determined.

For more information, visit the website here.