Hello from the Anza-Borrego Foundation office here in Borrego Springs! I’m Ashley Kvitek, the new face in town working with ABF as their Education Coordinator.
In order to be a meaningful part of the education team, I need to know about the place I’m living in. And so, I would like to introduce a new purpose for the ABF Blog. Each blog post will focus on an adventure here in the desert or a topic of interest regarding this fascinating ecosystem that we live in. Staff members and guest bloggers will help all of us to answer questions we have about the desert and allow us a peek into the possible adventures that exist out there in the great expanse of our Park!
My first true adventure here happened this past weekend. I went on a scavenger hunt with Janene Colby, California Department of Fish & Wildlife Biologist, to find a radio collar that had been tracking information on a Peninsular bighorn sheep. We ventured up the south side of Pinyon Ridge with Janene working her magic to hone in on the radio signal. The collar we were searching for had been released automatically off of a female sheep, after having been on and recording information since 2009. I had my doubts… finding just a collar in this expanse of desert mountains seemed like a wild goose chase.
And it was, for a little while, but the most interesting and educational wild goose chase I’ve experienced in a while! My guide was knowledgeable and patient, listening to my questions about the plants and the landscape and the sheep, answering whatever she could with as much information as she could muster. We accidentally startled a group of sheep and I even found, after learning about them from Janene, a grinding stone with a tool still in place on top of it!
Eventually, with Janene’s radio tracking skills and a fair amount of luck, I heard her say, “Found it!” with just a tiny bit of relief in her voice! It was a very exciting rush, even though all I did was walk along with her and ask millions of questions.
Since we had the time, we hiked up to the ridgeline and I had my breath taken away by the view- this was the first time I had gotten up high in this area by using my feet, and it was a rewarding experience. On the way back down we stopped at a guzzler (which is a topic for an entirely different post) and got to set up a spotting scope to watch another group of sheep! It was a wonderful day, perhaps the best I've had since moving here. I learned a lot and was inspired not just to keep adventuring, but to keep asking questions.
Check us out periodically. We'll be answering more focused questions and sharing our desert adventures in the blogs to come.
The season has arrived- head out and see it for yourself! To adventures and education!