Why should science be limited to professionals? Anyone with a passion for our desert ecosystem can help contribute data to advance our understanding of what’s here and why it’s important.

ABF supports citizen science programs like the Park’s annual Bighorn Sheep CountChristmas Bird Count and the Anza-Borrego Tracking Team. Below you can find out more about these projects and how you can get involved in the science and research that are taking place in Anza-Borrego.

Bighorn Sheep Count

Photo by Don Endicott

View the 2019 Invite and RSVP Form HERE.

You have to be a special kind of crazy to spend four days sitting in the summer heat of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Fortunately, there are enough of those kinds of folks to successfully complete the annual Bighorn Sheep Count! The goal: keep tabs on the population of this iconic federally endangered species (and namesake of the Park!).

For more than 40 years, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has utilized volunteers to conduct its count on the weekend closest to the Fourth of July. It’s an extreme time to be out in the harsh desert environment, but the Park chose one of the hottest times of the year for the count because sheep frequent the few desert waterholes, giving counters the best chance at recording their numbers.

The Bighorn Sheep Count is always looking for new volunteers. If you’d like to share this unique experience, please contact for more information. Some counters have been volunteering for more than 20 years! Read about what motivates them to come back year after year.


Christmas Bird Count

The first Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was organized in 1900 by ornithologist Frank Chapman of the Audubon Society in response to a noticeable decline in bird populations at the end of the 19th Century. Over the past 114 years, the CBC has morphed into one of the most popular Citizen Science projects for families, students, bird enthusiasts, ornithologists and newbies to the hobby of bird watching. The information gathered helps to document changes in bird populations and is useful in guiding conservation measures by government and nonprofit agencies. When combined with other long-term bird counts, whether scientist-run or citizen scientist-run, the information can be used on a much more global scale to document health, populations and breeding patterns of birds throughout the different regions of the world.

To join in the bird counting fun, contact organizer Bob Theriault(link sends e-mail).

View the complete list of birds found in Anza-Borrego in 2014. More information about the Christmas Bird Count can be found at the Audubon Society’s website.



Anza-Borrego Tracking Team

Learn to read the exciting stories written on our desert sand and help protect our critical wildlife habitat. The Anza-Borrego Tracking Team conducts wildlife track and sign surveys to help ensure the protection of critical wildlife habitat. Monitoring the presence or absence of wildlife populations can evaluate the health of key species, the connection of open space areas and pathways and reflect the health of the ecosystem. The tracking team offers periodic track and sign training for interested volunteers.

If you’d like to get involved with the Tracking Team, contact leader Karin Vickars(link sends e-mail).