Biogeography Field Study: The Sonoran Desert Spring 2005

GEO 385/585
Biogeography Field Study -- 3 Credits
The Sonoran Desert
2nd week of Spring Break (March 9-15, 2009)
in Tucson, AZ.

Saguaros at Gates Pass
Saguaro cacti at Gates Pass outside of Tucson Arizona

Google Earth Map of the Sonoran Desert Trip (Requires Google Earth)

The field course will leave Valparaiso and fly to Tucson, Arizona. We will stay at one motel for a week. Each day we will study the physical landscape of the Sonoran Desert Community--the cacti, the desert trees and shrubs, and the animals. We will investigate the following sites which are nicely located only an hour from Tucson:

Day 1Sabino Canyon
Day 2: Kartchner Caverns, San Pedro River
Day 3 Saguaro National Park
Day 4: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Day 5: Chiricahua National Monument


A bird rests near a saguaro cactusThe Sonoran Desert teams with life.

In lushness and variety of life, the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American deserts. The plants and animals able to survive in this enviornment make up one of the most interesting and unusual collections of life in the United States.

Be Aware: The course will require considerable walking at high elevations. Sometimes the heat is extreme, and there is no water available along most trails. you need to be aware of painful enocounters with cacti such as the cholla cactus spines that, with just the slightest touch, can become embedded in your skin. Also, you need to avoid encountering poisonous rattlesnakes, scorpions, or Gila monsters.

Besides these encounters, a research paper on some aspect of the desert environment is also required.

Approximate cost: $550.00 per person. This includes ground transportation from Valparaiso to Chicago and back, van rental costs to airport and around Tucson, hotel for one week (four persons per room), and all park fees. You will also need to pay for some food and your plane ticket (about $450.00).

If you are interested, please see Prof. Ronald Janke, Kallay-Christopher Hall, Room 201-H, 464-5139, for details. Seating is limited to 10 students, so you need to see him soon--do not wait until registration.

The entrance to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is an excellent place to learn about the Sonoran Desert





ValpoAdditions and corrections for this page may be directed to Michael W. Longan
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This page was last updated May 1, 2009




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