Verdant, water-loving desert fan palms seem out of place in an arid environment. Yet five distinct palm oases occur within Joshua Tree National Park and more than 150 exist in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of California and Baja California. The desert fan palm, Washingtonia filifera, anchors the oasis and is the only palm species native to the western U.S. It is the largest palm native to North America and one of the most widely planted ornamental trees in the world. The class examines unique aspects of the palm and its significance within rare desert spring environments where it occurs. Special emphasis is placed on interactions between palms and other oasis plant species, animals that utilize palms as a resource, role of fire in oasis ecology and the relationship between palms and Native Americans. The course includes new information on the impact of global warming on palm numbers and distribution.
The textbook Desert Palm Oasis by James Cornett, is included in the course fee as well as the parking permit for the meeting site.
Download the course outline: Desert Palm Oasis Ecology Fall 2016 for the class itinerary, meeting time and location.
Please review this pdf package that contains pertinent information about your class, the Joshua Tree National Park, camping reservations and lodging in the area around the park: enrollment attachments.