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Basin & Range Weekend Seminar

Friday, June 7, 2019 - 4:30pm to Sunday, June 9, 2019 - 11:00am

THIS SEMINAR brings together students of nature, lay people and professionals for field studies at Castle Rocks State Park near Almo, Idaho. The park is adjacent to City of Rocks National Reserve.

OUR PURPOSE in offering this seminar is to provide participants with an opportunity to understand the unique environment that sustains us. We seek to illuminate relationships among plant life, animals, humans and the physical characteristics of mountains, deserts and water.

PARTICIPANTS accompany instructors for three hour classes in any of the six sessions: Saturday morning and afternoon, and Sunday morning. Saturday morning sessions begin at 9:00 A.M.; Saturday afternoon sessions begin at 1:00 P.M.; and the Sunday morning sessions begin at 8:00 A.M. Saturday evening there will be a potluck dinner at 6:00 P.M. followed by an evening program.  Parents are required to supervise their children.

THE SITE is found in Castle Rocks State Park, near Almo in Cassia County, Idaho. The park is located in Big Cove at the base of Cache Peak in the Albion Mountain. Attendees gather at the group site at an elevation of ~5600 feet. The group site can accommodate up to 50 attendees. Hook-ups are not available at this site. Registrants will receive directions to the campground by email after registering. The commute is approximately 170 miles and 2.75 hours north of SLC.

ACCOMMODATIONS allow for tents. There are sanitary vault toilets and potable water at the site & a covered pavilion. Bring everything you will need.

MEALS: Participants should plan to provide their own meals and provide a contribution to the Saturday evening potluck. Bring an appetizer, side or main dish, or dessert to share. Great Salt Lake Audubon will provide soft drinks. In an effort to be green and reduce trash, please bring your own reusable plates and utensils.

TUITION for the seminar is $30; $25 for seniors 65 and older.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE is Friday, May 31, 2019. Class choices are honored on a first come first served basis. A letter confirming your registration and a detailed map to the campground will be sent via email. Notice of cancellation must be received by Friday, May 31 in order to receive a refund.

Register early for best class choices. Event limited to 50 attendees. Class sizes are limited and registrants may be re-assigned if needed.


Flower Power: Plants of the Great Basin, Lynn Bohs

The Where, How, and Why of Bird Behavior, Cooper Farr

Ecology of the Albion Mountains:
A Biogeographic Crossroads, Wallace Keck

The Geologic Story of City of Rocks, Alan Lloyd

California Trail Emigrants, Tara McClure-Cannon

Bird Nests and Nesting Behavior, Terri Pope


Lynn Bohs is a botanist in the Biology Department at the University of Utah. She has taught hundreds of students how to identify plants in her field classes. Her research concentrates on the nightshade family (Solanaceae) that includes potatoes, tomatoes, and chili peppers.
Session description: Participants will learn many of the common trees, shrubs, and herbs of the region in a short time by getting up close to observe their secrets. No prior botany knowledge needed. Please bring a hand lens if you have one. Lynn will provide species lists so a clipboard and pen/pencil could also be handy. Session involves easy walking.

Cooper Farr has been interested in animals - and curious about why they do what they do - since she was a young girl. She is currently the Director of Conservation at Tracy Aviary, where she leads citizen science projects throughout Salt Lake County. These projects gather information about where birds occur in relation to habitat characteristics and human disturbances, informing local land management and conservation.
Session description: This session focuses on the fascinating world of bird behavior. As we find identify, and observe birds, we will discuss where, how, and why different species spend their time. Participants will learn about how birds interact with their environment, and how their behaviors can be altered by changes in the landscape.

Wallace Keck is the Superintendent of City of Rocks National Reserve where he has been for the last 17 years; he has worked for 35 years in 7 different parks and for 5 agencies. Wallace is a naturalist, interpreter, avid birder and field botanist. Wallace earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas.
Session description: From common flora and fauna to the endemic and endangered, students will discover the uniqueness of a single mountain range like no other in the Basin & Range Province.

Alan Lloyd was raised in the small ranching community of Elba, just 10 miles northeast of the parks. The complex yet scenic City of Rocks and Castle Rocks are part of what sparked his interest in studying geology. Alan earned a BS in geology from Boise State University, and has worked professionally as a hydrogeologist, exploration geologist, and water well contractor.
Session description: The Reserve is home to a rare, nationally significant geologic landscape of densely spaced granite spires and domes enclosed within a mountain basin. The geologic structures and rock types found here led to the designation of its national natural landmark status. Discover the full story.

Tara McClure-Cannon, Chief of Resource Management, City of Rocks
Professional Archaeologist. Tara has a Master Degree in Anthropology from New Mexico State University and has worked with private companies and state and federal agencies in cultural resource management.
Session description: Although City of Rocks National Reserve protects over 6.2 miles of the most intact route of the California Trail, the land holds many secrets. Discover the stories behind the emigrant signatures and hear in their words what they experienced here 175 years ago.

Terri Pope has worked as a biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources since 2012.  She is currently the Wildlife Conservation Biologist in the Central Region, working with birds and mammals of conservation concern.  Terri earned her Master's degree from Northern Arizona University and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.  Her research focused on how differences in habitat conditions affect avian behavior.
Session description: Birds use many different nesting strategies.  Types of nests are quite variable; from scrapes on the ground, to cups in shrubs, and cavities in trees.  Where a nest is located and how the adults behave around the nest also can influence whether a nest successfully fledges young birds.  Come learn about strategies birds use for nesting to ensure future generations of their species.

Birding Big Day Blitz
Wallace Keck, park superintendent, is challenging us to a friendly half-day birding competition (5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). If you accept the challenge, teams of 2-4 birders will scour the checklist area for species. The team with the most species wins (there is a prize!). GSLA invites other Audubon chapters and birders and organizations to join the fun.
Contact Jeanne Le Ber for contest rules and more information.

Castle Rocks State Park at 748 East 2800 South , Almo, ID 83312

Contact: Castle Rocks State Park @ or CAS@idpr.idaho.gov