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CHANGES IN LATITUDE: Evolution, Diversity and Ecology of the Baja Peninsula

Published June 15th, 2023 in Restoration, UW Blogs

By Ken Carloni

This month’s issue of 100 Valleys introduces a new occasional column on the spectacular natural history of the Baja Peninsula: Changes in Latitude. It is written by botanist/ecologist Ken Carloni who has made numerous trips to this unique and enigmatic strip of our planet over the last 25 years. Ken and his wife Jenny first discovered Baja on tours with the Green Tortoise Adventure Travel company beginning in 1998, and led student classes there during spring breaks for the last 3 years Ken taught an Umpqua Community College course: “Evolution, Diversity and Ecology of the Baja Peninsula”. Students were guided through tide pools by marine biologists from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Ensenada, patted gray whale calves from a panga in Laguna Ojo de Liebre, gazed in awe at 10,000 year old rock art in the Central Desert, snorkeled with colorful reef fish in the azure waters of Bahia Concepcion, explored an arroyo that blasted its way through a fossilized coral reef near Punta Chivato, and walked through snowy pine forests reminiscent of southern Oregon on Picacho del Diablo, Baja’s tallest peak.

This issue’s installment, Super Bloomin’, walks you through a rare desert “super bloom” that Ken and Jenny came across in late February in the southern reaches of the Valle de los Cirios Biosphere Reserve (“Valley of the Candles”) in Baja’s Central Desert. Umpqua Watersheds hopes to soon revive edutours in partnership with the Green Tortoise. Stay tuned to this newsletter and to Watershed Moments emails for opportunities to join us on future eco-quests!



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