Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Announcing “Desert Tortoise Week” April 13-22, 2019
Join us for events, hikes and lectures across the Coachella Valley to celebrate the tortoise

April 12, 2019

Contact(s):

Joanna Gilkeson, Joanna_Gilkeson@fws.gov, 760-431-9440, ext. 227


Desert tortoise eating a flower.

Desert tortoise Credit: Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS

Palm Springs, California — Local, state, federal and nonprofit organizations in the Coachella Valley are coming together to raise awareness, promote recovery and recognize the threats to one of the desert’s most iconic species - the desert tortoise - through a series of events in April.

The Mojave desert tortoise was listed as federally threatened in 1990 due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and predation. Although much has been done to aid in the species’ recovery, the tortoise continues to face many threats, but you can help. During “Desert Tortoise Week”, participants will learn more about the desert tortoise and simple actions that can be taken to help them. Those interested will also get to meet some of the Coachella Valley’s finest ambassador animals.

Tortoises emerge in the fall and spring before returning to their burrows for the cold winter and hot summer months, where they spend 95 percent of their lives. Right now, they are still active above ground, so you might get lucky and see a wild tortoise at one of our outdoor events.

Schedule of events for Desert Tortoise Week, 2019:

Habitat Restoration Workday, Sand to Snow National Monument
April 13, 8 a.m. - Noon
Help restore habitat within Sand to Snow National Monument to benefit the desert tortoise and other desert wildlife. A variety of restoration efforts such as removing weeds, collecting native seed and trash removal are planned. Wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves, and pants. Tools, gloves, and water is provided. Email ddortiz@blm.gov for more information.
Location: Meet at the bend of Long Canyon and Hacienda Ave in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

Tortoise in Peril Screening, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
April 15, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Vincent James will talk about tortoise conservation, followed by a showing of the short documentary, Tortoise in Peril.
Location: The Tennity Board Room at The Living Desert and Gardens, 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, Calif.

Desert Tortoise Presentation, Maturango Museum
April 17, 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Meet an ambassador tortoise and listen to The Tortoise, the Raven and OHV Collaboration presentation by Allison Fedrick at Maturango Museum Lecture followed by Q & A.
Location: The Maturango Museum, 100 E Las Flores Avenue, Ridgecrest, Calif.

Tortoise Watch and Trek, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument
April 18, 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Join biologists from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management for an easy 3-mile hike at Randall Henderson trail. Participants will learn about the natural history of tortoises in a place where tortoises are occasionally seen. Event is limited to 40 participants. RSVP at www.desertmountains.org/calendar or call 760-862-9984.
Location: Meet at east parking lot, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, 51-500 Highway 74 Palm Desert, Calif.

Following Tracks, Scat and DNA, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument
April 18, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, Dani Ortiz, will speak on desert tortoise ecology and their status at Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains Monument. RSVP at www.desertmountains.org/calendar or call 760-862-9984.
Location: Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, 51-500 Highway 74 Palm Desert, Calif.

Tortoise in Peril Screening, Mojave Desert Land Trust
April 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Tortoise talk with Desert Tortoise Council board member Halle Kohn and U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Scott Hoffman followed by screening of the short documentary, Tortoise in Peril.
Location: Mojave Desert Land Trust HQ, 60124 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, Calif.

Native Plant Sale, Mojave Desert Land Trust
April 20, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Details: Pick up some desert tortoise favorites at this popular native plant sale.
Location: Mojave Desert Land Trust HQ, 60124 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, Calif.

Earth Day Event, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens |
April 22, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Celebrate Earth Day at The Living Desert with zoo animals and learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Location: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, Calif.

Daily Ranger Chats, Joshua Tree National Park
April 15 - April 22, daily at 10 a.m.
Join rangers at Joshua Tree National Park to learn more about how the park supports desert tortoise and how you can help conserve this threatened species. 
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Oasis Visitor Center, 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Exhibit: Free-range Forever - the Desert Tortoise, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument
April 1-30, open daily, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Details: While visiting the area, don’t forget to stop by the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor for a unique desert tortoise exhibit. 
Location: Monument Visitor Center, 51-500 Highway 74, Palm Desert, Calif.

Events for the first “Desert Tortoise Week” are focused in the Colorado Desert. Next year, we hope to expand the celebration to communities in the Mojave Desert, encompassing more of the tortoise’s range.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/cno or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.

 

                                                                                                       -FWS-

 

 


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.