Parsons Field Institute
Citizen Science News
Dear Parsons Field Institute and Citizen Science Friends,

March field madness is upon us, and we need your help!

Please join us in the field to assist with one or more of our scientific projects to help better understand and protect our precious Sonoran Desert.

No experience needed. See below to get involved!
Exciting news!
>1,000 species identified in the Preserve
We are excited to announce that 1,003 species of plants and animals have now been identified in the Preserve.

During a pilot bat acoustic monitoring project, ASU Master of Science candidate Jessie Dwyer detected 12 bat species in the Preserve.

Of these, she found 8 species of bats not previously identified in the Preserve! These are the Western mastiff bat, Mexican free-tailed bat, Nyctinomops free-tailed bat, pallid bat, Western red bat, Western yellow bat, silver-haired bat, Western small-footed bat.

Many more species remain to be discovered. We discover more each year and will keep you posted as we do!

Photo: Pallid bat, one of the new species detected in the Preserve. Credit- Randall D. Babb.
Climate Change in the Preserve
One anticipated change due to climate change is a shift in the life cycle of plants. For example, saguaros currently bloom throughout April, May and June. In the future, as temperature and rainfall patterns change, will the saguaros in the Preserve start blooming earlier or later? What affect will this have on the ecosystem?

To answer this question, the Parsons Field Institute has embarked on a long-term phenology project of saguaros and a select group of other plants at three locations in the Preserve. This is a long-term project. It will take three to five years of twice-weekly monitoring to establish a baseline and then another three to five years to see if the timing of the phenophases is shifting. The Parsons Field Institute is off to a good start, having made more than 45,800 observations since the project began two years ago. 
If you would like to learn more or join the project, contact Jerry Holden at .
Get Involved in Citizen Science this March
Plant Surveys!
Help us continue the fight against non-native plants! To determine the most effective ways to control fountain grass and buffelgrass, we are testing different treatment options in experimental plots at both Quartz Wash and Brown's Ranch.

Each spring, we conduct plant sampling in our plots, which allows us to compare how the treatments affect the native and non-native plants over time. We need your help for this project to be successful!

Sign up to volunteer at Brown's Ranch and Quartz Wash .
Old Trail Restoration Project
Interested in exploring a stunning area of the Preserve while helping protect our sensitive desert lands? Then this project is for you!

In 2016, we began a project to test different treatments to restore old trails in the Preserve. Since then, we’ve conducted plant sampling each spring to determine how well those areas are recovering and which treatments work best.

We are now in our final year of plant sampling and need your help!

Volunteers are needed to help mark out plots and record data. You do not need to know your plants, and this is a great opportunity to learn some of the amazing flora species that call our desert home.

Controlling Invasive Grasses
After plant surveys, we will return to our invasive species plots at Brown's Ranch and Quartz Wash to apply our experimental treatments.

We are testing different removal techniques, including pulling/cutting and herbicide application.

Volunteers are needed to help mark out plots, count plants in plots, mark plants to be treated, and help apply the treatments.

Sign up to volunteer at Brown's Ranch and Quartz Wash today!
Degraded Lands Mapping Workshop

Come out to learn about our regional efforts to map disturbed lands and build regional capacity to restore our beautiful Sonoran Desert. 

We will be training citizen scientists to use Google Earth imagery to identify potentially disturbed land in McDowell Mountain Regional Park. We will form a team of Stewards to help us flag degraded sites using satellite imagery. Volunteers will learn all the online mapping techniques they need to participate in the project. Please bring a laptop. No prior mapping experience needed. 

Once trained, this is a project that you can participate in remotely from your computer.

Sign up here .
The last Citizen Science 101 workshop of the season is...
...on March 17th at the Conservancy Office from 5pm-7pm. Interested Stewards can sign up here . Volunteers can get involved in all of our March fieldwork without taking the course, but we recommend coming to the workshop to learn about all of the ways you can get involved in Citizen Science. Our next workshop will be in Fall 2020.
Dr Helen Rowe
Parsons Field Institute Associate Director
Mary Fastiggi
Parsons Field Institute Coordinator
Tiffany Sprague
Parsons Field Institute Manager
Paul Staker
Citizen Science Chair