New desert research and education center established

May 27, 2003

The UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, which conducts long-term ecosystem studies in the Anza-Borrego Desert region, is one of three partners in a new regional research and education program.

With the nonprofit Anza-Borrego Foundation and the local district of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the wildlife center has established the Anza-Borrego Institute.

"Within a three-hour drive of everyone in Southern California, there are state parks in the Colorado Desert District with tremendous geological, biological, archaeological and cultural resources. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has bighorn sheep, rare elephant trees, spectacular spring wildflowers and a 6-million-year fossil record. Other district parks contain the coniferous forests of Mount Palomar, the oak woodlands of the Cuyamacas and the lower Colorado River," said the institute's new executive director, Marty Eberhardt, formerly executive director of the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

"Our vision is to expand the ways that people can learn about and enjoy these extraordinary parks."

The institute's programs may include residential camps for schoolchildren, family education camps, programs for youth at risk, expanded field trips and lectures, and college-accredited seminars and workshops.

Wildlife Health Center director Walter Boyce said the institute hopes to engage visitors in "citizen science" and involve them in ecological research. "Our combined efforts will help people of all ages understand the linkage between research, the environment and their daily lives."
Additional information:
Wildlife Health Center's projects in Southern California
Colorado Desert District parks
Anza-Borrego Foundation

Media contact(s):
* Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, 530-752-7704,

Additional contact(s):
* Marty Eberhardt, Anza-Borrego Institute, 760-767-4063,
* Walter Boyce, Wildlife Health Center, 530-752-1401,

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