March 25-28, 2022
Mojave desert, Zzyzx (near Baker), California
Coordinator: Kirsten Fisher
The 2022 SO BE FREE was held at the CSU Desert Studies Center in Zzyzx, CA. Located at Soda Springs, perched at the edge of Soda Dry Lake, the Desert Studies Center is a 1200-acre field station located within the Mojave National Preserve. Springs in the area flow year-round, attracting wildlife and humans to this spot for thousands of years.
The Mojave National Preserve is a huge area, with much variation in geology and elevation. The habitats that were visited include seeps and springs, mountain canyons, alluvial fans, and dunes. Highlights included washes supporting well established biological soil crust communities dominated by mosses, as well as north facing cliffs of volcanic rock which yielded rich collecting.
The first SO BE FREE ever with a waiting list; we unfortunately had to cut attendance off at 60 enthusiastic participants. There were trips for all levels of expertise, including a walk for a large beginners group. Many students were present, evening microscope and social sessions were outstanding, and participants at all levels of expertise found it a great learning and socializing experience!
Additional photos in our newsletter article.