SO BE FREE 28

Green Valley, AZ

Photo: Amanda Heinrich
SO BE FREE 28 group photo
Smiles of satisfaction after a weekend full of bryophytes and friends.

March 29 – April 1, 2024

Santa Rita Experimental Range in southern Arizona, near Green Valley, AZ 

Coordinator: Jason Brooks 

The 2024 SO BE FREE was held at the Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER), AZ. Located in the sky island region of Arizona within the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, the SRER is embedded within a 52,000-acre experimental range, and is the longest continuously active rangeland research facility in the United States. The field station allowed opportunities to explore the bryoflora of the varied habitats to be found in desert sky islands. The habitats visited include mixed conifer forest, streams, grasslands, oak savannah, deep canyons, as well as Sonoran Desert. Those coming from California were intrigued to see many unfamiliar taxa that are characteristic of the bryofloras of the eastern US and Mexico. This area is a famous birders’ paradise, and the birds, butterflies, lichens, and diverse seed plant flora were also enjoyed by participants.

The traditional beginners session and walk was held at SRER the first day, and other trips went out to sites at different elevations in the Santa Ritas. Evening microscope and social sessions were outstanding: new collaborations were begun and others continued, students gave brief reports on their research progress, and participants at all levels of expertise found it a great learning experience!

Additional photos can be found in the trip report in Bryolog.

people with microscopes
Eating and socializing at the scopes on a rainy evening.

Bryologists in the field
Feasting on Plagiobryoides incrassatolimbata

Encalypta moss with sporophytes
Encalypta’s candle snuffers

Frullania leafy liverwort
Frullania sp., Mt. Baldy, CC BY-NC Jordan Collins

hornwort phaeoceros carolinianus
Hornworts in the desert!