Concert, aquatic field trip slated at Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center

The recent rainfall is beginning to bring new life to the desert plants and animals in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with members of the Anza Borrego Foundation already hosting a number of special events, beginning Friday, Jan. 19, at the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center.

The weekend activities planned at the Desert Research Center, 401 Tilting T Drive, in Borrego Springs, begin with a lecture by biologist Kate Boersma, Ph.D., on adaptations of Anza-Borrego’s desert-dwelling aquatic organisms and a field class in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in search of often-overlooked creatures.

Boersma, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at University of San Diego, and her team plan to take participants in the “Anza-Borrego: In Focus – High and Dry” class to two aquatic habitats in the Coyote Canyon area as Boersma collects samples on the varieties of aquatic organisms found there.

Boersma’s research at the University of San Diego focuses on the adaptations that allow aquatic organisms to survive in an environment that does not guarantee water. This focus includes specific areas such as how these organisms and their aquatic communities react after disturbances to their environment, how they have and continue to adapt to survive extreme drought situations and how disturbances affect their active role within their aquatic communities.

The lecture will take place 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center. There is no advance registration required to attend the lecture. A $5 fee will be collected at the door. The field class will take place, Saturday, Jan. 20. Participants in the field class should register in advance. The class fee is $60 for the public and $50 for ABF members.

“Can’t make it to Anza-Borrego, but want to learn more? ABF will be at Adventure 16 San Diego on Jan. 24 and Adventure 16 West LA Jan. 26, to give an overview of the park, what ABF does and what you can do in this vast and wondrous landscape in eastern San Diego County. Come on out and say ‘hi,’ we’d love to meet you,” Education Manager Briana Puzzo said.

For more information and registration, visit or call Education Manager Briana Puzzo at (760) 767-0446, ext.1004.

The Desert Research Center is also hosting a one-of-a-kind concert and visual experience with violinist and soloist Beth Chafey-Hon, 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, for those interested in learning more about the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Sara Husby, executive director of ABF, said.

Inspired by her time spent in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Chafey-Hon has composed a series of 11 pieces showcasing different striking features of the desert. Titles include “Roadrunner on Patrol,” “Shifting, Drifting Sands” and “Fierce Mountain Singing.”

Chafey-Hon has put together a varying collection of composition techniques – from diatonic consonance to atonal, pitch class and percussive textures of musical descriptions of each aspect in the desert wilderness.

She will be accompanied by a collection of photographs from her personal collection and from the Anza-Borrego Desert Photo Contest. Each photograph will provide a visual backdrop as the music weaves its way through the audience’s mind, creating greater mental pictures of the Anza-Borrego Desert.

Chafey-Hon has created and curated each piece of the concert and has offered to contribute all the proceeds to the Anza-Borrego Foundation, Puzzo said.

Tickets are available online for $25. Wine will be sold at the event. For more information, contact Donor Relations Manager Bri Fordem at or (760) 767-0446, ext 1006.

The Anza-Borrego Foundation is the cooperating association affiliated with Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California’s largest state park, located in east San Diego County. The foundation provides financial support for park programs, acquires land for conservation in and around the park, educates the public about the park’s resources and supports research relevant to the region. The foundation’s $1 million annual budget is supported by individual members and donors, foundations and like-minded businesses. For more information, visit

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