Identifying desert flora at the Springs Preserve.

Bladder Sage (Salazaria mexicana)
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We made several visits to the Springs Preserve and Nevada State Museum, which are situated in the same area, on beautiful and fittingly-named Valley View Boulevard. Food at the Springs Café is prepared by the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas and we regularly ate there before conducting research at the Cahlan Research Library (within the Nevada State Museum). I would have loved to have had more time for hiking in the Springs Preserve. The short walk we made provided a useful introduction to some plants and has helped me identify some desert flora. I plan to incorporate more of this kind of information into my project, as well as research that I have found on the effects of nuclear testing on the environment.

Mojave Aster (Xylorhiza tortifolia var. tortifolia)
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White Bursage (Ambrosia dumosa)
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Virgin River Brittlebush (Encelia virginensis)
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Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
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Turpentine Brush (Ericameria laricifolia)
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Bladder Sage (Salazaria mexicana)
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Rubber Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)
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Grizzly Pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea)
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Nevada Jointfir (Ephedra nevadensis)
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Strawberry Hedgehog (Echinocereus engelmannii)
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Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)
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Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata)
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Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
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Nearby, at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

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Wednesday, December 12 we drove out to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge on a windy sunny day. We returned dusty, a little sunburned, inspired. The Refuge is about 20 minutes north of Las Vegas, off Highway 95. It is a protected area of 2,300 square miles (from the brochure): ‘The wide range of elevation and rainfall has created amazingly diverse habitat suited to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Desert Wildlife Refuge is a land of great diversity. Here the Mojave Desert ecosystem merges with the Great Basin ecosystem on this vast dry landscape.’ It is a similar environment to the Nevada Test Site, which lies just beyond, a few ranges away looking north.

The beautiful Corn Creek:
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We recorded sound that day.
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Walked, took photos, shot video.
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It was very windy but we did make a couple of solar prints of plants (that is sun print paper underneath the brush in the picture below), but I had hoped to do much more. I am applying to the Goldwell Open Air Artist Residency for the summer. There, I will be creating a series of prints based on the mannequins, the mojave desert ecology, and the architecture of the testing program.
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