The miracle is this: the more we share, the more we have.
— Leonard Nimoy


Nothing is so contagious as example.
— Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1655)

Glyph of Jackalope ;-)


Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy


AmeriCorps Silver Cinco Team


March / April 2012

Appreciation & Fond Farewell!

The Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy and members of the Borrego Springs community said goodbye to the members of AmeriCorps NCCC-Pacific Region, Silver 5 (aka Silver Cinco) team on March 9, 2012 at a dinner at the Krazy Coyote at the Palms at Indianhead. Despite the fact that there was relatively little Sahara Mustard in the Borrego Valley due to drought and other conditions in the field this year, the team made a tremendous positive impact on our efforts to control and eventually eradicate this invasive species from our corner of the desert.

During their two months with us, the Silver Cinco team worked alongside representatives of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park — Larry Hendrickson, Paul Johnson, and Bob Theriault — clearing Sahara Mustard from over 75 acres of parkland. This accomplishment resulted in the collection and bagging of over 500 pounds of invasive plant material, especially seed pods!

As impressive as the above accomplishment is, even more impressive was the team’s ability to connect with members of the Borrego Springs community. During their second month with us, the team delivered 16 presentations about Sahara Mustard to over 300 community members—students, property owners and managers, youth groups, church groups, and the Rotary Club. This means the team made direct contact with approximately 10% of the Borrego Springs community. Not bad for a month’s work!!

As a result of Silver Cinco’s community outreach, over 1,900 acres in the Borrego Valley are now “spoken for” by specific groups and individuals who will monitor their acres for the appearance of Sahara Mustard, and remove this foreign annual weed when it returns. These project areas can be viewed on the Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy’s Mustard Tracking Map.

The members of Silver Cinco were an inspiration to visitors and residents of the Anza-Borrego Desert alike. They brought energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to the difficult tasks at hand. We are grateful for all your hard work, and we wish every Silver Cinco team member unending good fortune as you pursue your dreams. Please return to visit and inspire us again and to enjoy the wild beauty and star-filled nights of our California desert!

AmeriCorps Team
Sara Shellenbarger, Silver Cinco team leader (center, wearing a "boony hat") among team members in Tubb Canyon. Sara is 23 years old and from Minneapolis, MN. She is a graduate of Hamline University where she double majored in Anthropology and Spanish. Sara is a natural leader. Upon completion of this year with AmeriCorps, she intends to
continue working in the non-profit sector.

AmeriCorps Team
Corey Bamberg is 23 years old and from Charlotte, NC. She has a double major in Sociology and Spanish from Salem College. After law school, we will be looking for her at the United Nations or the Supreme Court.

AmeriCorps Team
Jordan Bregman is 23 years old from Fort Mill, SC. He is a finance major from
the University of South Carolina. Watch out Wall Street!

AmeriCorps Team
Conoah Capers (pictured here with a huge Sahara Mustard plant) is 22 years old and from Beaufort, SC. She is a registered nurse and plans on joining the military
upon completing her year with AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps Team
Seanice Clarke is 22 years old and from New York City. After AmeriCorps she will be pursuing a degree in Business Administration and will be working and living in “The City.”

AmeriCorps Team
Randal Domer is 21 years old and from Grand Rapids, MI. Randal’s extensive creativity may lead him to be a chef or a poet, or perhaps both.

AmeriCorps Team
Jean Gose is 24 years old and from Sebring, FL. Jean was an education major at Florida State University. After AmeriCorps Jean will pursue a
Masters Degree in Speech Pathology.

AmeriCorps Team
Mariah Hogan is 21 years old and from Chicago, IL. She is a graduate of Lincoln Challenge Academy. After AmeriCorps, she may join the Marine Corps,
become a poet, or both!

AmeriCorps Team
Alexa Jolin is 20 years old and from Tomah, WI. She is considering joining the Marines after AmeriCorps, and hopes to eventually live in Milwaukee, WI.

AmeriCorps Team
Corey Yula is 19 years old and from Creswell, OR. Corey hopes to serve a second year with AmeriCorps. He is a creative and talented videographer.
Move over Steven Spielberg!


February 2012

Week 1, After the Windstorm... Mustard busting in progress.

In case anyone thought the description of the windstorm posted on the TCDC NEWS page on 27 January was exaggerated, the photos below should be convincing... even without the sound of the wind roaring and howling down the local canyons that reminded us of a runaway train. There was so much dust in the air you couldn’t see mountains for part of the day. Columns of dust rose high into the air. Cyclonic "dust devils" toppled trees, ripped off roofs, and sent signs and other debris skittering across roads and the open desert. The wind snapped large tree branches that fell near the tents of the AmeriCorps Silver Cinco Team. One tent was broken and the other collapsed. What a dramatic welcome the AmeriCorps Silver Cinco Team received to the Anza-Borrego Desert!

AmeriCorps Wind Storm
Country Club Road looking toward Coyote Canyon and Toro Peak as the
windstorm blows dust high into the atmosphere and bends palm trees.

AmeriCorps Wind Storm
Country Club Road looking northwest toward Indian Head Peak as
a wave of dust blows toward Borrego Springs.

AmeriCorps Wind Storm
High winds blew stiff palm fronds in the direction of the wind. Blowing sand and dust blocked the view of the mountains along Sunset Road looking towards Christmas Circle.

AmeriCorps Wind Storm
Looking northeast across Palm Canyon Drive in Borrego Springs toward the Santa Rosa Mountains that were totally obscured by clouds of blowing sand and dust.

AmeriCorps Wind Storm
One of many tree branches blown down by the windstorm near the AmeriCorps team tents. (Photo by Corey Yula, photojournalist for the AmeriCorps Team)

The week after the big windstorm was better. There were no gale force winds, new tents arrived by mid-week, and the hunt for Sahara Mustard resumed. Guided by Larry Hendrickson, Paul Johnson, and Bob Theriault, the team located and eradicated patches of Sahara Mustard in Hornblend Canyon, Box Canyon, Lower Box Canyon, and Mason Valley. As is the case throughout the Borrego Valley and the State Park, the disturbed soils of washes and roadsides are most vulnerable to the invasion of Sahara Mustard, which radiates from there to invade the open desert. Thus, much of the work this week was along roadsides.

AmeriCorps Silver Cinco Team working along S2. Note the uprooted Sahara Mustard in the foreground. (Photo by Corey Yula, photojournalist for the AmeriCorps Team)

After a week of removing a great deal of Sahara Mustard the team traveled on Saturday for its first visit to Tubb Canyon. The occasion was a cookout at the home of Bill Collins and Ann Irwin, Tubb Canyon residents. Before the cookout, however, there was a hike into Tubb Canyon itself on a beautiful, clear, cool, winter afternoon. The hike was guided by Bill Collins (who has known Tubb Canyon and vicinity since childhood), John DiFrancesca (whose home is in Tubb Canyon proper), and by Lori Paul and Robert Staehle who are also Tubb Canyon neighbors. The vigorous hike generated good appetites for the BBQ. A great evening in Tubb Canyon ended under a star-strewn desert sky.

Hiking into Tubb Canyon with David Garmon,
TCDC President, in the lead wearing a red shirt.

AmeriCorps Silver Cinco Team members on a ridge above
Tubb Canyon in the late afternoon.

The setting Sun backlit the ridges and desert shrubs in Tubb Canyon,
turning the hillsides golden for a few moments.

One team member was too hungry to wait for the BBQ after the hike
and decided that an old sheep bone found near the date palms
in lower Tubb Canyon might make a good snack. Eeeiw!