Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program
Member Since: 11/16/2001
Contact: Shelley Ellis
300 South Richmond Road
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Educational Partners: Audubon Society Kerncrest Chapter, Bureau of Land Management, California Native Plant Society - Bristlecone Chapter, East Kern County Resource Conservation District, Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, Indian Wells Valley Water District, Leave No Trace, Inc., Maturango Museum, Sierra Sands Unified School District, Partners in Resource Education
- Big Picture
Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program (SEEP) targets 4th graders in eastern Sierra. The theme is water and living within a sustainable arid ecosystem, and involves a hands-on approach for the students and members of the community. The program includes a pre-session, field trip, and post-session. SEEP addresses all aspects of riparian areas, desert fraility, desert adaptation, water conservation, desert safety, personal responsibility, and empowering students to get involved as citizens in making environmental decisions. Field trip instruction provided by volunteers from CA Native Plant Society, Audubon Society, Maturango Museum, Bureau of Land Management Ridgecrest Field Office and more.
Limited schedule: February-May. Full day pre-site classroom session, full day in the field, 1/2 day classroom follow up. Cost is $2.50/student.
The canyon's climate is characterized by temperature extremes and shifting weather patterns because of the dramatic decrease in elevation from a crest of the Sierra Nevada down to the Mojave Desert. Owens Peak at the top of the canyon receives approximately 11.5 inches of rain per year while the lower elevations receive as little as 2 inches due to the rainshadow effect.
Sand Canyon is a watershed on the eastern slope of the southern Sierra Nevada that acts as a transition zone between the Great Basin, Mojave Desert, and Sierra Nevada eco-regions.
The primary ecosystem is desert with a riparian area along a perennial stream that flows for several miles before seeping into and disappearing underground.
Desert ecosystem:Joshua Tree; Cattle Spinach, Rabbit Brush, Creosote Bush, Burro Bush, Goldenhead, Cheese Bush, Bladdersage, Desert Alyssum, Beaver Tail Cactus --
Riparian ecosystem: Red Willow, Fremont Cottonwood, Mule Fat, Yerba Mansa, Watercress
Red-tailed Hawk, California Quail, Costa's Hummingbird, Scrub Jay, Bewick's Wren, Roadrunner,White-crowned Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Whitetail Antelope Groundsquirrel, Side-blotched Lizard, Coyote, Kit Fox, Badger, Desert Cottontail
Sand Canyon lies within the homeland of the Kawaiisu who met their subsistence needs from plants and animals of the region. The Kawaiisu moved about depending upon the location and abundance of food resources.
A giant siphon, part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct that was completed in 1913, crosses the lower part of Sand Canyon. Patrolmen and their families lived in the canyon during the 1930s and 1940s, and the men rode horseback to check on the aqueduct each day. During WWII, other men, sent to guard against sabotage, were housed in temporary barracks. Cement foundations and a rock swimming pool are all that is left as reminders of this recent occupation.
Current CommunitiesSand Canyon lies 10 miles northwest of the small town of Inyokern and 15 northwest of China Lake and Ridgecrest.
* Tags are significant words connected with this site's program and linkable with other HOL sites.