Wednesday, June 22


They flew in from all over the country ... big cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston, and Seattle. But they started in much smaller communities like Clearlake (CA), Alexandria (KY), Carlisle (PA), Humble (TX), and Corvallis (OR). Destination: Ontario, California .... or more precisely, the James Reserve in the San Jacinto Mountains about 90 minutes to the east and 5,000 feet higher. I look forward to this every year, but I'm not sure why. On the surface, the facts suggest that I lost a bet. Collect ten precocious high school students at the airport, transport them to a wilderness research center and engage them in exhausting activities (physically and academically) for a full 14 days. But despite the inevitable ups and downs, the full experience is greatly rewarding. Over the next two weeks, you'll have a chance to meet the students and staff, revel in their accomplishments, applaud their initiative, and watch as they grow and learn. You'll also have a chance to post comments and questions to the group, and I will ensure that a response will follow. Enjoy.

Video extra: During our arrival-day visit to the Riverside Metropolitan Museum's Natural History Collections, Julie shows a sample of a plant collection and explains what will happen to the ones we collect in the field. Watch: