PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS, CA (February 7, 2016) – It’s official… Spring is here! Mojave Maxine emerged from brumation (reptilian hibernation) today, February 7, at 12:06 p.m.
More than 1,400 students from Inyo, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Kern counties participated in the contest to guess the date and time that Mojave Maxine would emerge. The first entry received from each county that is closest to the exact day and time wins a $50 gift certificate, a Federal Lands Pass, a visit from a desert tortoise, Mojave Maxine t-shirts for their entire class and a $100 gift certificate for their teacher. Winners will be notified by officials of The Living Desert.
“Desert tortoises are a vital part of the Mojave Desert and the Mojave Maxine contest is a fun and engaging way to get our community interested and excited about desert conservation. The program is also designed to help teach students what they can do to help protect desert tortoises,” said Peter Siminski, Director of Conservation. “It’s always a enjoyable milestone when Maxine emerges, knowing that spring has arrived in our desert paradise.”
While the east coast has Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day to let them know when they can expect spring, The Living Desert has Mojave Maxine to signify that warmer weather is on the way. With valley temperatures in the 70’s, it seems Maxine is an excellent predictor of spring in the desert. Mojave Maxine is a desert tortoise that lives at The Living Desert and will celebrate her 40th birthday in April. Each year, she retires for the winter to her underground burrow. She stays there in a state of brumation for several months. Mojave Maxine emerges in early spring as the warm days begin to arrive in the desert, promising fresh flowers, a favorite meal for the desert tortoise.
For more information, visit http://www.LivingDesert.org or call 760-346-5694.