If you missed this week’s Sunbelt Spotlight with A Natural History of the Anza-Borrego Region co-author Mike Wells, you can find a link to the recording below.
Mike gave us an overview of the many topics covered in this comprehensive volume, with specific examples from the region. “What is a desert?” “What was the region like during the Ice Age?” “How do animals and plants survive desert conditions?” You can find answers to those questions and more in this talk and the book!
The book evolved from a course on the natural history of the Anza-Borrego region that was developed by the authors over a 16-year period and taught at the University of San Diego. It tells a coherent story of how the landscape and features of a desert region evolved over time and how organisms that inhabit the desert have adapted to the conditions found there by taking many different evolutionary paths to deal with aridity, heat, and saline soils. The result is an amazing biological diversity that has evolved in response to these conditions.
A Natural History of the Anza-Borrego Region is encyclopedic in detail and is yet very readable. Each illustration was handcrafted to tell a story and to help the reader better understand the fascinating story of this unique desert place and its first human inhabitants. This is the “go-to” book for anyone wanting to understand the natural environment of the Anza-Borrego region.
Mike Wells completed a 34-year career with California State Parks in 2010. His first permanent assignment in 1977 was Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, where he served as a state park ranger. Over the next three decades he enjoyed assignments in the Sierra Nevada foothills, coastal redwoods, and beaches, serving as a ranger, resource ecologist, and park superintendent. His final assignment was district superintendent of the Colorado Desert District, which includes ABDSP. Mike has a PhD in physical geography from a joint program with San Diego State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. His area of study is fire ecology of southern California forest and chaparral communities. He was a lecturer for the Department of Biology, University of San Diego, from 2001–2017