Death Valley Natural History Association February 2023 E-Newsletter


DVNHA Updates

Get your 2023 Wildflower Tee!

This year’s tee features Rafinesquia californica, commonly known as Desert Chicory, a white flower with grayish-green leaves. California Chicory is native to the southwestern United States, where it is found in AZ, CA, NV, UT, and in small populations in OR. It blooms from March or April to May and June each year. Look for Desert Chicory along shrubby slopes or in large open areas between 3,000 to 4,500 feet in elevation. Supplies are limited, purchase your collectible tee today!

Buy it Now!

Spots Still Available on these Death Valley Institute Programs!




Ash Meadows NWR Updates

Junior Refuge Ranger Day Recap

Top: Puddles the Blue Goose with the New Jr. Refuge Rangers, Bottom Left: Family who won the Jr. Refuge Ranger Vest giveaway, Bottom Middle: DVNHA’s booth, Bottom Right: Joey DeSomma winner of the giveaway bag from the DVNHA table. Photo Credit: Kendra DeSomma.

Junior Refuge Ranger Day at Ash Meadows NWR on Feb. 11, 2023 was a success! Activity stations were set up throughout the refuge; participants completed seven activities to earn their badge and get sworn in as official Jr. Refuge Ranger. The event was fun for kids and adults of all ages! For the two DVNHA giveaways, a wonderful family won the Jr. Refuge Ranger vest, and Joey DeSomma won the Ash Meadows giveaway bag- congratulations! 81 people checked in for the event and most spent 2+ hours moving through activity stations.

Did you miss the event? Visit Ash Meadows NWR to find out how to become a Junior Refuge Ranger!

Death Valley NP Updates

Death Valley Dark Sky Festival Recap

Ralph Lorenz, from the John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, talks about the exploration of Venus. Photo Credit: NPS/J. Hallett .

On February 10-12, 2023, Death Valley National Park hosted the Dark Sky Festival with a total attendance of 5,568. The event’s partners included the Ames Research Center, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Death Valley Natural History Association, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Las Vegas Astronomical Society, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Clear skies, telescopes, and engaging speakers combined for a stellar experience, which included auditorium talks, field trips, astrophotography workshops, night sky tours, and other presentations.

The festival is an annual celebration of space and planetary science in one of the darkest locations in the United States. Dates for the 2024 Dark Sky Festival have not been set yet.

Rangers and staff from NASA Gooddard Space Flight Center help Las Vegas 8th grade students from Schofield Middle School build a Martian lander. Photo Credit NPS/J. Hallett.

For more information about this event visit the full NPS Press Release.

DVNHA also successfully hosted two of our own Night Sky Binocular Programs this weekend in collaboration with the event to bring the night sky alive for all visitors. Almost 50 participants joined us for a spectacular learning experience hosted by our very own Board Members Tim Kendziorski and Kimber Moore. We look forward to hosting more of these events in the future.

Park Reopens More Flood Damaged Areas;

No Superbloom Predicted

North Highway is now open 

After months of replacing washed-away asphalt and road base, removing up to 3 feet of debris from the road surface, and filling in undercut shoulders, North Highway is now open. North Highway provides access to Mesquite Springs Campground and Ubehebe Crater. Drivers please continue to use caution until the road striping and other detail work are complete.

Some northern park roads are still closed. Mud Canyon, Racetrack Road, and the two-way end of Titus Canyon Road are likely to open by late February.

Scotty’s Castle will remain closed through August 2024.  

No ‘Superbloom’ predicted

Even though Death Valley experienced intense summer rains, this does not seem to be triggering a hoped-for ‘superbloom.’ ‘Superbloom’ is an unofficial term used to describe unusually spectacular spring blooms. In Death Valley National Park, this event happens about once a decade. “Death Valley is beautiful – with or without a carpet of flowers,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “This spring we are predicting an average flower bloom.”

For more information visit the full NPS Press Release.

Death Valley Search and Rescues

Hikers Rescued in Mosaic Canyon and Wildrose Peak

The National Park Service (NPS) staff assisted hikers in two separate incidents on Sunday, February 5, 2023. Park rangers carried a woman with a broken leg out of Mosaic Canyon and located a man who had separated from his group on Wildrose Peak Trail.

Fortunately, the Mosaic Canyon incident had already concluded before the request for assistance to locate the missing hiker along Wildrose Peak Trail.

Both were rescued safely. For more details about these rescues visit the full NPS Press Release.

NPS responders assess the patient (lying down) while her companions support her at Mosaic Canyon. Photo Credit: NPS.

Hikers rescued by CHP helicopter from Telescope Peak

Two hikers were rescued by helicopter from Telescope Peak Trail in Death Valley National Park on February 1, 2023, after sliding downhill in icy conditions. The hikers were rescued safely.

For more details about this rescue visit the full NPS Press Release.

A hiker is winched up to California Highway Patrol’s H80 helicopter. Photo Credit: California Highway Patrol.


David Blacker – Executive Director

Danielle Wood – Development Director

Renee Rusler – DV Institute Director

Sandy Andrus-Scheet – Office Manager

(From Death Valley Natural History Association)


0 0 votes
News Article Rating

You may also like...

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments