Thursday, November 15, 2012


The 'Build Our Mesquite Field Guide' Contest is meant to open up the world around us, to help us see all the species of plants, wildlife, insects, birds, etc. that live where we live.  The Virgin River is a magnet that draws life to it because water is literally the life-line necessary to exist in the desert.  And the Virgin River corridor is home to so many species, ants, lizards, snakes, butterflies, dragonflies, fish, song birds, ducks, quail, dove, rabbits, coyotes, willows, reeds, quailbrush, mesquite trees, cottonwoods, grasses, flowers, cattails, the list goes on and on. 

So why not have some fun and get acquainted with our neighbors?  And better yet, why not share your photos and info with others?  That is the whole motivation behind the Field Guide contest.  From the Arizona state line to Lake Mead, from river bank to river bank (which is pretty wide), those are the boundaries.  While in that riparian zone, snap photos of different species, then post them to our facebook page:  It's as easy as that!  Each post, each photo is a point!

Now, you want to earn triple points?  That's easy too--select a species that has been posted to our Facebook page (it can be one you posted or one someone else posted), get on the Internet or grab a field guide book and do a bit of research.  Determine the common name of the species and post that name with a sentence or two describing that species. 

For example---'Common Kingsnake.  A large, common snake with bold dark and light stripes.  Active during the day, especially early in the morning or near dusk'.  How easy was that?

And you just earned triple points!  Want three more points---this is too easy---just identify the source you used, such as 'National Audubon Society Nature Guides, Deserts' eighth printing, 1994.'  Three more points, just for listing your main source!  You're going to win this contest, aren't you? 

And, if you are extremely clever, you'll go to your teacher and get extra credit or use this for a scout badge--and scout leaders, home schoolers---here's a ready-made project with double benefits--it's fun, those that enter can win great prizes, AND this could be a homework assignment, accomplishing a scout goal, etc.

Oh, and last word--we'll have some fun prizes for some crazy categories--like biggest insect, oddest plant, rarest species......and add triple points if you win any of these categories.  See how easy it is to collect points?  And have fun?  And learn about our neighbors living along the Virgin River! 

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