Meeting and Presentation: "Desert Soils — More than Just Dirt"


PLEASE NOTE: WE HAVE MOVED OUR MEETINGS TO UCR You will be amazed to discover all the incredible underground happenings in our desert soils that affect not only how our gardens and wild plants grow, but also how our ecosystems function. “Desert Soils – More Than Just Dirt” just may make you believe in magic — well, at least help you to realize all the nearly mystical relationships that are going on underfoot which control so much of what we see above ground. In her presentation Robin will describe the other-worldly underground root partnerships (mycorrhizal fungi associated with plant roots) that help most desert plants survive, and why added fertilizers can damage that relationship. She will explore ancient biological soil crusts, and see how they come alive after rain, cementing soil grains together to prevent erosion. Join Robin as she unravels complex systems, including the conversion of gaseous nitrogen in the air into soluble fertilizer in the ground by soil microbes; ancient desert pavement; desert varnish on rocks; hydrophobic desert soils (and how that affects how we irrigate), why deep water stakes are so effective to keep landscape plants healthy when soils are hot and dry, and some other cool stuff like the green algae that grows under our translucent desert rocks. You may never walk the same over our desert soils. Robin Kobaly is the Executive Director of the SummerTree Institute, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing new and refreshing viewpoints toward our environment, our place in it and our responsibility to it. As a professional biologist with over thirty years of experience as an interpretive specialist, Robin designs and presents acclaimed events and programs for adults and children. After receiving her Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of California Riverside, Robin traveled the world continuing her lifelong fascination with plants, birds and wildlife. Robin had a twenty-year career with the Bureau of Land Management as a botanist, wildlife biologist and natural history interpreter. Robin has prepared and presented programs for television and radio broadcast as well as appearing as spokesperson for many different programs focused on natural history.
  • Plant exchange before the meeting @ 5:30 PM in the parking lot. Bring pups, cuttings, plants to share with others. Even if you cannot bring plants feel free to adopt and watch your garden grow.
  • Meeting and presentation are open to the public and free of charge.