Mari Quillman (Chairperson of the Desert Tortoise Council), Taylor Dee, Alden Lovaas, and Verity Richardson attended the 48th Annual Symposium of the Desert Tortoise Council, which was held at the Dixie Center in St. George, Utah from February 22 through 25, 2023. ECORP was not only a Silver Sponsor, but also operated an exhibitor booth where ECORP staff members were able to interact with attendees and provide details about ECORP’s services.
The Symposium kicked off on February 22 with field trips to Red Cliffs National Conservation Area followed by a Pre-Conference Mixer. The sessions included many different topics related to desert tortoises, including genetic research, managing predation on tortoises, restoration of habitat, conservation efforts, behavior and movement patterns, population augmentation, effects of climate change, effects of roads, and recovery and management actions. A special session on the invasion of illegal Cannabis farms in desert tortoise habitat included speakers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and law firms and even included a talk by the Honorable Fiona Ma, the State Treasurer of California.
At the Evening Social on February 23, the attendees were treated to a viewing of The Good, The Bad, and The Slow, a film directed by Hans Glasmann, MFAP Professor at Utah Tech University. The annual banquet, awards, and raffle/auction were held on the evening of February 24, and the banquet included an amazing presentation by Cameron Rognan (Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan) called, “Through the Lens – A Closer Look at Reptile Behavior in Southwest Utah.” The videos and photographs of gila monsters, rattlesnakes, and other desert wildlife taken by Cameron Rognan were incredible!