Nevada Photo of the Month

Check back each month to see our new photo. Scroll and enjoy gorgeous shots of Nevada's lands and waters and the animals, plants and people that need them.

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NOVEMBER 2017 - We are so thankful for a mystery volunteer who collected up piles of trash at our Mccarran Ranch Preserve on the Truckee River, much of it deposited by floods earlier this year. The unseen helper sorted the trash—glass bottles by color, flip flops, balls, and more—and moved it where it was easier for our staff and other volunteers to haul off. 

The Conservancy's Lori Leonard tells the whole story on our Nevada Notes from the Field Blog. What a great way to get inspired for this month of giving thanks—and giving back!

OCTOBER 2017 - This Mojave Desert scorpion looks ready for Halloween! In fact, all scorpions glow under ultraviolet lights. The blue-green flourescence comes from a substance found in the scorpion's hyaline layer, a thin but extremely tough coating in a part of their exoskeleton. The hyaline layer is so durable that it's been found in millions-of-years-old fossils, even when all other parts of the cuticle are gone. And even the fossilized hyaline glows!

There are several guesses as to why the scorpion possesses this unique feature, though scientists aren't sure of the reason. It's possible that the fluorescence protects scorpions from sunlight, helps them find one another, lures prey, or confuses predators. 

 

SEPTEMBER 2017 - The Nature Conservancy has purchased a conservation easement on approximately 2,785 acres of the Smith Creek Ranch in Churchill and Lander counties in central Nevada, which benefits sustainable ranching and habitat conservation. Smith Creek Ranch is in the heart of Nevada’s sagebrush sea—a habitat that is increasingly threatened by invasive species and severe fires.  

“Collaborative efforts like this one helped prevent a federal endangered listing of the sage grouse in 2015. This easement also supports a long-time ranching family. A healthy economy and environment are integrally tied,” said Chris Fichtel, Project Director for The Nature Conservancy.

The Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and the Department of Defense (DoD) provided funding for the easement acquisition. The NRCS share of the funds were provided through the Sage Grouse Initiative Farm Bill funds. The DoD portion comes from the Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI).

 

Last year, our McCarran Ranch Preserve experienced a small, but impactful brush fire. Now, a year later, the site is starting to mend, with flowers blooming (and supporting pollinators like bees). While the recovery brings hope, it's also a reminder to practice good fire safety, especially during hot, dry months. 

JULY 2017 - From our weekend plans to the water we drink and the air we breathe, nature provides so many of the things all of us need. We also know that nature can help cities manage the challenges they face. 

Bringing natural solutions to cities, including Las Vegas, helps make them more resilient, livable and truly flourishing places. The water in this picture flows out of Las Vegas and through Clark County Wetlands Park in Henderson, where wetlands help improve its quality before it flows back into Lake Mead and the Colorado River. 

One of The Nature Conservancy's goals in Nevada is to help connect people with nature. Our volunteer program and our Las Vegas speaker series are two ways we're working toward that goal. In fact, this month's speaker series event features the Conservancy's LaTresse Snead, who will be talking about how we're changing the relationship between cities and nature, so that both can thrive. LaTresse will discuss planned international projects, as well as work being done in cities around the country and closer to home in Las Vegas.

JUNE 2017 - Take time to notice the little things in nature that whisper, not shout. 

Soil crusts are a perfect example of a small, easily overlooked wonder of nature. What looks like dried mud may actually be a tiny ecosystem with tons of benefits, including storing carbon dioxide, a key contributor to global warming. Find out why you should care about soil crusts in a recent article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  

Our Mojave Desert Program helps conserve soil crusts by working to see that utility-scale solar projects are built in already disturbed areas, away from more intact sites with high-value habitat.

MAY 2017 - There are lots of reasons to celebrate the desert tortoise in May! Mojave Max, a tortoise who is Nevada's own version of Punxsutawney Phil, came out of his burrow in April, announcing the unofficial start of spring. Ever wonder what it might be like to be a desert tortoise?

We're also launching a four-part speaker series in Las Vegas this month, and the focus of our first talk will be desert tortoises! Come hear Jim Moore, a Conservancy scientists who's dedicated his career to protecting and restoring the Mojave Desert for more than 25 years. He'll share his expertise in desert habitats and the wildlife that call them home including the many lessons that animals like desert tortoise can teach us about thriving where water is scarce and temperatures range from zero to 120 degrees.

APRIL 2017 - What better way to welcome spring than with some beautiful flowers blooming in the Mojave Desert? 

Checking out wildflowers is just one Southern Nevada adventure. If you're looking for more places to get outside this Earth Month, be sure to check out our bucket list of places to visit in the Mojave. You can also check out our Field Trips and Events page to see what volunteering opportunities or other events are coming up. We hope to see you out there!

MARCH 2017 - Lahontan cutthroat trout—Nevada’s state fish—are the largest growing trout that are native to North America. The world record Lahontan was caught in Pyramid Lake in 1925 and weighed in at 41 pounds. Human settlement and development, along with predation by non-native fish, took a heavy toll on Lahontan cutthroat trout.  They now occupy only a fraction of their original range and are listed as federally threatened. 

From Independence Lake to the lower Truckee River, our work is benefitting Lahontan cutthroat trout and improving their habitat. Our work on the Truckee River is also protecting clean drinking water for Reno and Sparks. And it’s helping provide protection from floods.

FEBRUARY 2017 – Nature is never one to disappoint. These barn swallows came together to make the perfect valentine for wildlife lovers everywhere. Don’t forget to include Nevada’s lands, waters and animals on the list of things you adore this Valentine’s Day! Explore our work now to find even more to love >>

JANUARY 2017 - This bighorn isn’t about to let a little snow get him down. His determination is a good way to kick of 2017. We wish you the same perseverance in your upcoming year!

DECEMBER 2016 – Celebrating our past successes while looking forward to exciting opportunities seems like a fitting way to end the year. We did just that at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area recently with partners the Bureau of Land Management and The Howard Hughes Corporation. See photos and get details from the Las Vegas Review-Journal >>

Nearly 30 years ago, an innovative partnership between business, government and The Nature Conservancy protected the gateway to iconic Red Rock Canyon, Nevada's first National Conservation Area. We unveiled a new sign last month that formally (and permanently) shares our story with 2 million+ visitors a year. We're ready to build on this success and many more in 2017, but we can’t do it with you!



Make a gift to The Nature Conservancy today to help keep Nevada a place you love to live, work and play! >> 


NOVEMBER 2016 - We may not have reindeer in Nevada, but we think a “Happy Holidays” from this wintery mule deer makes up for that.

Mule deer are one of the more than 350 species that call Nevada's rangeland home. These rangelands face challenges, though. Today the sagebrush ecosystems that once covered much of western North America have been significantly changed and fragmented by a wide array of threats, including invasive plants, catastrophic wildfire and incompatible land uses. The Nature Conservancy is working to conserve sagebrush lands uses cutting-edge science and planning to develop strategies to restore these expansive, irreplaceable landscapes to a healthier condition for wildlife and for people.

OCTOBER 2016 – Every fall tarantulas wander the Nevada desert with hopes of finding a mate. Male tarantulas march out of their burrows, usually in September and October, while females wait patiently in their own dens for suitors to come knocking. This ritual is much more taxing for the males, who can walk up to 50 miles in their search. Generally males only mate once in their lives, dying from exhaustion or falling prey to cannibalistic females before or after mating. Females, on the other hand, can live as long as 20 years, breeding many years in a row.

Even though these hairy critters may give some people the creeps, they don’t typically bite without being provoked. Plus their bites are only painful, not particularly dangerous (to humans anyway). They’re also nocturnal, so the chance of running into one isn’t too high—unless, of course, you go looking!

SEPTEMBER 2016 – Get ready: Fall is bringing cooler weather and gorgeous colors! McCarran Ranch Preserve on the Truckee River is a great, quick getaway from Reno (just about a 15-minute drive) and offers some pretty impressive fall colors. Grab your sweater and check it out.

Looking for more adventures? Get inspired by these 10 Fall Foliage Destinations across the U.S.

AUGUST 2016 - This month, we’re celebrating the opening of a new one-mile loop trail around a gorgeous wet meadow at Independence Lake Preserve. It’s a great excuse to beat the summer heat and make a trip to the High Sierra. The pacific chorus frog is just one of the many species you might spot while you’re out exploring. They’re found in many parts of Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington.

Chorus frogs live in a variety of habitats and elevations. When you see them, they might be one of many shades of brown or green. They can also change colors over time.

JULY 2016 – Did you know that we provide kayaks and motor boats free of charge so you can explore our Independence Lake Preserve? This alpine getaway in the Sierra Nevada near Reno is a great opportunity to connect with the outdoors and beat the summer heat. Get all the details you need to plan your visit, and check out our tips for the best chance of getting your hands on a boat or kayak when you go.

In addition to being a beautiful destination, Independence Lake plays an important role in providing clean drinking water to western Nevada, including Reno and Sparks. We’re working to make the forest around Independence Lake healthy, reducing the risk of catastrophic fires and protecting this vital water source for people, wildlife and fish.

JUNE 2016 – Have you heard about The Nature of Art? We're using art to restore nature.

This photo shows one of the sculptures during a recent flood at River Fork Ranch Preserve outside Carson City. We’re also using environmental art as part of our ongoing conservation efforts on the Truckee River near Reno at McCarran Ranch Preserve

The Nature of Art is a collaboration of the Conservancy, the Nevada Museum of Art Center for Art + Environment and environmental artists Daniel McCormick and Mary O’Brien, with support from the J. Robert Anderson Memorial Fund.

MAY 2016 – Good news! A recent photo shoot confirmed bald eagles are again nesting in the cottonwood trees along Brockliss Slough at our River Fork Ranch Preserve. Plan your trip to the Carson Valley soon and see them for yourself.

APRIL 2016 – What better way to connect with nature than to literally get your hands in the dirt? Our volunteers in Reno, Las Vegas and the Carson Valley help with everything from planting trees to building habitat to cleaning up preserves.

Are you ready to jump in and make a difference? Sign up to be a volunteer today!

MARCH 2016 - American white pelicans arrive February through March at Pyramid Lake’s Anaho Island in Nevada, one of the country’s largest breeding colonies. These large white birds can be spotted hunting upstream on the Truckee River (like at our McCarran Ranch Preserve) and as far away as Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.

The pelicans are only one of Nevada’s cool spring migrations. Check out the other must-see migrations across the state.

FEBRUARY 2016 – Love is in the … feathers! People may spend hours creating the perfect Valentine for their loved ones, but Mother Nature, she does it without effort! This sandhill crane is more than happy to share the love.

Sandhill cranes are one of many birds benefitting from our restoration of wetlands and more along the Carson River at River Fork Ranch Preserve. Get details about how you can visit the preserve, and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of a crane for yourself!

JANUARY 2016 - A fresh start, a clean slate, a new year! Take a cue from this little desert tortoise and get ready to explore your world. For 2016, resolve to find adventure in the rich natural splendors Nevada offers. We’ve pulled together a Mojave Desert bucket list of just some of these amazing places to help you get started.

DECEMBER 2015 - The long-tailed weasel trades its normally brown furry coat for a dazzling white one during the winter. This camouflage protects it from larger predators and helps it blend in with its snowy surroundings while hunting smaller mammals. This cute little guy is one of many animals that find renewal during the year’s coldest months.

NOVEMBER 2015 - The Anna’s hummingbird is one of several found in Nevada. But unlike some hummingbirds who are only seasonal residents during migration, these hummingbirds live in southern Nevada­, including Las Vegas, year-round. These tiny birds­—no larger than a ping-pong ball and lighter than a nickel—have dazzling rosy pink throats.

OCTOBER 2015 - Bats are essential to the health of our natural world. Plus they’re super cool. They control pests, ensure production of fruits through pollination (pictured), and disperse seeds for countless plants in Nevada and beyond. Losing bats would have devastating consequences for nature and the economy. That’s why Conservancy scientists and partners are helping our little friends in the fight against white nose syndrome.

SEPTEMBER 2015 - Forests can be beautiful, especially in the fall. But if they’re not healthy, they can pose risks too–especially catastrophic forest fires. This year, we’ve been working on a thinning project at Clear Creek in the Carson Valley to make the forest healthier and more resilient to climate change and drought. We’re also continuing a forest restoration project at our Independence Lake Preserve where a high-severity fire could damage clean drinking water for Nevadans and be disastrous for the native fish that call the lake home.

AUGUST 2015 - America’s sagebrush country is home to more than 350 animal and plant species, like this pronghorn. Our work using innovative science to protect sagebrush habitats in Nevada benefits many of these critters, in addition to the iconic greater sage-grouse, of course!

JULY 2015 - An increasing number of studies illustrate that kids who spend time outdoors are happier, healthier and smarter. These Independence Lake visitors certainly support that theory. Smiles were all around while discovering the preserve’s smaller residents, including Carabid beetles. You can explore Independence Lake and plan your preserve visit today!

JUNE 2015 - Can you spot the tagged monarch? Citizen-scientist Pat Neyman is discovering important insights about Nevada’s monarch butterflies with help from our River Fork Ranch Preserve, a certified Monarch Way Station. The Conservancy's been working to restore natural habitat and native vegetation, including one of the butterfly’s main nectar sources, milkweed. Read more about Neyman’s work that’s part of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, a nationwide endeavor.

MAY 2015 - Don’t be fooled by their beauty. These purple flowers are actually invasive weeds in Nevada, growing stands so dense, they crowd out native plants and reduce overall diversity. Plus, they're toxic to many animals, including horses. Learn about more surprise invasives across the west >

APRIL 2015 - Spring is here, so let's get outside and connect with the wonders of nature we all love and need. These explorers are having a great time in southern Nevada!

MARCH 2015 - Endangered, inch-long Devils Hole pupfish thrive in 93-degree underground waters at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (and nowhere else on Earth).

FEBRUARY 2015 - Sagebrush habitats are critical to Nevada wildlife like Greater sage-grouse—and people too. Learn how we're conserving our vast rangelands.

JANUARY 2015 - We're restoring Nevada's rivers for people and wildlife, including the Truckee. See photos from a recent project at McCarran Ranch Preserve (pictured).

Your generous support today makes a real difference for these animals and places—and the Nevadans that enjoy and benefit from them. Thank you!

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