Chihuahuan Desert Lab

In November 2005, 10 volunteers ages 16 to 77—eight CDL students and two Chihuahuan Desert Alliance volunteers—worked alongside park staff to plant native trees at Rattlesnake Springs to restore habitat for the Bell’s vireo. They planted 27 netleaf hackberry, western soapberry and Goodding’s willow tree saplings. These saplings replaced Russian olive trees, which while providing the shrubby, dense habitat favored by the Bell’s vireo, are a non-native species and were removed by the park’s Exotic Plant Management Team.
Eight CDL students and two Chihuahuan Desert Alliance volunteers—worked alongside park staff to plant native trees at Rattlesnake Springs to restore habitat for the Bell’s vireo.

NPS Photo

 

The Chihuahuan Desert Lab (CDL) is one of five National Park Labs models designed to enhance science, math, and technology studies at the high school level. CDL is a comprehensive program that includes a resource-based curriculum and provides opportunities for students to participate in resource monitoring and stewardship activities at Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. Focus topics include water quality monitoring of human impact, cave swallows, reintroduction and monitoring of prairie dog populations, revegetation of Chihuahuan Desert grassland ecosystem, and geographical information and global positioning systems (GIS and GPS)... special education modifications

For more information, contact the park education specialist at 575.785.3127.

Table of Contents

Project 0: The Umbrella Project for the CDL Course
Curriculum Alignment

Download all three lessons

Lesson One: What is the CDL?

Lesson Two: Where the NPS Fits into the Picture

Lesson Three: Creation of a National Park

Supplements

0.1 Pre/Post Test for Course

0.2 Pre/Post Test Key for Course

0.3 National Park Labs: An Overview

0.4 The Chihuahuan Desert Lab: An Overview

0.5 Establishment of the National Park Service

0.6 National Park Service: An Overview

0.7 NPS Role in American Education

0.8 Carlsbad Caverns National Park

0.9 Guadalupe Mountains National Park

0.10 Example of a Public Law

0.11 Create-A-Park: Brainstorming Questions

0.12 Create-A-Park: Things to Consider

0.13 Present-A-Park Grade Card

0.14 Additional Information & Speaker List

Project 1: GIS and GPS

Curriculum Alignment

Download all three lessons

Lesson One: Overview of GPS and GIS

Lesson Two: GPS/GIS Instruction and Practice

Lesson Three: Technological Applications

Supplements

1.1 Pre/Post Test

1.2 Pre/Post Test Key

1.3 GPS/GIS Work Sheet

1.4 Navigation Procedures

1.5 How to Collect Data

1.6 Importing GPS Data into GIS

1.7 List of Technological Applications

1.8 Handwriting

1.9 GPS First Aid Kit

Project 2: Revegetation
Curriculum Alignment

Study Proposal/Field Protocol

Lesson One: Introduction to Plant Collection and Identification

Lesson Two: Historical Land Use: County Boundaries of 1852

Lesson Three: Historical Land Use: County Boundaries and Livestock Populations in 1880 and 1900

Lesson Four: Historical Land Use: County Boundaries in 1921 and 1990 and Livestock Populations between 1900 and 1990

Lesson Five: Seed Germination and Seedling Growth

Supplements

2.1 & 2.2 Revegetation Project: Pre/Post Test & Key

2.3 30 Common Plants of the Chihuahuan Desert

2.4 Plant Drawings

2.5 Venn Diagram

2.6 Plant Matrix

2.7 Plant Press Construction

2.8 Lehmann lovegrass Publication

2.9 Exotic Plant in Kalahan Desert in S. Africa

2.10 Presentation of Plant Mounts Rubric

2.11 Historical Research

Download Boundary Maps

2.12 County Boundaries of 1852 Map

2.13 County Boundaries of 1880 Map

2.14 County Boundaries of 1900 Map

2.15 County Boundaries of 1921 Map

2.16 Present County Boundaries Map

2.17 & 2.18 Making Sense of Historical Data Sheet & Key

Download Livestock Population Charts

2.19 Livestock Population in Southern New Mexico 1880 Chart

2.20 Livestock Population in Southern NM 1900

2.21 Livestock Population in Southern NM 1920

2.22 Livestock Population in Southern NM 1935

2.23 Livestock Population in Southern NM 1950

2.24 Livestock Population in Southern NM 1970

2.25 Livestock Population in Southern NM 1990

2.26 & 27 Comparative Interpretation of 1921 Boundaries to Present Boundaries and Land Productivity Work Sheet & Key

2.28 & 29 Calculating Animal Units Work Sheet & Key

2.30 Statistical Examples

2.31 Germination Chart

2.32 Seedling Growth

Download Plants in 20 Planting Sites

2.33 Plants in 20 Planting Sites at 4 Months

2.34 Plants in 20 Planting Sites at 8 Months

2.35 Plants in 20 Planting Sites at 12 Months

2.36 Plants in 20 Planting Sites at 24 Months

2.37 Plants in 20 Planting Sites at 48 Months

Project 3: Reintroduction and Monitoring of Prairie Dog Population

Curriculum Alignment

Study Proposal/Field Protocol

Lesson One: Prairie Dog Facts

Lesson Two: Prairie Dog Ecology

Lesson Three: Prairie Dog Behaviors

Lesson Four: Field Methods

Lesson Five: Prairie Dog Site Selection

Lesson Six: Prairie Dog Site Preparation

Lesson Seven: Statistics for Data Analysis and Hypothesis Testing

Supplements

Download 3.1-3.4

3.1 Prairie Dog Facts: Pre/Post Test

3.2 Prairie Dog Facts: Pre/Post Test Key

3.3 Prairie Dog Facts: Notes

3.4 Prairie Dog Facts: Work Sheet

Download 3.5-3.10

3.5 Distribution Map 1

3.6 Distribution Map 1 Work Sheet

3.7 Distribution Map 2

3.8 Distribution Map 2 Work Sheet

3.9 Distribution Map 3

3.10 Distribution Map 3 Work Sheet

3.11 Prairie Dog Classification Work Sheet

3.12 Black-tailed Prairie Dog Life Cycle

Download 3.13-3.15

3.13 Plague Transmission Diagram

3.14 Plague Transmission Diagram Work Sheet

3.15 Tick Bite Prevention Handout

Download 3.16-3.23

3.16 Prairie Dog Ecology: Pre/Post Test

3.17 Prairie Dog Ecology: Pre/Post Test Key

3.18 Prairie Dog Ecology: Notes

3.19 Prairie Dog Ecology: Questions

3.20 Prairie Dog Ecology: The Mysterious Black-footed Ferret

3.21 Prairie Dog Ecology: Relationships

3.22 Prairie Dog Ecology: Symbiosis Work Sheet

3.23 Prairie Dog Ecology: Food Webs

Download 3.24-3.28

3.24 Prairie Dog Behaviors: Pre/Post Test

3.25 Prairie Dog Behaviors: Pre/Post Test Key

3.26 Prairie Dog Behaviors: Notes

3.27 Prairie Dog Behaviors: Lecture Outline

3.28 Prairie Dog Behaviors: Checklist

3.29 Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Location Map

Download 3.30-3.36

3.30 Field Methods: Pre/Post Test

3.31 Field Methods: Pre/Post Test Key

3.32 Field Methods: Outline

3.33 Field Methods: Transect Data Sheet

3.34 Field Methods: Topographical Map Questions Work Sheet

3.35 Field Methods: Topographical Map Sheet

3.36 Field Methods: Prairie Dog Behavior Checklist

Download 3.37-3.39

3.37 Prairie Dog Site Selection: Student Evaluation Form

3.38 Prairie Dog Site Prep: Plant and Soil Data Sheet

3.39 Prairie Dog Site Prep: Student Evaluation Form

Download 3.40-3.46

3.40 Statistics for Data Analysis and Hypothesis Testing Notes

3.41 Measure of Central Tendency Example Problems

3.42 Measure of Central Tendency Work Sheet

3.43 Measure of Central Tendency Sheet Key

3.44 Measure of Dispersion Example Problems

3.45 Measure of Dispersion Work Sheet

3.46 Measure of Dispersion Work Sheet Key

Download 3.47-3.51

3.47 Flower Color Example Problem

3.48 Genetics Example: Ho Accepted

3.49 Critical Values of the X2 Distribution

3.50 Chi Square Problems Work Sheet

3.51 Chi Square Problems Work Sheet Key

Project 4: Cave Swallows

Curriculum Alignment

Study Proposal/Field Protocol

Lesson One: Birds

Lesson Two: Taxonomy and Identification of the Cave Swallow

Lesson Three: Field Observations at Nesting Site

Lesson Four: Mapping the History of the Distribution of the Cave Swallow

Lesson Five: Study Food Habits

Lesson Six: Data Collection and Analysis

Supplements

4.1 & 4.2 Cave Swallow Project: Pre/Post Test & Key

4.3 Bird Basics: An Outline

4.4 & 4.5 Dichotomous Key to Common Northern Chihuahuan Desert Mammals & Birdwatching Tips

4.6 Cave Swallows: Historical Changes

4.7 Food Habits

4.8 Insect Drawings

Download 4.9-4.14

4.9 Guidelines for Banding Operations

4.10 Cave Swallow Data Sheet #1

4.11 Cave Swallow Data Sheet #2

4.12 Cave Swallow Data Sheet #3

4.13 Cave Swallow Data Sheet #4

4.14 Banding Operations Checklist

4.15 HY 1987 Banding Data

4.16 Map of Rattlesnake Springs

Project 5: Water Quality Monitoring

Curriculum Alignment

Study Proposal/Field Protocol

Lesson One: Water

Lesson Two: Introduction to Hydrology

Lesson Three: Water Testing Procedures

Lesson Four: Analysis of Metals and Trace Element Procedures

Supplements

5.1 Water Quality Pre/Post Test

5.2 Water Quality Pre/Post Test Key

5.3 Water Facts

5.4 Station #1: Temperature Work Sheet

5.5 Station #2: Dissolved Oxygen Work Sheet

5.6 Station #3: pH Procedure Work Sheet

5.7 Station #4: Electrical Conductivity Sheet

5.8 Station #5: Alkalinity Work Sheet

5.9 Station #6: Nitrates Work Sheet

Download 5.10-5.13

5.10 Calibration Data Work Sheet

5.11 Data Work Sheet

5.12 Solubility of Oxygen in Water Table

5.13 Table Calibration Value Table

5.14 Water – The Big Picture

5.15 The pH Game

Download 5.16-5.18

5.16 Ultra Scientific CLP-ICP Spike Standards

5.17 Definitions

5.18 References and Related Procedures


Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, NM 88220

Phone:

(575) 785-2232

Contact Us