The 2010 Mojave Max Contest winner for San Bernardino County is Garret Zartler. Garret attends Susan Carlton’s third grade class at Joshua Tree Elementary School in Joshua Tree, California. Garret entered a guess that Max would emerge from her burrow on February 13 at 2:05 p.m. Max’s official emergence time was February 13 at 2:30 p.m. Garret’s guess was the closest entered by any student this year and within 25 minutes of Max’ actual emergence. Garret and his classmates will receive Mojave Max T-shirts and a pizza party. Miss. Carlton and Garret will also receive special awards.
The object of the contest is to guess when Mojave Max will emerge from her burrow for the first time after a long winter sleep (brumation). In the fall, when the weather turns cold desert tortoises’ brumate, a reptilian form of hibernation. As temperatures warm in spring, tortoises become active and feed on wildflowers and other annual desert plants.
This is the second year California has had its own Mojave Max to mark the beginning of spring. California’s Mojave Max resides at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California. The Living Desert is a 360-acre wilderness preserve dedicated solely to interpreting and conserving the deserts of the world. The Mojave Max Emergence Contest originally began in Clark County, Nevada as a way for the public to learn about desert tortoises and what can be done to help this threatened species. The Desert Managers Group began a California version of the Mojave Max Emergence Contest in 2005. The Desert Managers Group and the staff at the Living Desert hope to increase understanding about the desert tortoise and other native desert species.
For more desert tortoise media information including news stories, press releases, newsletters, and public service announcements go to the: Desert Managers Group website, or to The Living Desert website.