Desert Studies Institute (DSI) was established in 1997 as a cooperative program between the Department of Anthropology at Boise State University and Celebration Park, which is operated by Canyon County Parks, Recreation and Waterways. Each year, the Desert Studies Institute provides a broad range of academic offerings of interest and value to students, teaching professionals, Idaho’s citizens and visitors.
The mission of the Institute is to provide educational programs and scholarly presentations concerning the prehistory, history, ecology and politics of Idaho’s desert environments and deserts worldwide. The programs are presented to enrich the understanding and appreciation of complex desert ecosystems in Idaho and to promote their perpetual preservation as educational resources for the future.
The faculty of the Desert Studies Institute is selected on the basis of their expertise in areas relating to the objectives of the DSI. Faculty from Boise State University and the region form the core of the instructional faculty. The institute regularly arranges for the participation of distinguished scholars from other institutions.
All workshops are one credit each unless indicated, and are available for undergraduate ($245.00) or graduate ($305.00) credit (plus a small workshop fee). All workshops are listed under anthropology; most are cross-listed with other disciplines. See the summer class schedule for detailed information, or for registration information call 426-1709 (Boise State Summer Program/Extended Studies).
Brief Description of Workshops:
Paleontology of the Hagerman Fossil Beds
May 31 & June 1, 2013 by Keila Bredehoeft
This workshop will cover some of the basic principles of paleontology: fossil identification, geologic processes that preserve fossils, and how fossils fit into geologic time with emphasis on the geology of the Glenns Ferry Formation and the Hagerman Fossil Beds vertebrate fauna. The workshop will include a field trip to the Hagerman Fossil Beds.
Depositional Environments and Organisms of Ancient Lake Idaho
June 1 & 2, 2013 by Tiffany Rivera
For the most part, from ˜14 million to ˜2 million years ago the majority of the Treasure Valley was at the bottom of a lake. The geology of our region is dominated by features related to various incarnations of what scientists have referred to generally as “Lake Idaho.” This workshop will investigate how and why this lake formed, what types of organisms existed in the lake, and the eventual demise of the lake. Field work will consist of observing and documenting different depositional zones of Lake Idaho and collecting and observing fossils associated with the organisms that lived in the lake system.
A Japanese American Camp in the Idaho Desert
June 7 & 8, 2013 by Russell Tremayne
In 1942 the United States Government built Camp Minidoka in the Idaho desert northeast of Twin Falls, Idaho. That camp was home to over 13,000 Japanese aliens and American citizens of Japanese ancestry removed from their homes on the West Coast and imprisoned there during World War II. The workshop will focus on the interaction of that “community” with their environment. The second day of the workshop will be a field trip to the site, named a national monument in 2001.
Great Basin Birds of Prey
June 10-13, 2013 by Marc Bechard
This workshop focuses on the types of birds of prey found in North America, their identification, and breeding biology with emphasis on the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho. Included are field trips to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area and the World’s Center for Birds of Prey.
Owls of the Snake River Plain
June 17-20, 2013 by Marc Bechard
This workshop focuses on the identification, natural history, and food habits of owls found in the western United States with emphasis on the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho. Instruction will be given in owl pellet dissection and field trips will be taken to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.
Exploring Desert Ecology
June 18 & 19, 2013 by Mark Plew and Tom Bicak
In this workshop guest speakers and specialists in desert ecology provide a broad overview of natural and human ecology through short lectures and demonstrations in the Snake River Canyon. The workshop meets at Celebration Park near Melba, Idaho. Short field trips to Leslie Gulch, Halverson Bar gold mining camp, and fossil sites are featured.
Archaeology of the Snake River Plain
July 13 & 14, 2013 by Garrett Webb
This workshop provides an overview of the archaeology of the Snake River Plain. Discussion will focus on major prehistoric developments in these areas, with consideration of cultural variations within the region. Discussions will include assessments of current issues and problems in the archaeology of the area. There will be a field trip to Celebration Park on the second day.
Fish and Invertebrates of the Snake and Boise Rivers
July 23 & 24, 2013 by Terry Maret
In this workshop students will learn about aquatic species in the Snake and Boise Rivers and their habitat needs. Part of day one will be in the classroom covering ecological principles of rivers along with an overview of fish and aquatic invertebrates that live in the region. We then head to the field with various sampling gear to collect and identify aquatic invertebrates from local waters. Day two will focus on collecting and identifying native and nonnative fish species. There will also be an opportunity to investigate various aquatic habitat and water quality measures to assess river health. If you like to fish, this class may even help you catch more fish! Students should bring waders if they have them.
A Taste of Basque Culture
July 24 & 25, 2013 by John Bieter
This workshop introduces students to one of Idaho’s most distinct cultures–the Basques. With samplings of history, music, dance, food and language, this workshop will place the Basques within an Idaho and global context.