I had the awesome opportunity to see the work that Sam does in the desert of Nevada! People always wonder what he does exactly and here we have a part of it, folks! There's a solar project going on here in part of the Mojave Desert that is expected to supply energy to California and Sam is an environmental scientist/biologist for a company that is on the project to make sure construction complies with environmental codes, etc. AND what is most awesome - they are protecting the highly endangered Desert Tortoise.
There's a lot of construction and activity going on at the site that could potentially harm the tortoises (and they have put up fencing around the site), so Sam's company relocates them to a safe habitat. What they did is removed all of the tortoises on-site before construction began, checked their health, stuck trackers on their shells (which doesn't harm the tortoises) and relocated them to a site that is also in the Mojave Desert (their natural home) where they were introduced to a tortoise burrow (their new home) and they are free again. Sam's company is still legally responsible for the tortoise's well-being so they track the tortoises and check up on them regularly to make sure they are healthy and well.
Yesterday I got to see the whole process! They found a tiny baby tortoise the week before on a road near the construction site and saved him. I got to see the whole shebang: they put a tracker on the baby tortoise, relocated him to a burrow, and then I got to track all of the others with Sam the rest of the day. It was SO much fun to find these tortoises that they saved and relocated two years ago; just chillin in the middle of the desert, eating or sleeping under a bush. I wasn't allowed to touch any of them by law (only certain people are licensed to handle them), but it was really awesome to see them up close. They are SO cute!
We also had a really nice picnic lunch in the middle of the desert with a beautiful view. About a month ago we decided to watch the movie, The Lunchbox, and we really loved the lunchbox that was used in the movie, so we bought one! It's called a Tiffin and it's a stackable steel lunchbox that lets you separate your food into different compartments and instead of having to put food into plastic bags first you just put whatever you are bringing directly into the four bowls, stack them and then seal them together with the clasp. It might not look big, but you can fit more food in it than you need to eat in one sitting. Sam and I had chicken and steak strips, pita bread, garlic, grapes and cheese in our tiffin. It was the perfect lunch, perfect size, perfect for carrying around in a backpack. Really, a Tiffin is a pretty genius invention. We found ours on Amazon, it was the cheapest we could find: 3-Tier Stainless Steel Tiffin - 1 - Container . Seriously, they are super fun to use and really convenient.
Read more about the solar project here.