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Joshua Tree National Park

Parks Can Provide Great Viewing Platforms For Night Sky Events Like A Super Moon

Parks, especially those in locations with minimal night sky distractions from artificial light, can be great locations for observing—and photographing—celestial events such as Monday's so-called Super Moon. A number of parks offer special night sky programs, but your opportunities to enjoy those out-of-the-world scenes aren't limited to organized events. As the photo accompanying this story confirms, the right locale and timing can provide a chance for a super photo.

Creature Feature: Western Banded Gecko

The Western Banded Gecko, or Coleonyx variegatus, is no stranger to beating the heat. Their nocturnal lifestyle is ideal for the sizzling desert climate. You are more likely to encounter them on a night stroll under the stars than in the mid-day sun. Though many confuse the Western Banded Gecko with young Gila monsters, they are much smaller and lack venomous characteristics.

Research Finds Vegetation In National Parks Moving In Response To Changing Climate

It long has been expected that as the climate warms, vegetation would react by moving. Both north in latitude, and up in elevation. Now new research confirms that "because of the combination of climate change and habitat loss, up to one-quarter of the total area of the National Park System is vulnerable to vegetation shifting up slope and northward."

Annual Butterfly Count Nets New Species at Joshua Tree National Park

Each Spring, a group of dedicated volunteers and park staff members conduct an annual butterfly count at Joshua Tree National Park to catalog species found inside the park. The park's wilderness areas offer many such opportunities for ongoing scientific discovery, and this year's effort yielded an exciting surprise: a new butterfly species for the park.

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