On Saturday, Feb. 2, “Groundhog Day,” Southern Nevada will be embarking on the “Mojave Max Watch.”
Although the live Mojave Max is still in brumation (reptilian form of hibernation), the public is invited to visit the desert tortoise in its habitat at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Visitor’s Center and join the Mojave Max Watch between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. A special display has been set up where everyone can participate in predicting the time and date when Mojave Max will emerge from his burrow.
Media are also invited to attend the Mojave Max school assembly at Helen J. Stewart Elementary School, located at 2375 E. Viking Road near Sahara and Eastern avenues, on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. There, students will learn about Mojave Max, the desert and which factors to consider when making a guess as to when Max will emerge from his burrow.
While Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, is pulled from his burrow and asked if he sees his shadow, Mojave Max simply waits for the moment when the daylight and weather are just right before coming out from his burrow and proclaiming spring.
Like all desert tortoises, every fall when the hot Las Vegas weather cools off, Max goes into his burrow to begin brumation. He sleeps for five or six months and then emerges sometime in the spring, signaling the beginning of the season.
Clark County, along with its partners, hosts the annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, education programs and school assemblies in support of Mojave Desert environmental education. As part of the contest, students are encouraged to guess when Mojave Max will first exit his burrow each year. To enter the contest, you can log onto www.MojaveMax.com and click on the “contest” button.
The Clark County student who guesses closest to the actual time of Max’s emergence wins the contest for his or her classroom. The winning student receives his or her own computer, a computer for their classroom, T-shirts, a traveling trophy for their school and a pizza party and field trip to Red Rock National Conservation Area.
The Mojave Max Education Program is provided by a partnership among Clark County, the Clark County School District, the Bureau of Land Management and the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association.
For more information and to enter the Mojave Max Emergence Contest, visit www.mojavemax.com.
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 14th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 40 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 8th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.