Discovering the Ancients:
An Overview of the Program

Discovering the Ancients is a project designed for students to gather information about desert plants to expand the data available for scientific evaluation, calculation, and speculation.

This exciting new educational research program includes new field tools to identify, measure, and estimate the ages of centuries-old native desert plants. Participants in this program will enter their field measurements online. Measurements, gathered from selected ancient native varieties of plants within the Park, include size, height, and estimated age.

This website allows students participating in this field study to enter data. The data may be viewed, however, by other students, educators, National Park staff, and research scientists. The data collected will enable researchers to better understand the secrets of these ancient desert inhabitants by documenting their growth rates over 24 years and better estimating their ages, growth rates, and life-spans.

Click on a link below to learn more about the Discovering the Ancients Program.



The SummerTree Institute is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, organized to provide new and refreshing viewpoints toward our environment, our place in it, and our responsibility to it.

The Institute works hard to embrace, learn from, and share the profound insights, knowledge, and wisdom of scientists, researchers, storytellers, shamans, artists, writers, children, and enlightened people who can help us in Making Environmental Education Irresistible.

Find out more about The SummerTree Institute. Visit our website at

A brief description of Joshua Tree National Park, including weblinks for the U.S. National Park Service site as well as other sites of interest regarding the park.

Official NPS Web site:
Joshua Tree National Park

When you go out in the desert and actually look at the plants, and I mean sit and look at them, you begin to see the diversity and complexity this land has to offer. When you walk next to the plants and rocks of the desert, you begin to feel connected to them, as your grandparents would have felt, if they had lived here. It is not a harsh place, if you slow down and listen.

Curt Sauer, Superintendent
Joshua Tree National Park