Southern California and the Baja California Peninsula are linked together by more than a name. Nature knows no borders. Get to know more about our incredible neighbors in nature by visiting Expedition Bajaor by using any of the resources here.
Whether you’re a school teacher, an at-home learner, or just curious, you’ll find videos, field guides, activity sheets, and other resources to help you learn—whatever your educational needs. Our own researchers have been exploring and studying the region in tandem with scientists in Mexico for over a century, so we have a lot to share.
There's an endless amount to learn and explore about this region. See what subjects catch your interest and let's get started together.
From the archives of PROBEA—a past environmental education training program for teachers exploring the ecosystems and habitats of our binational region—you’ll find loads of Spanish-language curricula for grades K-6, grades 7-9, and grades 10+, as well as English-language curriculum for grades 7-9.
About the Seas
Explore the intersection of land and sea through our Ocean Oasis Field Guide and Teacher’s Guide. Discover plant and animal life or learn about plate tectonics. This retro-looking website was developed in 2000 but is still relevant today. You can also enjoy the original film in our giant screen theater.
Looking for some quick information about the Baja California Peninsula you can share? We've got you covered.
The Baja California Peninsula is approximately 775 miles long—almost the same length as the state of California. It separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California.
Politically, the peninsula is divided into separate two states: Baja California and Baja California Sur.
The entire peninsula is surrounded by more than 100 islands and islets. Almost all of them are uninhabited by people, but hundreds of unique plants and animals call them home. The gulf islands alone have nearly 900 species of fish, around 700 plant species, more than 150 types of birds and seabirds, and 115 reptile species.
It is estimated that a quarter of the plants and animals living on the Baja California Peninsula are endemic, meaning they can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.
The Baja California Peninsula contains a multitude of climates and ecosystems. You'll find dry deserts and coastal sand dunes, snow-covered pine forests, and lush, subtropical lowlands.
The deserts of central Baja California get real hot and real dry. The Vizcaíno Desert only gets two inches of rain per year on average. For comparison, San Diego gets about ten inches per year (which is still very little!).
Mexico has over 40 national parks, some of which are on the Baja California Peninsula.
You’ve heard of islands in the ocean, but what about in the sky? Sky islands are tall, isolated mountain ranges surrounded by dry lowlands. These mountains are isolated refuges for species that require cooler, wetter habitats and can't cross the deserts below.
San Diego County’s tallest mountains reach over 6,000 feet above sea level. The tallest peaks in Baja California are over 10,000 feet.
Are you a researcher? Just want to know what a scientific expedition entails? It’s hard to protect what we don’t understand, and so expeditions help scientists, land managers, and conservationists understand what's in an ecosystem, how it flourishes, or what's causing harm.
We're always discovering and learning. You can find out what we’ve been up to in the field or learn about our expeditions. Here are a few reports about these scientific excursions to the Baja California Peninsula. All reports are bilingual (in English and Spanish) e-readers, with plenty of full-page photography.
The Revillagigedo Archipelago (2017) The archipelago is found about 400-700 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. Home to a high level of species found nowhere else on the planet, it's a unique place for biodiversity. In 2017, a team of international scientists sought to document the wealth of life found here, discovering new species and incredible resilience along the way. Read the report
Sierra La Gata, Los Brasileros (2017-2018) In a region of mountainous “sky islands” isolated from one another by a “sea” of lowland desert thorn scrub, several areas are threatened by agricultural conversion, urban expansion, and tourism infrastructure. A binational, multidisciplinary study was launched to help support sustainable economic development and help conserve the region's unique biological heritage. Read the report
Sierra las Cacachilas (2013-2016) Together with colleagues from Mexico, The Nat's expedition team set out to understand the unique natural history of this region. The rugged, high elevation landscape could only be reached by foot or mule, and a lack of historical collections from the heart of the mountains made it difficult to inform conservation strategies. But together, this binational team made plenty of discoveries. Read the report
In The News
Science communications is an important and growing field in our information age. Students are asked to think critically about news stories or to write factual and eye-catching articles, headlines, and editorials. You can find some examples to explore topics in science journalism here. We also just have cool stories to share!
There's always more to explore and something new to learn. Our blog is always updated with tales from the field, or you can get the latest research and museum news in your inbox. Here you'll find our latest stories from the Baja California Peninsula.
After years of research, miles of field work, and countless hours poring over herbarium specimens and scientific publications, Curator of Botany Jon Rebman, Ph.D., has discovered seven cacti that are new to science. These newly named species, just published in the scientific journal Madroño: A Western American Journal of Botany, include six chollas and one species of prickly-pear, all endemic to the Baja California region. Read more. Read more.
By now, the Museum’s Atlas programs should be familiar to you. Years ago, we published the renowned San Diego County Bird Atlas, and we continue to work toward completion of the Plant Atlas and Mammal Atlas. We are proud to announce one more addition to these highly successful citizen science research projects, the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California.
You probably know us well for our exhibitions and public programs, but did you know we have an entire department of scientists who are actively involved in involved in research projects, environmental studies, expeditions to relatively unexplored areas within our binational region, and much more? A recent expedition to the Sierra Cacachilas in Baja California Sur sums up why these research projects are so important to science and future generations. Read more.
Over the decades, we’ve collaborated with many incredible organizations in the Baja California Peninsula. If you’d like to learn more about the peninsula's conservation organizations, wildlife, and scientific research, we invite you to check out some partners with fantastic resources of their own and whose work is featured here.
Terra Peninsular – A nonprofit founded in 2001 to protect Baja California’s wildlife, natural ecosystems, and the natural heritage of the region.
Fauna del Noroeste – Based in Ensenada, Baja California, and is committed to scientific research, restoration, land management, education, and collaboration.
Climate Kids – Mexico – A collaborative education program managed by Climate Science Alliance, empowering youth to make educated decisions about how to protect our planet.
Always More to Learn
And even more resources are coming soon, so be sure to check back throughout 2023.