Anza-Borrego, CA

Site Leaders

Katie Swenson

Maggie Weaver

Type of Service


Site Partner(s)

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park staff



Departure Date


Return Date






Site Leader Description #1

Katie is a Fourth Year studying Foreign Affairs and Spanish. This will be her fourth ASB trip and she is so excited to lead it! You can usually catch her studying in Alderman or Shenandoah Joe’s; or hanging out with friends, hiking, exploring cville, traveling, or cheering on the UVA Men’s Basketball Team in her free time! Katie went on an ASB trip last year to Death Valley with Maggie, and they are excited to lead a trip together this year!

Site Leader Description #2

Maggie is a chaco-loving Fourth Year from the great state of NoVA. When she’s not in Clark studying English or Biology, she’s probably swimming, running, hiking, hanging out with friends, walking around C’Ville, eating banana chips, listening to crunchy music, or reading poetry and National Geographic. Her idol is Lucille Ball, her dream pet is a quokka, and her number one bucket list item is to visit all 61 National Parks. This is her third experience with ASB: she has been a participant on both the Guadalupe Mountains trip and the Death Valley trip (where she met Katie, whom she is really excited to lead with this spring!)

Trip Logistics

Our adventure begins Friday afternoon/evening, when we will drive to Northern Virginia and spend the night at Maggie’s house. The next morning we will get up early and fly into Palm Springs; after picking up our rental cars and going to the grocery store, we will drive about 2 hours to Anza-Borrego and set up camp. We will be staying in tents at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground near the visitor’s center for the week. Each day we will make breakfast, pack our lunches, and take turns making campfire/camp stove dinners. After a fun week of service, hiking, camping, and bonding, we will depart Anza-Borrego the following Saturday afternoon/evening and then arrive back in Charlottesville that night.

Participant Requirements

While no camping experience is required, each participant needs to at least have a desire to experience, explore, and (hopefully!) enjoy the outdoors for a week. We will be tent camping with little to no cell service in the area, and moreover may or may not have access to showers during our stay. Participants should also come with a willingness to learn, ask questions, reflect, and think critically about their experience. Finally, participants should be willing to “get down and get dirty” doing service! The work we will be doing for the park service will be physically challenging at times and we will be outdoors in the desert, so expect some hot temperatures and expect to be tired at the end of each day! However, with a great attitude, an eagerness to meet new people and learn new things about each other, and a willingness to try new things, the week will fly by and you’ll be sad to see it end!

Service Activities

Each service day will probably last from around 8 am to 3 or 4 pm, with the rest of the afternoon and evening free to do whatever we like. While our main service activity will likely be invasive species removal, we are there to help the park staff with any type of work they might need during our stay; participants should be flexible and adaptive to whatever our site contact needs help with.

Recreational Activities

We plan to explore the park as much as we can in our free time, by hiking after service, watching sunsets, and stargazing. The park rangers can also load us in their trucks and take us on tours of more remote areas of the park, and they have paleontology museum and archeology lab tours planned for us. Our schedule is also flexible, so we can go on a day trip to San Diego if the group wants to! Finally, when we are not trailblazing around the park or taking a potential city day trip, we plan to spend some time relaxing at the campsite doing some campfire chillin’ and maybe even playing some board games.

Community/Area Background

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is located in Southern California. The park is full of beautiful desert landscapes, as well as plenty of hikes and recreational activities. It is the largest state park in California! Anza-Borrego and its rangers can use all the help they can get from volunteers like us to help preserve the park and its wildlife.

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