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Welcome to the Team Manatee Arid Desert, or the TMAD.

The Team Manatee Arid Desert is the enclosed front desert of the CCAG. It is meant to model the harsh conditions of the Mojave Desert, which extends through CA and AZ. The TMAD was built on August 29, 2023. Inside the TMAD, many native cacti thrive. The most evident is the Santarita prickly pear. Our plants were either bought or germinated from local seeds. In the spring, annual flowers take over the Team Manatee desert due to heavy rainfall. California Poppy and various daisies grow in the real deserts for a short period from April to May. Our TMAD, like the Mojave, has reached extremes, high and low. See them below.


October 4, 2023


On this day, the TMAD reached a blazing 129ºF. That's only 5 degrees away from the hottest temperature of all time, in Death Valley.

October 1, 2023



Deserts are relatively far away from the coast and below sea level. That means the humidity is fairly low. The CCAG is located in San Francisco, which is near the coast, but our desert habitat rarely gets watered, contributing to the low humidity.

December 30, 2023


The Desert reached a low of 34ºF a day after a massive storm. On that day, the air outside was humid, which condensed into air inside the TMAD, therefore making the temps about 10º colder inside than outside.

Let's Explore!

What Plants live here?

Annual wildflower blooms

Every April - May, the TMAD springs to life with wildflowers and annual plants such as desert chia, mallow, grass and wild clover. Here's a pic from the 2024 bloom.

Mini wildflower bloom in TMAD
joshua tree (1).jpeg

Joshua Tree

Joshua Trees are very slow growing. When a seed sprouts, it looks like a blade of grass. The seedling can stay like that for years before it grows another leaf. They grow at a rate of  1 inch per year. As climate change engulfs the desert, thousands of trees are burnt through wildfires. Many trees who experience fires can grow back, like redwoods and pines. But Joshua Trees (which aren't even trees) cannot. They require a small moth called the yucca moth to pollinate their flowers and therefore release their seeds. As climate change kills the moth, there are less seeds to germinate. Even though there are roughly 10 million Joshua Trees, they are protected by California State Law because of their extremely small growth rate and their disability to reproduce rapidly. Please consider growing a Joshua Tree of your own. Below are the steps

How we grow Joshuas at the TMAD

An iconic plant worth the wait

1. Get your seeds. Make sure they are sustainably sourced.

2. Discard any holey seeds. Those are eaten by the Yucca Moth larva.

3. Soak the black disk-like seeds in water for a day. That rejuvenate the seeds.

4. Get a large pot and put some soil in. From our experience at the CCAG, they do not like to be transplanted. The soil should not be rich; Joshuas actually prefer bad soil. Scoop some up from your backyard.

5.Put a tray underneath the pot, and fill it with an inch of water.

6. Place the pot in a well lit spot. If you bought the seeds from the kit, follow the instructions there instead.

7. The sprouts will germinate in 9-20 days! Good luck!

Tip: Don't grow the plant inside for long. If it lives to 4 feet tall or larger, plant it in a pot outside. Bring it in when the temps reach below 32ºF

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