The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens announced Monday the opening of an exhibit featuring a variety of desert plants, some of which will be used for regional habitat restoration projects.

The Desert Plant Conservation Center, announced during National Public Gardens Week, features seedlings and mature plants, and is a “Plant Rescue Center,” as designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Plant conservation is an important pillar of the Living Desert’s mission and we are proud to showcase our efforts at this new center. Through the preservation and propagation of native plants we can further our work of desert conservation from the ground up,” said Dr. James Danoff-Burg, the zoo’s director of conservation. “Learning about the relationship between desert plants and animals is critical to helping the public understand the importance of conservation and their role to play.”

Some of the exhibit’s offerings will be put to use in habitat restoration projects, including the desert pupfish habitat at Salt Creek, located near the Salton Sea. The center will also propagate other plant species to be used for creating native habitats for animals living at the Living Desert.

The Desert Plant Conservation Center is open to the public, and is situated on the zoo’s 80-acre campus, located at 47900 Portola Ave. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mandatory facial coverings, advanced reservation requirements and other COVID-19 protocols remain in effect.

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