Rain Blankenship

My research is looking at the role aeolian dust deposition plays in supplying both soil and nutrients to the local flora of the San Jacinto Peak. Now, beyond any scientific basis, this peak is a site of particular importance to the local Cahuilla (Iviatam) and Serrano (Maarengat) tribes. Stories and songs are told of this peak, which in Serrano is called ‘Aiyakaich’ (“the gathering mountain”). In the Cahuilla creation story, this mountain is home of the spirit and man known as Tahquitz. Growing up in the shadow of this mountain, and hearing stories and songs of it, it is truly a special experience to conduct research on a site of both cultural and personal relevance to me. As a scientist, I hope the findings of my research will allow us to better constrain the ecosystem dynamics of this storied site.