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Experience Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa


river upstream


dirt road


Imagine an isolated ancient floodplain on the Colorado Plateau, surrounded by towering redrock cliffs. The sound of the river, carving its age-old course through solid rock, dominates the canyon. Birds and wind occasionally join the chorus. Here, mule deer browse the bottomlands, wild turkeys roost in the cottonwood trees, and lizards dart about the leaf litter. Among the desert scrub, original homestead structures and paleolithic sites bear traces of a rich human history, stretched over five millenia. On the walls above, layers of ancient sedimentary rock expose deeper histories–more than 200 million years of environmental change on Earth. In this place, you can immerse yourself in the cultural, ecological, and geologic wonders of southern Utah. 

Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa is a multi-disciplinary, modern outdoor laboratory for research, education, and retreat. Students and scholars of science, art, engineering, architecture, and the humanities gather here to pose important questions about what it means to live on the Colorado Plateau. Together, they help us build a more sustainable future for the region's many inhabitants. Get a taste of the field station by exploring the sights, sounds, and histories below.


original homestead
Human History
black bear
Natural History
slick rock
bend in the dolores river
song sparrow
Sounds of Rio Mesa
sego lily flower
Species of the Week
banding station
Blog: Field Reflections


Last Updated: 2/1/24