LAS VEGAS ( KLAS ) – While the east coast relies on the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil to see if winter weather is coming or going, we have our own Spring Prognosticator in southern Nevada!

It’s the desert tortoise Mojave Max!

On Good Day Las Vegas this morning, Nate Tannenbaum talked with Audrie Locke from the Clark County Desert Conservation Program about how desert tortoises sleep through the winter, only waking THEMSELVES up when spring-like weather is here to stay.

For more than 20 years Nate has been part of the Mojave Max Education Program, impacting tens of thousands of students with conservation messages aimed at preserving the dwindling desert tortoise population. Every year Clark County partners with the Get Outdoors Nevada program and The Springs Preserve to take a one-hour assembly program to a couple of dozen elementary schools.

The assemblies include conversations about the Mojave Max “Emergence Contest.”

Any elementary student in Clark County can enter by registering their guess as to the exact date and time that they think Max will “emerge” from his burrow at The Springs Preserve. The winning student gets t-shirts and olympic-style medals for everyone in their class, as well as a pizza-party field trip to meet the real Max.

The Mojave Max program also awards laptop computers to the winning student and their teacher.

Learn more – and enter the contest – by clicking – – – > HERE.