Robbie Bond came running across our lobby earlier this year, excited to describe his first ever night camping in the high desert. His stopover in the Mojave Trails was part of an amazing tour he was doing with his Dad to promote the 27 national monuments threatened with federal cutbacks. Like a lot of kids his age, Robbie had never visited the desert before. Never woken up to a sunrise over the Cadiz dunes. He left determined to share that experience with others.
The tricolored blackbird population has steeply declined in recent decades. Stinging nettles grown by the Mojave Desert Land Trust could help turn that around. One of the goals of our nursery is to restore habitats throughout the region by growing native plants. In the summer of 2017, the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) was contracted to grow plants for a restoration project at Pleitito Creek in Wind Wolves Preserve. That’s right — a riparian habitat, not our usual desert fare!
What a thrilling 24 hours! We are pleased to announce that our Juniper Canyon Give BIG 2017 fundraising day on November 28th was an enormous success. Together we raised a total of $29,355 — nearly three times the amount we were hoping for! Our supporters earned MDLT a place in the top ten of all 102 participating Give BIG organizations in San Bernardino County for funds raised as well as number of donors. Not only is ours the biggest county in the US, but its residents also clearly care about enhancing their public land.
The desert is never saved, it’s always being saved.” A conservation phrase I have come to live by. Ten years ago, a group of local desert citizens committed itself to protecting the landscape in which they lived from enormous environmental challenges. They recognized the vast, nuanced, and ecological importance of the desert. The Mojave Desert Land Trust was born in the desert by those who understand it best. The Board of Directors is a group that has included, and continues to include, these founding visionaries, dedicated local residents and people from outside this area who care deeply about the protection of this place.
Danielle Segura is working on a huge collage using her artist background. She is heading to the ‘studio’ everyday, putting together pieces of the Mojave Desert and preserving wildlife corridors. Open lands is her mission and that of her team at the Mojave Desert Land Trust. It’s a unique land trust that conserves public lands, has a varied outreach program, as well as a conservation seed bank and native plant restoration nursery. In this episode, Danielle talks about her first desert experience with her father and how any small role we can play to speak up for the things we care about can make a difference.
A public review period is underway for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on future land use in the new Countywide Plan. This is a chance for everyone to comment on and present environmental information that you believe should be considered in the EIR. Land needs to be preserved parcel-by-parcel and anyone with a passion for our wildlife linkages, open space and national monuments can show up and let county officials know conservation is a priority.
This week was a double-whammy for our national monuments. First, a bill targeting the monuments was sent to the House floor for debate. Then, a move to make the monuments review more transparent was rejected. On October 11th a bill was passed by the House Committee on Natural Resources. H.R. 3990, or the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act,” aims to reduce new monuments to a maximum of 85,000 acres, eliminating the inclusion of “vast landscape domains.”
Look at the usual map of a national park and it seems to be an oasis of completely protected land. But within some of these incredible spaces, there is still privately-owned land. Managing the borders of these private parcels is a huge job for parks.
Georgia O’Keefe’s groundbreaking depictions of the desert in the 1930s made the art world sit up and take notice of the potential of this landscape. Today, the desert is attracting a growing number of artists from all disciplines. So much so, that there’s even an annual conference in San Bernardino County devoted to harnessing that creative output.
Trying to make sense of the national monument review process is like trying to avoid stepping on a scorpion in the dark.