By Chris Shinar, Mojave Desert Land Trust volunteer
I moved here a few years ago to experience the natural beauty of the Mojave Desert… the wildlife, the Joshua trees and the scenery. When an opportunity to help preserve these beautiful lands appeared, I became a Mojave Desert Land Trust volunteer and Community Lands Ranger.
I have a 680-acre parcel of gorgeous land that I am privileged to monitor. It has some heavily used areas, and some quite isolated areas. I love to run the trails and view nature in all its splendor, and help others to enjoy it as well. I help others understand why restrictions on pets and some off-trail activities exist, and how they can help us preserve this land and its wildlife.
A little removal of wind-blown trash, and some graffiti repair helps to maintain this pristine environment of this parcel. When wet weather displaces some of the trail markings, I am pleased to help replace those as well. I also report any unusual activity of which MDLT should be aware.
I also feel fortunate to be able to attend MDLT educational events, such as the “campfire talks.” There I learn about the flora and fauna of the desert, and the deleterious effects of invasive species, such as ravens and others, on our fragile ecosystem.
A couple of times per year, I do a photographic survey of the entire parcel, to validate that the land is being maintained according to the agreement by which it was acquired by the Land Trust. This is the most fulfilling part of my land monitoring. My parcel is one of those that is in the process of being transferred to the National Park Service, and I like to think that I am doing my little part to help the wondrous environment continue for generations.
It is my hope that with volunteers’ help, MDLT can continue in its mission to keep our desert protected from all outside harm.
Interested in becoming a Community Lands Ranger or volunteering for MDLT? Go to our website or email Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Holland: firstname.lastname@example.org.