Magazine offers view of desert life as seen by young desert poets

For immediate release
September 19, 2022
Contact: Jessica Dacey, Director of Communications
Phone: 760-820-2275. Email: [email protected]

Magazine offers view of desert life as seen by young desert poets

Joshua Tree, CA – The work of nearly 100 young artists and writers based in the California desert has been published in a new magazine. Moving poetry and fascinating artwork provide insights into their experience living and growing up in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts.

The Autumn 2022 edition of the Cholla Needles: Young Writers and Artists magazine features work by a homeschooled student, an 8th grader, and 5th grade pupils from Yucca Valley and Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

The magazine opens with three pieces by Kennedy Knight, a 1st grade homeschooled student whose work is also on show in New York’s Children’s Museum of the Arts in a permanent collection featuring pieces by over 2,000 young people around the world. “I feel famous,” says Kennedy about appearing in the new magazine. Mother Jillian Knight says: “As her mom, I love the support and encouragement we feel. To feel seen for her talents is incredible for her spirit, drive, and confidence.”

Beauty and the Joshua tree
At first I painted it
And then it fell.
It made a beautiful piece of art.
The way it fell,
It wasn’t beautiful.
It was awesome and beautiful.
Kennedy Knight, 1st grade, homeschool

Themes in the magazine include flora and fauna, heat, beauty, the earth, the ocean, and recreating outdoors. It is the seventh edition of the magazine.

Being told he was a poet at the age of 9 was a defining moment for Rich Soos, the director of Cholla Needles. His work was first published when he was in the 4th grade. “That made me who I am today,” he says. “People write about what they know. It’s natural.”

The pieces were created as part of the Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Desert Discovery Field Studies curriculum, an immersive program that helps students become inspired advocates of the desert. The magazine was published by Joshua Tree-based nonprofit Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library in partnership with the Mojave Desert Land Trust.

“The artwork and poetry in this magazine are inspiring, no matter your age,” says Mary Cook-Rhyne, Education Program Manager at the Mojave Desert Land Trust. “The pieces touch on themes of life in the desert and show the variety of the students’ expression, excitement, and understanding about this ecosystem. It’s a great example of one of our Desert Discovery Field Studies STEAM lessons and we are grateful to Yucca Valley and Cesar Chavez Elementary Schools for their support.”

Copies of the magazine are available for collection from the Mojave Desert Land Trust headquarters in Joshua Tree, Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley, Raven’s Bookstore in 29 Palms, and online at

The Mojave Desert Land Trust created the Desert Discovery Field Studies program as a way of providing students from desert communities with a creative and innovative way of boosting their understanding of the environment and learning about desert ecology and conservation. These experiential learning labs focus on important environmental themes while providing a chance for students to safely explore and learn as citizen scientists. Desert Discovery Field Studies is supported in part by the Anderson Children’s Foundation and the Society for Science.

Cholla Needles publishes a monthly literary magazine and books by local and visiting writers who love the desert. Submissions are welcome by sending an email to [email protected]

Note to editors:

A digital version of the magazine and more examples of the poems and artwork can be downloaded here.

Example 1.

Protect the Earth
The earth is a beautiful planet with lots of land and water.
We must protect the earth because it takes care of us, but we don’t.
Our earth is dying because of us, but we can save it.
Stop littering and start recycling for our animals and earth.
Help earth.
– Jazmin C, 5th Grade, Coachella Valley Elementary School


Example 2.

We saw the birds, we saw the trees.
I see the life and everything.
I feel the rocks.
I feel the flowers.
I feel the tracks.
I hear the birds chirping.
I hear the leaves fall.
I hear the snakes rattling.
I hear the crow say cah cah.
I smell the flowers.
I smell the leaves.
I smell those nasty owl pellets.
Joseph Paulino, 5th grade, Yucca Valley Elementary School

The Mojave Desert Land Trust  is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to protect and care for lands with natural, scenic, and cultural value within the Mojave Desert. Since its founding in 2006 the land trust has conserved over 100,000 acres. The land trust established a seed bank to ensure the preservation of native species and operates an onsite nursery to propagate native species for ecosystem restoration. MDLT educates and advocates for the conservation of the desert, involving hundreds of volunteers in our work. For more information, visit