Desert Institute Instructors
|MISHA ASKREN is an outings leader for the Sierra Club and is an instructor in the Wilderness Travel Course. He leads trips that are “off-trail” in the wilderness in the Sierras, the San Gabriels and in Joshua Tree.|
|ROBIN BALCH, is a Desert Institute “lead” volunteer. She has hiked several portions of the Pacific Coast Trail and has been a Forest Service Fire Lookout. Her hiking and camping skills make her a great co-instructor for the Women’s “Get-Away” Weekend.|
|DON CHAMBERS has been hiking, climbing and taking pictures in Joshua Tree and throughout the west for 45 years. His early interest in the outdoors led him to an MS in Geography. He was a naturalist in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest for the USFS, taught geology of the National Parks at Valley College and Cal Poly, and for the last 36 years has been the manager of consulting services at ESRI.|
|Kristin H. Berry, Ph.D. is Supervisory Research Wildlife Biologist at the Western Ecological Research Center of the United States Geological Survey, and current board member of the Desert Tortoise Council. Dr. Berry has published over fifty scientific journal articles about desert tortoises, as well as numerous technical reports, magazine articles and books. She has organized and instructed a great variety of scientific symposia and workshops, and made research presentations to many different professional groups such as the Desert Tortoise Council.|
|Brian Scott Campbell currently lives and works in Joshua Tree, California. He received a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, NJ. Dutton Gallery recently presented the artist’s first solo show in New York in 2016. He has been included in exhibitions at Fredericks & Freiser, NY; Asya Geisberg Gallery, NY; Jeff Bailey Gallery, NY; Metropolitan Art Society, Beirut, (Curated by Suzanne Geiss Co. NY); Zevitas Marcus, Los Angeles; David Shelton Gallery, TX; David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen; and Untitled, Miami Beach, among others.
|David Chappell, Ph.D., Astronomy, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy, University of La Verne, has taught astronomy and physics since 2000. Chappell’s research interests include star formation, galaxy evolution, and computational astrophysics. His interest in archaeo-astronomy has led him to study in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, the Shetland Islands, and the Kingdom of Tonga.
|Jeanette Clough’s collection, Flourish, was published in 2014 by Tebot Bach. She is also author of Island (Red Hen Press) and Cantatas (Tebot Bach), both of which include poems emerging from time spent in and around Joshua Tree National Park. Her poetry appears in the Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Atlanta Review, Pool, and other journals and anthologies. Clough is an art researcher, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and in 2012 she was Artist in Residence at Joshua Tree National Park.|
|CHRISTIAN DELICH is a National Park Service Ranger who spends his “off time” crawling around the famed Wonderland of Rocks while honing skills as an amateur geologist.
|Caryn Davidson completed her yoga teacher training at the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, CA. The philosophy of White Lotus is to draw from the deep traditions of yoga while remaining non-dogmatic and open to the influences of the different contexts in which yoga is practiced. Caryn is also an NPS Ranger at Joshua Tree National Park.
|PAUL DELEY obtained his Ph.D. in Invertebrate Zoology at Ghent University, Belgium in 1994 and moved to Riverside in 2000 to join the Department of Nematology at UCR as a faculty member. His research focuses on ecology, diversity and systematics of nematodes in arid ecosystems, using methods that combine light microscopy observations with DNA sequence analyses. His current teaching duties include annual upper division undergraduate courses at UCR on the subjects of Invertebrate Zoology and Biology of Nematodes, and his past teaching also included subjects such as Soil Ecology, Arthropod Diversity, and Theoretical Systematics. He is an avid nature photographer with particular interest in macro photography as a tool for exploring biodiversity of southern Californian deserts and ranges.
|PAUL DELANEY, Ph.D. is a tenured professor of biology at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree. He is the USFWS-authorized tortoise biologist for the CMC translocation area, and has been monitoring the tortoise population at the 85 acre preserve on campus since 2007. A field biologist since 1977, Delaney has conducted zoological research in California, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and published over two dozen scientific papers.
|CRAIG FUCILE, B.A., Physical Geography, teaches photography for University of California, Riverside Extension. A longtime instructor, Fucile has taught numerous photography workshops in western landscapes that he enjoys photographing including: Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Eastern Mojave, Owens Valley, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Anza-Borrego, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia. He received the Fall 2010 Instructor Excellence Award from UC Riverside Extension and the 2007 Distinguished Instructor Award from UC Irvine Extension.|
|MONICA GORMAN holds a Ph.D in Biology and a J.D. She has spent most of the last 20 years teaching a wide range of biology courses at colleges in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, although she took time off from teaching to earn her J.D., work as a biotechnology patent lawyer, and travel. She moved to Joshua Tree in 2011 and currently teaches at Los Angeles City College, the Twentynine Palms Marine Base, and College of the Desert. She is an avid desert enthusiast and spends most of her free time exploring and hiking in Joshua Tree National Park.|
|ALAN HALCON is nationally recognized in the wilderness survival community. His experience spans more than 20 years and has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and books. In addition he was a field editor for the now defunct “Wilderness Way,” a magazine specializing in outdoor self-reliance and wilderness living skills. Alan is a nationally certified wilderness first-aid instructor and has traveled the U.S. teaching wilderness survival and self-reliance.
|DE KARLEN is a naturalist, hiking and desert guide with Desert Adventures. Previously, she worked as an Interpretive Park Ranger in Yosemite National Park so she truly enjoys sharing her knowledge about the wonders and processes of our natural world.|
|Pam Kersey, EdD, MSN, RN has worked for many years as a nurse and also as an educator and educational administrator. She enjoys the outdoors and has volunteered as a camp nurse, is a volunteer archaeological site steward in Joshua Tree National Park and the Cleveland National Forest and also volunteers for the Desert Institute. She has camped, backpacked, and hiked for many years including summits over 14,000 feet 5 times. She has taught a hiking class for women, and has enjoyed training others how to appreciate camping and hiking.|
|Kathi Klopfenstein has been making pine needle baskets for 20 years. Her pine needle basketry has won awards at the San Bernardino County Fair, Del Mar Fair, and California State Fair and has been exhibited at numerous venues in southern California. Kathi is a member of Chaparral Artists, Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, Misti Washington Gourd and Basket Guild, Los Angeles Basketry Guild, Bay Area Basketmakers, and Columbia Basin Basketry Guild.|
|Kerry Knudsen is the Curator of Lichens for the UC Riverside Herbarium. Kerry, a recognized expert in the study of Lichen in California, not only oversees and adds to the lichen collection at UCR Herbarium, but is also a principal contributor of lichen data to the Plant Atlas Project based at the San Diego Museum of Natural History. Kerry is currently working on the Lichen Flora of Southern California as well as the genus Acarospora for the Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region.|
|TOR LACY, M.S., Geology, is a tenured instructor at Cerritos College teaching Physical Geology, Introduction to Earth Science, Geology of the Western National Parks and Monuments, Natural History of Southern California and Field Methods of the Earth Sciences.|
|EDWARD LARUE, JR., M.S. specializes in California desert biota as field investigator and scientist for Circle Mountain Biological Consultants, Inc. In 2005 he authored the Copper Mountain College Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), and in 2008, he implemented the federal and state permits for the HCP. In 2007 he organized and coordinated a multi-agency effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), California Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service (JTNP), BLM and San Bernardino County to establish a tortoise conservation area in the Morongo Basin. LaRue has received numerous awards for his conservation work with desert tortoises.|
|KURT LEUSCHNER, M.S., Wildlife Ecology, Professor of Natural Resources, College of the Desert. Leuschner’s specialties include ornithology, entomology, and desert ecology. He has led hundreds of field trips both locally and as far afield as Africa. He teaches natural history courses for the Bureau of Land Management, UCR Extension, the Desert Institute, the Living Desert, California State Parks, Riverside County Parks, and many other conservation organizations
|JIM LOWERY is a nationally known tracker and author of The Tracker’s Field Guide. He has taught tracking to thousands of
students, including many special trainings for field biologists, universities, naturalists, and park rangers. Some of his specialized
field workshops have focused on tracking individual species including bighorn sheep, badgers, mountain lions, elk and black bears.
|DIANE McCLARY graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington with a major in teaching and art and studied with the well-known impressionist artist Sergei Bongart. Her paintings are distinguished by her unique use of color. She has taught workshops nationally, in Washington, California, and Florida, as well as demonstrated for various art groups. She has had solo shows in the Northwest and has exhibited at the Frye Art Museum and the Clymer Museum in Washington, as well as in Palm Desert, California. Her studio and gallery is located in La Quinta, California.|
|DANIEL McCARTHY, M.S., Anthropology, has worked at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and throughout Southern California compiling photographic inventories of the rock art of this region. He is the Director of the Cultural Resources Management Department with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. His research interests include desert archaeology, aboriginal trail systems, and rock art.|
|DENNIS MAMMANA, M.S., Astronomy, has delivered the wonder and mystery of the cosmos to audiences for over three decades. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist with Creators Syndicate and author of six books on popular astronomy, Mammana is also an accomplished night sky photographer and invited member of TWAN—an international team of the most highly acclaimed sky photographers on the planet.|
|JIM NATAL is the Pushcart Prize-nominated author of 52 Views: The Haibun Variations, Memory and Rain, and two previous poetry collections. His work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. The co-founder of indie publisher Conflux Press, he directs The Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College in Prescott, AZ.|
|RALPH NORDSTROM has had several careers in education, along the way teaching the full gamut from pre-school to adult, and handicapped to gifted. Branching into photographic workshops was a very natural path for him. His philosophy on workshops is simple: They are successful when the attendees return home with a few great photographs and feeling that they have expanded what he likes to call their “Creative Vocabulary”, that is, their ability to express themselves through their photography.
|ROBERT PELLENBARG, Ph.D., Professor of Geology, College of the Desert, Palm Desert, CA. Dr. Pellenbarg spent twenty five years as a research chemist with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He currently teaches Earth Sciences, Geology, Chemistry and Oceanography at the College of the Desert.|
|NICOLE PIETRASIAK received her Ph.D. in the Soil and Water Program at UC Riverside. Currently she is a post-doctoral fellow at New Mexico University. Her research interests include soil science, botany, algal biodiversity, and desert ecology. Ms. Pietrasiak has conducted extensive research on cryptobiotic crusts across the western U.S. and has made major contributions to the study of abundance, distribution, and diversity of cryptobiotic crusts at Joshua Tree National Park.|
|KEVIN POWELL was intrigued at an early age by the quiet complexity of this desert playground. Local author and photographer, Kevin Powell has spent forty four years hiking, rock climbing, photographing and exploring within Joshua Tree National Park. His first book, Classic Day Hikes of Joshua Tree Park will be available this fall.|
|TED REEVES, B.A., Geology, taught sciences at Chaffey High School for 37 years. He is presently teaching for University of the Pacific and believes that a relevant Natural History class requires an outdoor experience. In 2000, he received the National Association of Geology Teachers Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award.|
|JOHN SCAHILL, M.F.A., Illustration. Art has always had a great influence on John’s life. He draws, paints, and creates any chance he gets. John earned a BFA with honors in illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After a brief stay at Norton Simon museum John gave teaching a try in a private art studio. He fell in love with it and has taught Beginning Drawing, Watercolor/ Mixed Media, and Painting 1 & 2 at Mount San Jacinto College. As a freelance illustrator the artist has earned an MFA through the Academy of Art in San Francisco.|
|TOM SCANLAN is a telecommunications professional and a part time college educator. He loves the outdoors and has 10 years of experience as a Boy Scout leader. As a hiking enthusiast he has climbed Mount Whitney twice. He has taught others of all ages how to backpack, camp and hike. Tom is an active volunteer Archaeological site steward for the Joshua Tree National Park and the Cleveland National Forest and for the Desert Institute.|
|Allan Schoenherr, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Ecology, Fullerton College, is an expert on California flora and fauna, as exemplified by two major books he has authored, A Natural History of California and A Natural History of the Islands of California. Schoenherr has been doing research, traveling, and photographing the southwestern desert for many years. In addition to teaching ecology at several universities, he has led many field courses throughout the deserts of California.|
|SCOTT SCHWARTZ started taking photographs while in college in New York during the 1980’s. Since moving to California in 1989, Scott’s work, along with his articles, appeared in printed magazines such as Flight Journal, In Flight USA, Four Wheel Drive and SUV, the on line magazine Desert USA, his blog (elpasomountains.blogspot.com), and his own website pavementescapees.com.|
||DIANA SHAY-DIEHL, M.Ed., has over 25 years of teaching experience from kindergarten to graduate level college education courses. Her love of using photography to capture the nuances of life has been a life-long adventure beginning with formal training in black and white film processing and continuing into digital work that uses alternative printing methods, such as cyanotypes, platinum, palladium, and digital film negative and polaroid transfers, all learned and practiced in Italy, all over California, and the Pacific Northwest.|
|JIM SMART developed an interest in photography some fifty years ago when he took a high school course and made a pinhole camera, shot with a Speed Graflex, and took surfing photographs in Hermosa Beach with a 35mm Pentax. Jim teaches university courses in Communication Studies and English, including basic and college-level English courses, journalism, journalistic photography and online journalism. www.jimsmartphotography.com|