Bringing Nature to our Community

The Desert Institute’s community outreach program brings cutting edge presentations on the cultural history, natural science and the arts pertaining to Joshua Tree National Park to the Morongo Basin and the Coachella Valley with various partners.

The Desert Institute partners include Joshua Tree National Park, the Twentynine Palms Historical Society,  the Palm Springs Public Library, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Instute, Palm Desert.

Programs Offered:

Old School House Lectures – Twentynine Palms

Palm Spring Public Library Lectures – Palm Springs

The Desert Institute has two more free lectures:

October 5  Ethics of Nature Photography  The thirst for wildlife photography only seems to be growing. As result, it is important to educate photographers on wildlife photography ethics. This requirement is only made stronger by the fact that many photographers differ in their beliefs of what is ethical and what is not. The key here is to ensure that veterans of wildlife photography take it upon themselves to promote and lead the way in wildlife photography ethics. This will help instill a true sense of care and responsibility in a younger generation of photographers. Damaging habitats and putting species at risk means only one thing. We as wildlife photographers will have fewer opportunities to capture images of the animals that we love. And we are sure that there isn’t a photographer out there that wants that to happen. Come join Steve Berardi in a discussion on Ethics of Nature Photography.


November 13  Landscapes for the People:  George Grant, First Chief Photographer of the National Park Service. George Alexander Grant is an unknown elder in the field of American landscape photography. Just as they regarded the work of his contemporaries–Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, and others–, millions of people viewed Grant’s photographs; unlike those contemporaries, few even knew Grant’s name. Landscapes for the People shares his story through his remarkable images and a compelling biography profiling patience, perseverance, dedication, and an unsurpassed love of the natural and historic places that Americans chose to preserve. A Pennsylvania native, Grant was introduced to the parks during the summer of 1922 and resolved to make parks work and photography his life. Seven years later, he received his dream job and spent the next quarter century visiting the four corners of the country to produce images in more than one hundred national parks, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, and other locations. He was there to visually document the dramatic expansion of the National Park Service during the New Deal, including the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Grant’s images are the work of a master craftsman. His practiced eye for composition and exposure and his patience to capture subjects in their finest light are comparable to those of his more widely known contemporaries. Nearly fifty years after his death, it is fitting that George Grant’s photography be introduced to a new generation of Americans wild nature – that wilderness which has always been our home.Join Ren and Holly Davis, authors, in this presentation.