Contact the Desert Institute

Address: Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Dr.
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-5535
(760) 367-5583


Volunteer at the Desert Institute

Volunteers are vitally important to the Desert Institute and Joshua Tree National Park Association. The Desert Institute offers you an opportunity to help provide quality adult education in Joshua Tree National Park or your local community. Volunteers serve as outdoor field class representatives, lecture series hosts, social media contributors, catalog and media distributors, and extreme hike assistants. There are no minimum time commitments for Desert Institute programs, so you can choose your area of interest and dates that fit your busy schedule! As an active volunteer you can enroll in one program per season free of charge. The Desert Institute offers comprehensive training for new and returning volunteers each year, which includes Red Cross First Aid and CPR certificates. 
“Volunteering with the Desert Institute is a fulfilling experience in many ways.”
— Claire Coignard

Suggest a Class

We invite naturalists, scientists, educators, writers and artists to submit proposals to teach adult seminars. Typical seminars are small, averaging 12 students, and last for 1-2 days. Classes are based out of our Visitor Centers or in the park, usually at campgrounds.

Seminars focus on natural science, cultural history, survival techniques and writing or visual arts workshops. Many of our classes are strongly academic and are offered for university credit through University of California, Riverside Extension.
Our programs emphasize hands-on discovery and stewardship of the Joshua Tree National Park. We encourage our program instructors to develop and teach courses that increase public understanding and appreciation of the Southwest desert’s unique natural and cultural history, as well as how human activities influence local landscapes.

Course proposals should include the following:

  • Name, address, email and telephone number(s)
  • Seminar title, description and a general itinerary, which includes course content and general objectives and goals for participants
  •  Preferred length and dates of class (please give us as many options as possible)
  •  Geographic area(s) in which you would like the seminar(s) to take place
  •  Resume (1-2 pages)
  • Short biographical sketch to be used in the catalog.

We accept proposals on an ongoing basis.  Please submit course proposals by April for the Fall season and October for the Spring season in order to be considered.

For more information, or to inquire about volunteering, please contact Kevin Wong, Desert Institute Program Coordinator, at 760 367-5539 or desertinstitute@