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Field Classes

Desert Institute

Desert Institute Class on South Astrodome

Desert Institute Fall 2021 Catalog

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Choosing a Field Class

The Desert Institute offers classes for adult learners in cultural history, natural science, survival skills, desert naturalist studies, women’s programs, citizen science, and creative arts. All programs are taught by expert instructors who provide a personal and enjoyable learning experience on these educational adventures.

Before registering, please take the time to review our General Class Info and download the Enrollment Attachments, that contain pertinent information about your class and Joshua Tree National Park. Please print and fill out the Participant Agreement. You can bring the completed form to the class.

If you are a member of JTNPA you will get a $10 discount off every Desert Institute class. If you are not a member you can become one here.

Eventbrite Registration & Schedule External Link

This season is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Visit 29 Palms. Check out to learn about all the great shops, restaurants, lodging and attractions in Twentynine Palms and start planning your visit.

Fall 2021

Wilderness Wellness

Date Class Instructor(s) Outline
October 22 - 24, 2021 CancelledCampingHiking My Feelings: Stepping into the Healing Power of Nature External Link PDF
November 19 - 21, 2021 CampingHiking My Feelings: Blaze your own trail to self-love: Tell your inner critic to take a hike External Link PDF
December 3 - 5, 2021 CampingHiking My Feelings: Using mindful movement to open the flow of creativity External Link PDF

"How-To" Courses

Date Class Instructor(s) Outline
September 20, 2021 “How-To” Identify Animal Burrows External Link PDF
November 6-7, 2021 CampingWomen’s “Get-Away” Weekend External Link PDF
November 13-14, 2021 CampingWilderness Cooking School: Campsite Cooking External Link PDF

Natural Science Courses

Date Class Instructor(s) Outline
September 26, 2021 CreditDesert Snakes: Mystery & Intrigue External Link PDF
September 28, October 2 - 3, 2021 NewCreditBirds of the Mojave External Link PDF
October 2, 2021 FREE!NewArchaeopalooza External Link
  • Dr. Brian Fagan
October 8 - 10, 2021 CreditInsects and Arthropods of the Morongo Basin External Link PDF
October 16 - 17, 2021 CreditCancelledDesert Invertebrates, Diversity Great and Small A Macro Photography and Microscopy Primer External Link PDF
October 19 and 23-24, 2021 CreditCampingBirds of Anza Borrego External Link PDF
October 23, 2021 Geology of Amboy Crater External Link PDF
November 5 - 6, 2021 CreditGeology: Creation of the Joshua Tree Landscape External Link PDF
November 20, 2021 Geology of the San Andreas Fault External Link PDF
December 4, 2021 Geology & Cultural History of Cottonwood Spring External Link PDF
January 7, 2022 CreditCampingGeology and Geomorphology of Death Valley External Link PDF

Cultural History Courses

Date Class Instructor(s) Outline
November 14, 2021 Contemporary Art of Joshua Tree External Link PDF

Guided Hikes in JTNP

Date Class Instructor(s) Outline
September 25, 2021 NewHike the Indian Trail Loop External Link PDF
October 30, 2021 NewHike the Covington Coaster External Link PDF
November 13, 2021 Summit Queen Mountain External Link PDF
December 11, 2021 NewHiking in the Shadow of Quail Mountain External Link PDF
December 18, 2021 NewHike the Boundary Lands External Link PDF

Creative Arts Courses

Date Class Instructor(s) Outline
September 4, 2021 Keys Ranch Nightscape Photography Workshop External Link PDF
September 24-26, 2021 Mastering Landscape Photography External Link PDF
October 9, 2021 Keys Ranch Nightscape Photography Workshop External Link PDF
October 16, 2021 Capturing Joshua Tree Landscapes with Acrylics Beginning to Intermediate Skill Levels External Link PDF
November 6, 2021 Photographing the Hi-Desert External Link PDF
November 19, 2021 Photographing Joshua Tree by Moonlight External Link PDF
December 4, 2021 Winter Light: Photographing Desert Preserves External Link PDF

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel, notify us at least seven days prior to the start of the course and we will process your request minus a $25 cancellation fee. No refunds, transfers, or credits will be granted if cancellation occurs within the seven day period. Please note that we cannot make any exceptions to this refund policy for any reason, including but not limited to medical reasons, illness, travel delays, personal situations, emergencies, or weather. This program depends on registration for its funding. While inconvenient, please understand that this policy enables us to sustain our programs even with last minute cancellations.


Label Description

An academic credit is available from University of California, Riverside Extension. Optional credit courses are marked by the green label. The number of units are listed with each class in the catalog. Credit fees are listed separately from non-credit fees in the catalog.


A brand new class that has been added to the current season.

New Format

A class that has been altered into a brand new format.


A class that has reached capacity. Any new registrations will be added to a waiting list.


A class that includes a camping option


A class that has been cancelled and will no longer take place