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2020 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award Winner Named

Press Release

JTNPA - Date:

Minerva Hoyt

Minerva Hoyt | Photo by NPS | Public Domain | Source

Twentynine Palms, CA, July 29, 2021 -

The Joshua Tree National Park Association is pleased to announce Dr. Cameron Barrows from the University of California, Riverside’s Center for Conservation Biology as the 2020 Minerva Hoyt Conservation Award recipient.

The purpose of this award is to recognize individuals or organizations that have made notable achievements in the areas of leadership, protection, preservation, research, education, and stewardship leading to a significant and lasting contribution on behalf of the deserts of California. The program date and location are yet to be determined.

Dr. Barrow’s body of research, academic and community courses, guided hikes, public lectures, advisory committees, and expert panels combine to make him the perfect candidate for this award. He embodies all four of the criteria categories. He spends most of his waking hours working to preserve and protect the California deserts. Through his research, teaching, advocacy, and leadership, he has opened the eyes and hearts of thousands of residents and visitors to the beauty of the region and the importance of protecting it for the many species who call it home. His demonstrated commitment to conservation in our desert region goes back decades, starting in 1986 as Regional Manager and Director of the Coachella Valley Preserve, up to today in his role as Assistant Research Ecologist for the Center for Conservation Biology, University of California Riverside.

Dr. Barrows’ work addresses conservation challenges throughout the Coachella Valley, High Desert, and local mountain regions. His research on the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata) was critical to developing the first habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the Coachella Valley, which is still in effect today and serves as a model for communities throughout the world. He was the lead researcher on numerous research studies in addition to his work on the fringe-toed lizard. He is a willing and enthusiastic collaborator in his research, working alongside other university researchers regularly. He also pulls in students and community members to assist in gathering research data. Some of Dr. Barrows’ most notable research contributions include his work on the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan; DRECP – Independent Science Advisory Panel; climate change effects on flora and fauna of JTNP; and invasive species (tamarisk, Sahara mustard). In JTNP, funded under multiple grants, Dr. Barrows and JTNP staff studied the implications of climate change for the park’s desert tortoises and other selected reptiles and for the distribution of plant communities and invasive plants within the park.

Dr. Barrows has been teaching and lecturing on conservation issues for three decades. He has taught for The Living Desert, College of the Desert, California Science Teachers Association, and multiple other regional organizations. In 2018, UCR Palm Desert launched their first UC California Naturalist program, with Dr. Barrows serving as the lead instructor. He has produced over 50 peer-reviewed technical journal articles, authored five peer-reviewed book chapters, and has been cited by more than 50 authors. It is difficult to determine the number of students he has taught throughout the years, but conservatively, it is easily more than 5000.

We are honored to recognize Dr. Cameron Barrows as the 2020 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award winner.

Previous recipients of Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award are:

  • 2004 Susan Luckie Reilly
  • 2005 Larry & Donna Charpied
  • 2006 David Myers and The Wildlands Conservancy
  • 2007 John Wohlmuth and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments
  • 2008 Mark Jorgenson, Superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • 2009 United States Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • 2010 Owens Valley Committee
  • 2011 Elden E. Hughes
  • 2012 Steven L. & Ruth Rieman
  • 2013 Dee & Betty Zeller
  • 2014 Terry Weiner and The Desert Protective Council
  • 2015 Nancy Karl
  • 2016 Cindy Zacks
  • 2017 Pat Flanagan
  • 2018 Robin Kobaly
  • 2019 David Lamfrom


Jacqueline Guevara - JTNPA - (760) 361-9359

Joshua Tree National Park Association is is a non-profit partner of Joshua Tree National Park. For more information, please contact us by email at or by calling us at (760) 367-5525