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New Web Site!
Visit the Hi-Desert Nature Museum's newly designed web site.  It's got a new look and is easier to navigate.  We've even begun a blog!  Museum Supervisor Lynne Richardson will be discussing her research into the upcoming exhibit, "Eye of the Beholder: Beauty and Culture."  Check out her thoughts and findings as she delves into the human search for beauty and how far we will go to achieve our ideal.
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Keep up with the museum's events, programs and exhibitions on Facebook.
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African Elephants  
Elephants are separated into two genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas (Asian elephants) and Loxodonata (African elephants).  African elephants are distinguished from Asian elephants in several ways, such as African elephants have larger ears and a concave back.  Elephants are a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures and are famed for their memory and intelligence, which is thought to be equal to that of dolphins and primates. 
Did You Know?
* Elephants are the largest land animal now living, with a gestation period of 22 months. At birth a calf can weigh as much as 250 lbs.
* Elephants typically live for 50 to 70 years.  
* Elephants live in a structured social order.  The females spend their lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts, led by the eldest female, or matriarch.  Adult males live mostly solitary lives.
* Elephants have greeting ceremonies when one returns to the group, and they grieve for the loss of another elephant.
* Elephants have an exceptional sense of hearing.  Receptors are not only in their ears, but also in their trunks that are sensitive to vibrations, and their feet, which have special receptors for low frequency sound.
* Elephants make a number of sounds when communicating.  They are famous for their trumpet calls but they also growl, bellow, moan, and roar. 
* Elephants are herbivores and spend up to 16 hours a day eating plants.
* Elephants were used to help clean up tornado debris in Joplin, Missouri.
* In Asian elephants only males have tusks, but both males and females of African elephants have tusks.  Elephants are hunted and poached for their ivory tusks.

Tortoise Tales: Newsletter of the

Hi-Desert Nature Museum 

Art & Culture Wednesdays
Rock ArtArt and Culture Wednesdays occur twice a month during the summer at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum and provide unique opportunities for kids to explore a variety of fascinating subjects through hands-on activities led by experienced staff. 

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
June 15: Native American
Rock Art
June 29: Heraldry and 
Medieval Knights
July 13: Ancient Egypt & Hieroglyphics
$2 per student paid at the door, no pre-registration required 
Science Saturdays
VolcanoJoin us for days of discovery during Science Saturdays!  These programs will ignite your children's curiosity by presenting information and performing experiments relating to biological and physical sciences.  All programs will be facilitated by our Museum Educator.  It is recommended that children be of school age for this program.  

11:00 - 11:30 a.m.
June 11: Plate Tectonics
Learn about the theory of continental drift and how the movement of the earth's crust has created various landforms, such as volcanoes and mountains.
June 25: Meteorology
Uncover the mysteries of the atmosphere and its phenomena including how we forecast the weather.
FREE and no pre-registration required
High and Dry: Photography by Paul Martini
Lava TubeTour our newest temporary exhibit, "High and Dry: Photography by Paul Martini."  This exhibit features stunning photographs by Paul Martini, a contemporary nature photographer whose images depict both the unspoiled beauty of our desert, in addition to capturing humanity's presence and impact on the landscape.  Paul Martini's photography incorporates fascinating contrasts of light and shadow, working in both color and black/white mediums.  He presents day and night photographs, the night images featuring the use of various forms of artificial lighting.  Many of the works were photographed in Joshua Tree National Park. (Lava Tube shown here)  

Meet the Photographer!  An opening reception will be held on Friday, June 10, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.  Paul Martini will be available to greet visitors and discuss his work. 
Free to the public and refreshments will be served 
On Display June 11 through September 4
Brown Bag Lunch Lecture
"Stepping Into Yucca Valley...Build it
and They Will Come" 
Water Canyon Historic Photo
If you live in California's beautiful Morongo Basin you might know your address, but there is a good chance you don't know where you live.  The Morongo Basin stretches through the Mojave Desert and might look like a suburban desert today, but 100 years ago it was quite a different place.  Back then we had Indians, cowboys, prospectors, homesteaders, and cattle rustlers.  According to some people we even had a few visitors from outer space. Local Historian Barbara Harris will provide you with a fascinating look at stories and photos that will take you back in time. 

Thursday, June 23, starting at Noon
FREE to the public, and iced tea will be served
1st Wednesday Program
Bottle House of Morongo Valley and 
Jackrabbit Shacks
Norma Mackie will present a short lecture on Mrs. Stedman's bottle house and homestead in Morongo Valley followed by Kim Stringfellow who will discuss Jackrabbit Homestead.  CabinJackrabbit Homestead is a published book, photographic exhibit, and web-based multimedia presentation featuring a downloadable car audio tour exploring the cultural legacy of the Small Tract Act in Southern California's Morongo Basin region near Joshua Tree National Park.  Stories from this under-represented regional history are told through the voices of local residents, historians, and area artists - many of whom reside in reclaimed historic cabins and use the structures as inspiration for their creative work. 

Wednesday, July 6, starting at 5:30 p.m.
$5 donation to the MBHS at the door

Visit the Museum

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is located in the Yucca Valley Community Center Complex at 57116 Twentynine Palms Highway.  The museum is open Tuesday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is operated by the Town of Yucca Valley. 


For more information on our programs and events contact the Hi-Desert Nature Museum at (760) 369-7212 or see our web site at www.hidesertnaturemuseum.org 


To view a full schedule of Yucca Valley events, sports programs and recreation classes visit the Town's web site at www.yucca-valley.org