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Tortoise Tales: Newsletter of the

Hi-Desert Nature Museum

Art & Culture Wednesday, Discover India! 
Indian Woman

Join us for the final Art & Culture Wednesday program of the summer when Museum Supervisor Lynne Richardson presents "Discover India."  India is a country many people find mysterious and complex.  During this program children will learn about India through pictures, music and a hands-on craft. 


Wednesday, August 17, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

$2 per student at the door, no pre-registration required

Science Saturdays 
Optical Illusion


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.  Programs are held twice a month from 11:00 - 11:30 a.m.


August 13: Human Body

August 27: Optical Illusions

FREE!  No pre-registration required

Brown Bag Lunch Lecture
"Spiders and Spider Silks"

Spider WebSpiders are unparalleled in the natural world by the many types of silks they spin.  In this lecture, Cheryl Hayashi, from U.C. Riverside, will introduce the basic biology of spider silk and share recent research on the genetics and biomechanics of silk.  Despite their gossamer appearance, spider silks have incredible mechanical properties, which rank them among the strongest and toughest materials known.  The study of spiders is leading to the development of multiple silk-inspired biomaterials for human use. 


Thursday, August 11, starting at Noon

Admission is FREE and beverages will be served 

Brown Bag Lunch Lecture
"The San Andreas Fault and the Great California ShakeOut"San Andreas Fault

Kathleen Springer, Senior Curator in Geological Sciences at the San Bernardino County Museum, will illustrate in her lecture that our region straddles the mother of all faults, the mighty San Andreas Fault.  This giant gash that slices through California is the boundary between two of the largest tectonic plates on the planet, which in turn makes our area one of the most geologically active regions in North America!  The ShakeOut scenario, a hypothetical earthquake designed by scientists to show what will happen when a major earthquake strikes Southern California, is intended to raise earthquake awareness and to motivate preparedness as well as participation in the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" drill that will occur at 10:20 a.m. on October 20, 2011, the day of the great California ShakeOut, a statewide annual drill - the largest earthquake drill in the United States. 


Thursday, August 25, starting at Noon

Admission is FREE and beverages will be served 

Art Tours Collective Show 

Hwy 62 Art ToursAs part of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council's HWY 62 Art Tours 2011, and in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Tours, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum is pleased to host the Art Tours Collective Show.  This dynamic exhibition will feature the artwork of many artists participating in the Open Studio Tours being held October 22-23 and October 29-30.  The HWY 62 Art Tours encompass all of the arts of the Morongo Basin during this two weekend celebration showcasing music, performance and honoring the best in visual arts.  The Open Studio Tours allows the visitor to experience working studios and purchase original art directly from the artists. 


Exhibit Opening Reception Friday,

September 9, 4:30 - 7:00 p.m.

FREE to the Public



On Display September 10 through November 5

1st Wednesday Program
"Embracing a New Lifestyle in the Desert: Elizabeth and William Campbell, and their Contributions to the Vocation of Archaeology"

Pinto Point

Elizabeth and William Campbell were among the first to homestead in 29 Palms in the mid-1920s, and they quickly became leading members of the growing community.  Betty and Bill not only embraced their new lifestyle, but excelled in their chosen avocation, archaeology.  Betty, especially, made great contributions to the understanding of prehistory in the deserts of southern California and western Nevada, in addition to being a woman in a male-dominated field, and one whose fierce determination, superb scholarship, and life-long dedication to the field of archaeology have made lasting impacts on our understanding of life in the desert before the written record.  John Hale, archaeologist for the 29 Palms Marine Base, will share interesting stories and insights into the Campbells during this fascinating lecture.


Wednesday, September 7, starting at 5:30 p.m.

$5 donation to the MBHS at the door 

Mark Your Calendars! Upcoming Events  

NASA Solar System


Saturday, October 1

Starry Nights Festival

1:00 - 10:00 p.m.


Saturday, October 15


Adventures in Archaeology

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Saturday, October 29

Halloween Spooktacular

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 


John Seely & the Ellora Caves of India

Ellora CavesThe exploits of famous explorers inspired John Seely, a captain in the Bombay Native Infantry, to set out in 1810 on a perilous 300-mile route to see the spectacular cave temples of Ellora in India.  He traveled through country overrun by bandits, through jungles infested with tigers, over mountain passes, across unbridgeable rivers in temperatures in the hundreds and under constant threat of hostile natives and malarial mosquitoes.  He documented his journey, providing us with fascinating insights into the people and places, the habits and customs, of an Indian way of life that existed during the British Raj.  For protection, Seely traveled with a cavalcade of servants, armed escorts, cattle, and drivers.  There are 34 temples carved into the mountain of Ellora - Buddhist, Hindu and Jain.  Seely wrote of the site:


"But to conceive for a moment a body of men, however numerous, with a spirit however invincible, and resources however great, attack a solid mountain of rock, in most parts 100 feet high, and excavating, by the slow process of the chisel...appears beyond belief, and the mind is bewildered in amazement."   

In This Issue
Art & Culture Wednesday
Science Saturdays
Spider Silks
San Andreas Fault
Art Tours Collective Show
1st Wednesday Program
Upcoming Events
Ellora Caves
Youth Commission
Support the Museum
India Fun Facts

Participate in the Town's Youth Commission!

Town of YV Logo

The Town of Yucca Valley is currently recruiting to fill seats on its 2011/2012 Youth Commission.  This youth led advocacy group enhances the quality of life for Yucca Valley teens by advising the Town Council and the public on issues relating to youth policies, programs and opportunities.  Last year  Commissioners assisted with Community Services Department special events, produced the "Teen Connection" video, held a middle school forum, and recommended a Social Host Ordinance and Smoke-Free Parks Ordinance to Town Council.


The deadline for submitting an application is Thursday, September 1st.


Click here for an electronic copy of the Youth Commission application.  Hard copies are available at Town Hall and the Community Services office.

Support the Museum!

Museum Logo
The museum has launched two fundraising campaigns to enable us to continue providing quality educational programs and exhibitions for residents and visitors.  Help preserve our local history, art, culture, and natural science by becoming a museum member, or buy a brick in the entry way of the museum with your personalized engraved inscription.  Information on these programs is available at the museum's reception desk or on our web site.

India Fun Facts

* India has not invaded another country in the last 10,000 years of history.
* India is the world's largest and oldest continuous civilization.
* Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.
* The world's first university was established in Takshashila, India, in 700 B.C.
* India is the only nation in the world with a Bill of Rights for cows, which are sacred in the country.
*The first bathrooms are said to have been built in India about 4,500 years ago.
* About half the residents of India are under 25 years of age.
* The number of births that occur in India each year is higher than the entire population of Australia.
* The art of navigation was born on the Sindh River 6,000 years ago.  The word navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word navgatih.
* Sushruta of India is the Father of Surgery.  2,600 years ago he and fellow scientists conducted complicated surgeries.
* India has health laughing clubs where people get together and laugh.
* India invented the number and decimal system.  Algebra, calculus and trigonometry come from India.
* The Indian film industry makes more movies each year than the United States, France, Italy, and China.

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 - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is free; donations support the educational mission of the museum.  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


To view a full schedule of Yucca Valley events, sports programs, and recreation classes

visit the Town's web site at