Spiny Lizard

Tortoise Tales: Newsletter of the

Hi-Desert Nature Museum

Cold-Blooded in the Mojave
Gopher Snake
Temporary Exhibit
Our desert is teeming with plant and animal life that has adapted to the harsh environment, and reptiles are almost everywhere.  We share our desert with these fascinating creatures but we often overlook them, and many of us know very little about them.  This exhibit will help you discover the world of reptiles - and get ready to be surprised by these amazing cold-blooded animals.
On display June 9 through September 15 
Curator's Lecture, Thursday, June 28, at Noon, FREE!
In conjunction with this exhibit, museum biologist Stefanie Ritter will give an entertaining and informative talk about the world of reptiles.
In This Issue
Temporary Exhibit
Museum Video
Landers Earthquake
Invasive Plants Lecture
Science Saturdays
Art & Culture Wednesdays
Support the Museum
Gecko Gift Shop
Reptile Fun Facts
Click here to view the museum's You Tube video! It's an entertaining 3 1/2 minutes and highlights the museum and local attractions.
A Look Back at the 1992 Landers Earthquake
Landers Fault LineShift Happens
Many local residents still remember the 7.3 magnitude earthquake epicentered in Landers on June 28, 1992, making it the largest earthquake to have occurred in the contiguous United States for 40 years.  Sally McGill, Professor of Geology at Cal State San Bernardino, will present a 20 year retrospective of this major geologic event.  In cooperation with other geologists, she spent three weeks mapping the surface ruptures associated with the Landers earthquake.  Following her presentation, David Stewart, from Off the Grid Survival Supply Store, will educate the audience about emergency preparedness.  This commemorative presentation was organized by the Morongo Basin Historical Society in partnership with the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. 
Wednesday, June 13, in the Yucca Room of the Community Center
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. with scrapbooks and displays available to view
Program begins at 5:45 p.m., light refreshments will be served
$5 donation to the MBHS at the door

Escaped and on the Loose:

Invasive Plants in the Morongo Basin

Hold the MustardBrown Bag Lunch Lecture
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum kicks off our Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series with a fascinating talk on invasive plant species.  Katie Kain, Invasive Plant Technician for Joshua Tree National Park, will present an overview of what makes plants invasive, why certain non-native plants thrive in our desert environment, and problems invasive plants bring to the Morongo Basin.  She will also discuss what to do if you have invasive species on your property and options for purchasing native plants, including collecting native seeds and common propagation methods.  
Thursday, June 14, 12:00 Noon
FREE Admission and iced tea will be served  
Science Saturdays
Tiger IllusionWay Cool Science!
This series of programs is designed to ignite curiosity by presenting information and performing experiments relating to biological and physical sciences.  It is recommended that children be of school age for this program.
June 9 : Optical Illusions
An optical illusion is where images we see differ from actual reality.  While many people view optical illusions as a type of "magic" they are really just the response of our brains.  Join us as Museum Educator Crystal Mason displays different types of optical illusions and reveals the mysteries behind them.  
June 23: Light and Color
Light and color are examples of energy we see around us every day.  Bending light warps images and allows us to see the world in a different way.  Also, bending light helped Isaac Newton discover that sunlight contains all the colors of the rainbow.  During this colorful Science Saturday children will learn how we can warp the energy of light.
11:00 - 11:30 a.m., FREE Admission, no pre-registration required

Art & Culture Wednesdays

Day of the Dead Painting
Mexico: Day  of the Dead

International Adventures!

Art & Culture Wednesdays provide unique opportunities for kids to explore other countries through hands-on activities led by experienced staff. 
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. , $2 per student
Pay at the door, no pre-registration required
June 27: Mexico
July 11: Germany
July 25: Australia
August 8: Japan
Support the Museum 
Brick Unveiling
Brick Unveiling
Become a Member or Buy a Brick
The museum has two active 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 purchase a copper plaque to mount at 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 website.

Gecko Gift Shop 

Tula Ranch HatYour purchase helps support the HDNM's programs!

If you are looking for unique gift items come to the Gecko Gift Shop.  We carry a variety of desert-themed novelties, books, apparel, and souvenirs.  The gift shop also offers a selection of educational toys and games and beautiful jewelry and art created by local artists.
We recently received an inventory of Tula hats.  Before you head out for a day in the sun stop by and check them out!
Remember...Museum Members get a 10% discount!
Did You Know?
* There are more than 8,200 species of reptiles in the world, inhabiting every continent except Antarctica.
* Reptiles are called cold-blooded because they can't regulate their own body temperature. Their body temperature is dependent on the external temperature.
* Reptiles have scales or plates that cover their body, and are cool and dry to the touch. This thick covering resists abrasion, limits dehydration and protects like a suit of armor.
* Snakes smell with their tongue, flicking their tongues in the air to capture scent particles.
* Crocodiles/alligators, tortoises/turtles, lizards, snakes and tuataras are reptiles.
* Tuataras are only found in New Zealand and are called "living fossils" as they are the only survivor of an ancient group of reptiles that roamed the earth at the same time as the dinosaurs 225 million years ago.
* Geckos can climb up smooth surfaces, even glass, and hang upside down on the ceiling. Their feet are covered with millions of microscopic branched hairs, which interact at a molecular level with the surface acting like millions of tiny magnets.
* Of the approximately 200 eggs laid by a female leatherback sea turtle an average of two will survive their youth and grow to sexual maturity.
* A crocodile's digestive juices are so strong that it can digest a steel nail.
* A chameleon's tongue is twice the length of its body, and its eyes can move in two separate directions at the same time.
* Geckos are unique among lizards in possessiong vocal cords and able to make sounds.
* In some reptile species the sex of the babies is determined by the temperature in which the eggs are incubated, which is called Temperature Dependent Sex Determination.
* The basilisk lizard can run across the surface of water without sinking.
Museum Logo
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 museum at (760) 369-7212 or visit our website at www.hidesertnaturemuseum.org
To view a full schedule of Yucca Valley events, sports programs and recreation classes visit the Town's website at www.yucca-valley.org