Tortoise Tales: Newsletter of the Hi-Desert Nature Museum
Australian Aboriginal Art
Australian Aboriginal Art
Art & Culture Wednesdays
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

July 11: Germany
July 25: Australia
August 8: Japan
Dinosaur Skull 
Science Saturdays 
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.
July 14: Paleontology
July 28: Biochemistry/Human Body
August 11: Rocks & Minerals

11:00 - 11:30 a.m., FREE Admission
No pre-registration required
Fear Lecture 
Brown Bag Lunch Lecture
Have you ever experienced acrophobia? If you have a fear of heights then you certainly have.  Crystal Mason, Museum Educator, will present a lecture on fear.  She will explain the biological reaction in the brain that causes a fear response, how an individual can be conditioned to feel fear and how you can fight your fears.  She will also describe some of the most common fears and some of the odder fears like xanthophobia.  

Thursday, July 12, 12:00 Noon
Free admission and iced tea will be served
Click here for a full schedule of upcoming Brown Bag Lunch Lectures
Mission San Antonio de Padua 
"Preservation of California Missions and the Affects on Native Californians"
Brown Bag Lunch Lecture
While preserving the missions and Spanish history for new residents in Southern California in the 1880s, early promoters often de-emphasized the experiences of Native Californians in these institutions.  Within this construct, Native people tended to exist as quickly vanishing shadows of the region's past.  During this lecture Michelle Lorimer, PhD candidate at UCR, will examine the construction of an idealized and romanticized Spanish mission history in Southern California and its impact on understandings and misunderstandings of Native Californians. 

Thursday, July 26, 12:00 Noon
Free admission and iced tea will be served
Cold-Blooded in the Mojave
Temporary Exhibition

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 through September 15
Youth Commission 2011-2012
2011-2012 Youth Commissioners
Youth Commission 
The Town of Yucca Valley is currently recruiting to fill seats on its 2012-2013 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 two "Teen Connection" videos, held a middle school forum, and designed a new Social Host Ordinance brochure. 
Application Deadline Tuesday, September 4
Click here for an electronic copy of the Youth Commission application.  Hard copies are available at Town Hall, Community Services office and the Hi-Desert Nature Museum.

Visit the Yucca Valley Youth Commission page on Facebook
Australian Aborigine
An Aboriginal Man Stands in Front of Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory
Australia - the Land Down Under - is a diverse country with vast deserts, tropical reefs, rain forests, mountains, and unique plant and animal life.

Did You Know?
* There are 1500 species of Australian spiders and 6000 species of flies.
* Australia has the largest population of wild dromedary (one hump) camels.
* Australia has the world's largest cattle station (ranch) which is almost the size of Belgium.
* Australia is home to more than 100 species of unique marsupials; mammals that carry their young in a pouch.
* The Tasmanian devil is a carnivorous marsupial with the jaw strength of a crocodile.
* The Great Barrier Reef has a mailbox which you can get to by ferry.
* The Australian Alps, also known as the Snowy Mountains, receive more snow than Switzerland.
* Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
* There are an estimated 40 million kangaroos in Australia.  Their meat is high in protein and low in fat.
* Scientists believe that indigenous Aborginal people have inhabited Australia for 50,000 years.
* Australia has only 23 million people, but 100 million sheep.
* Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and used as a penal colony where convicted criminals were transported from 1788 through 1848.  Today Australia is considered one of the safest places in the world.
* The Australian lyrebird is considered the world's best imitator, mimicing even the sounds of chainsaws and cameras.  Click here to view a BBC wildlife segment on the lyrebird with David Attenborough.  
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. 
View the museum's You Tube video!
For more information on our programs and events contact the museum at (760) 369-7212 or visit our website at
To view a full schedule of Yucca Valley events, sports programs and recreation classes visit the Town's website at