Tortoise Tales: Newsletter of the
Hi-Desert Nature Museum
March 2013
Elenin Comet
In This Issue
Yucca Valley's Got Talent
Spring Kids Crafts
YV Animal Shelter
Earth Day 2013
Winter Lecture
Teen Topics Forum
Science Saturdays
Art Auction & Exhibit
MBHS Presents
Albert Einstein
Yucca Valley Certainly has Talent!
  Claire Davidson
Hollywood producer/director Dan O'Dowd, who served as a judge for our recent Yucca Valley's Got Talent event, just completed a great music video of the first place winner, singer and music composer Claire Davidson. It's viewable on You Tube
Spring Kids Crafts
  Girl Doing Crafts 
Celebrate spring with an hour of fun-filled crafts for kids!  This event is FREE but pre-registration is required.  Space is limited so make sure you reserve your spot by signing up at the museum's reception desk, call the museum at (760) 369-7212 or click here to register online.
Saturday, March 23
11:00 a.m. to Noon 
Yucca Valley Animal Shelter  
Boots Maltese Mix
Boots, Maltese Mix, Adoptable Male
Looking for a new best friend?  Look no further than Yucca Valley's Animal Shelter where you can choose from a variety of adoptable dogs and cats.  The animal shelter also holds licensing and vaccination clinics.

Licensing & Vaccination Clinic
Thursday, March 21
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Yucca Valley Community Center

Click here to view a list of adoptable pets
  PanStarrs Comet
Two comets are expected to make a splash this year - PanSTARRS and Comet ISON.  Comet ISON will be shining brightly later this year, possibly glowing as bright as a full moon in November.  This month, Comet PanSTARRS should provide a nice warm-up act becoming visible in the northern hemisphere as early as March 7th.  March 12th and 13th will likely provide the best viewing opportunity as the comet lingers over the western horizon at dusk.  The comet will be viewable with the naked eye as it climbs higher in the sky throughout March but binoculars are always useful.  Comets are named for the astronomer or the observatory that discovered them, so the ISON Comet was discovered by the International Scientific Optical Network Observatory in Russia and PanSTARRS was found by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System telescope in Hawaii. 

Comets are balls of ice and dust.  As they approach the Sun, they heat up, and the ice begins to sublime - or change from ice into a gas.  When that happens, they develop a coma, a large envelope of gas and dust that surrounds the solid nucleus, and two tails, a dust tail and an ion tail that consists of gas molecules ionized by sunlight. Each of these tails may be over a million miles long.  It is because of the coma and tails that they become visible to the naked eye.  Some comets, including PanSTARRS, follow an orbit that begins in the very outer reaches of the solar system. As they pass by the planets, they receive a gravitational "kick" that propels them out of the solar system.  Others, like Halley's comet, have elliptical orbits, and return to the inner solar system again and again, although their orbits are sometimes so large that it takes hundreds or thousands of years for them to return. 
Earth Day 2013  Earth Day Girl
Conservation Fair
In honor of Earth Day, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum will celebrate the diversity of life on Earth with a day of activities that will inform, educate and entertain visitors.  Local experts will be on hand to provide demonstrations for turning waste into black gold for your garden, growing your own food, and recycling.  This family-oriented event includes kids' activities, face painting, live music, and dance.  There will also be a variety of vendor booths featuring local artists and environmental education resources.  This event is made possible through the generous support of the Town of Yucca Valley and the Mojave Desert & Mountain Recycling Authority.
Saturday, April 20, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
FREE Admission! 
Winter Lecture Series  Stream Orchid
Palms and Orchids, Flowers and Ferns - Plant Diversity in JTNP
To an outsider, the desert may seem like an endlessly monotonous landscape devoid of life.  However, most desert enthusiasts know Joshua Tree National Park is a melting pot of valleys, mountains, oases, washes, and bajadas.  Each of these habitats is host to a suite of unique and interesting plant life.  Join Mitzi Harding, from the Vegetation Branch at JTNP, in exploring the rich and diverse plant life the park has to offer; from palms and orchids to flowers and ferns.   
Thursday, March 14, starting at noon
FREE to the public and coffee will be served
Teen Topics Community Forum      2012-13 Youth Commission
Yucca Valley Youth Commission
Teens!  Have you ever wondered how you can get your voice heard in our community?  Join us for this public forum to discuss youth issues within our community.  Led by the Town's Youth Commission, the audience will be polled using wireless technology to gather public opinion on subjects such as:
*  Smoking in Town Parks
*  Skate Parks
*  Sidewalks and Bicycle Paths
Information will be presented on the Social Host Ordinance and how to have a safe and fun teen party.  An open mic period will be provided for audience members to voice thoughts and ideas on youth related topics.  Call (760) 369-7211 for additional information.
Teens and youth with their families are encouraged to attend.
Snacks will be served.  
Monday, March 18, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Yucca Room, Community Center Complex
No charge to attend
Science Saturdays  Language 
Way Cool Science!
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum brings hands-on learning and the thrill of scientific discovery to children with the popular "Science Saturdays" activities.  This series of science 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.  
March 9: Money
March 30: Language
April 13: Pollution & Recycling 
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 
Forever Flowers
"Forever Flowers" by
Michelle Page
Exhibit Silent Auction
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is holding a silent auction at the museum through April 20th.  This exciting fundraising event features 30 works of art made from recycled materials representing a wide range of styles created and donated by local artists.  Some highlights of the auction include a fascinating Styrofoam figure by Cathy Allen, a metal sculpture by Simi Dabah reminiscent of a spider, "Hi-Desert Treats" by actress Ann Magnuson, and a 6' tall flamingo sculpture by Troy Pence.  The artwork is currently on display at the museum and available for bidding.   
Click here to view the artwork online and make online bids.
All proceeds from the sale of the auction items will support the museum and its educational programs.  
MBHS Presents      Laptop Computer
Digital Media for Historic Preservation 
Jane Pojawa, MBHS's Social Media Director, will make a presentation regarding the use and application of free digital tools that may be used for historic preservation of all kinds. This is a very non-technical presentation that may be enjoyed and utilized by anyone - even novices.  The latest trends in digital media including FaceBook, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and a variety of Google products may be easily modified for historic preservation.  Everything from oral histories to photos and postcards, old newspapers and digital maps can be turned into online research resources - and usually for free! Using examples from the Morongo Basin and surrounding areas, Pojawa's presentation will leave all attendees with some inspiration and practical suggestions for preserving history - personal and community - with simple tools.  Digital media is an ever expanding time capsule you can share with the whole world.
Wednesday, March 13, starting at 5:30 p.m.
$5 donation to the MBHS at the door
Albert Einstein       Albert Einstein
E = mc2 
Albert Einstein was born in Germany on March 14, 1879. He was a theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (along with quantum mechanics). While best known for his mass-energy equivalence formula, which has been dubbed the world's most famous equation, he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.  He was visiting the U.S. when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, and did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences.  He helped alert President Roosevelt that Germany may be developing an atomic weapon, and recommended that the US begin similar research, which eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project.  Einstein supported the defense of the Allied forces, but largely denounced using nuclear fission as a weapon.  

Famous Einstein Quotes:
*  Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
*  The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
*  A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
*  We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
*  The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
*  Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
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
To view a full schedule of Yucca Valley events, sports programs and recreation classes visit the Town's website at