Tortoise Tales
Newsletter of the Hi-Desert Nature Museum 
Earth Day 2013
In This Issue
The museum's much anticipated Earth Day Fair will feature live music, dancing and vendors in a family-oriented atmosphere.  Over 20 local artists will be displaying jewelry, crafts and artwork inspired by our desert environment.  A face painter and kids' hands-on craft will be available for younger visitors.

Click here to view a full schedule of entertainment.
Saturday, April 20th, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
FREE Admission!
YVHS Eva Trimarchi
YVHS Art Show & Reception
This exhibition highlights the finest work of some of this community's rising talent from Yucca Valley High School.  The show displays a variety of compelling subjects in different mediums such as drawing and painting.  (Shown here, painting by Eva Trimarchi)

On Display April 30 through May 30
Opening Reception, Friday, May 3, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. 
FREE to the public
Tortoise Burrow
Science Saturdays: 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.  

11:00 - 11:30 a.m., FREE! No pre-registration required
April 27: Nose & Tongue
May 11: Animal Traces
May 25: Fear
Xbox 360
Arts & Crafts Show 
& Museum Fundraiser!
Shop for Mother's Day while you support the Hi-Desert Nature Museum! Three local merchants - Mom's Homemade Shipping, momTech, and Kim's Fabric Outlet - have organized an Arts & Crafts Show as a fundraiser for the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. The outdoor venue will be held at the hosting businesses at 57085 29 Palms Highway, across from Sizzler.  This fun-filled family event will include arts & crafts vendors, live music and dance, food, and kids' activities.  Join us for the museum's biggest fundraising event of the year! If you can't make it, but still want to show your support, click here to make an online donation, become a member, or participate in the Buy-a-Brick program.  

momTech will be holding their grand opening during the Arts & Crafts Show and have generously donated an Xbox 360, Windows laptop computer, and iPhone as door prizes.

Arts and Crafts Vendors!  If you are interested in a booth at the show please contact Kim at Kim's Fabric Outlet, (760) 369-3609

Saturday, May 11, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Giant Rock
MBHS Presents "The Legend of Giant Rock & the Integratron"
Barbara Harris will be giving a Powerpoint presentation sharing early folklore of Giant Rock, showing photos and providing documentation on Frank Critzer's German spy controversy.  She'll cover George Van Tassel's UFO Spacecraft Conventions and tell interesting stories from behind the scenes with historic photographs.  She'll also give the latest information on the Marine Base acquisition in Johnson Valley and how it affects Giant Rock.  There will be a model and photos on display, a short Q&A, and time for you to share your stories. Please bring YOUR old photos, articles and memorabilia to share. 

Wednesday, May 8, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
$5 donation to the MBHS at the door; Arrive early to reserve your seat 
Corn by Noreen Lawlor
"Corn" by Noreen Lawlor
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Silent Auction
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is holding a silent auction at the museum through Earth Day, 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, "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 and bid online 
All proceeds from the sale of the auction items will support the museum and its educational programs.
Earth Day Help
First Earth Day 
Earth Day, created to increase public awareness of the world's environmental problems, was first celebrated on April 22, 1970. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches and educational programs.  Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. According to Senator Nelson, "The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy, and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda." Earth Day did indeed increase environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation.  Today more than 200 million people in 141 countries participate in Earth Day celebrations. 
California Valley Quail
State Bird: California Valley Quail
California: Did You Know?
* Following James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma in 1848, California's population leaped from 14,000 to 250,000 in only four years.  Between 1850 and 1859, miners extracted more than 28 million ounces of gold.  
* California has the largest economy in the U.S. and, in 1997, was the first state to reach the trillion-dollar benchmark in gross state product. In 2012, California was ranked the ninth largest economy in the world.
* California grows more than 3.3 million tons of wine grapes on over 540,000 acres each year and produces roughly 90% of all U.S. wine.
* The highest and lowest points in the continental U.S. are located within 100 miles of one another in California: Mount Whitney measures 14,505 feet and Badwater Basin in Death Valley is 282 feet below sea level.
* Considered to be the hottest, driest place in the U.S., Death Valley often reaches temperatures of 120 degrees and higher during the summer and averages only around two inches of rain each year.
* With a trunk slightly greater than 102 feet in circumference, the General Sherman in Sequoia National Park is the largest living tree (by volume) in the world. It is estimated to be somewhere between 1,800 and 2,700 years old.
* Southern California has about 10,000 earthquakes each year, although only 15 to 20 of them have a magnitude greater than 4.0.
Picasso Painting
Pablo Picasso
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Pablo Picasso's death. During his lifetime he produced thousands of works, becoming one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. To this day he remains so popular that entire museums in Barcelona and Paris are devoted to his career, and his artwork can bring over $100 million at auction.  Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881, Picasso was a child prodigy who could supposedly draw before he could talk. As a teenager, he painted realistic portraits and landscapes. He then went through his blue and rose periods from 1901 to 1906.  In 1907 he painted "Le Demoiselles d'Avignon," considered one of his most revolutionary pieces which opened the door for Cubism, a style that reduces subjects to geometric forms. He co-founded Cubism in 1909 with Georges Braque.  Though best known for his painting, Picasso experimented with a number of different mediums including sculpture, ceramics, and printmaking.  By 1904 he had settled permanently in France, even remaining in Paris during WWII when the occupying Nazis barred him from showing his work.  Picasso started writing poetry in 1935, and authored two plays in the 1940s.  He was a prolific artist until the very end of his life. 

"I could draw like Raphael when I was young. But it has taken my whole life to learn to draw like a child." 
Quick Links
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