September 2013
Tortoise Tales Newsletter
 Barker Dam September 2013
Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park after the recent rains.

On Display September 19, 2013 through January 19, 2014


The Hi-Desert Water District invites you to attend an exciting exhibition that encourages visitors of all ages to learn about the process of providing water to this arid region. This exhibit includes interactive displays for children and adults about the water cycle and its value to human life. There are various informational displays comprised of the history of the first settlers of the area (Warren's Well), major projects that ensure the stability and quality of water to this region, and the importance of water conservation.


Opening Reception on Thursday, September 19 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.. 
Open to the public, no admission.

Curators Lecture - September 26



Director Sarann Graham, Hi-Desert Water District


During the past 50 years, the Hi-Desert Water District has reached many milestones, dealt with different challenges, and worked diligently at securing water for future generations in our local desert. Before water reaches Yucca Valley customers it has to undergo a variety of processes to make it safe.

The lecture start at 12:00 noon.

Admission is $ 5 - Free for Members - beverages will be served.


Join us for days of discovery during Science Saturdays!  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.

11:00 - 11:30 a.m

FREE and no pre-registration required

September 21 - Paleontology


 Paleontology is more than just the study of dinosaurs; it is the study of ancient life. To learn about the mysteries of the ancient past paleontologists use fossils. These fossils can uncover the mysteries about living things that occurred thousands, millions, and even billions of years ago. Join Museum Educator Crystal Mason for a journey through our ancient world.



October 12 - Spiders


Even though many people experience arachnophobia, spiders are actually marvelous creatures.  Some people think spiders are insects but they actually belong to the class Arachnida. The scientific name is derived from the Greek word for spider, Arachne, which commemorates the name of a legendary Greek maiden who challenged the goddess Athena's spinning ability and was turned into a spider for her audacity. Almost all spiders can spin silk from the moment they are born. Thus far, scientists have identified at least seven different types of spider silk, each used for a specific purpose. Learn more about spiders and their silk spinning skills during Science Saturday.  

MBHS Presents

Wednesday, October 9




null John Stillwell, maker of Native American style flutes, will discuss his craft.

Navajo rug collector, John Yonushonis, will join Stillwell in playing Native American music.


The Morongo Basin Historical Society's program of community interest presented at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum on the 2nd Wednesday of every month beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Please join us - membership not required.

$5.00 donation at the door

Yucca Valley Walking Club

Walkers The Yucca Valley Walking Club provides an organized program to assist participants in     establishing a walking routine by providing pre-measured walking routes, monitoring member progress, and incentives for reaching the 100 mile goal. Registered participants will walk, following the provided routes or choosing their own, and keep track of their miles on their walking log. Progress can be reported to the Community Services Department where it will be displayed and updated weekly. Participants will receive a Club t-shirt with the one-time registration fee and those who walk 100 miles will receive a free 100 mile t-shirt.


Date:      Ongoing Enrollment Cost:$15

Location: Pre-measured routes are provided or participants can create their own



Walking Club Group Walk

Join our Recreation Staff for a club Group Walk around Old Town Yucca Valley. Meet other club members and learn tips on walking techniques, shoes, and gear.

Date:     Saturday, October 5                           Time:     9:00 a.m.

Cost:     Free                                                     Meet at Ma Rouge Coffee House


Red Spotted Toad at Barker Dam in JTNP
Chinch Weed
Fringed Amaranth
After the recent rainstorms that hit the Morongo Basin over the last weeks the desert is changing its colors. Yellow patches of Chinch Weed have appeared in places. This cute little plant only blooms after summer rains and smells slightly like dill - give it a sniff.
Slightly less attractive at first the Fringed Amaranth seems to appear everywhere. Don't ignore this slender plant, get your magnifying glass and give the tiny flowers a close look - you'll be amazed.
Not only are the plants out and about, but the animals are also taking a break from the drought. Now is a good time to come across a tortoise or a snake taking a drink in a puddle. If you get a chance make a trip to Joshua Tree National Park and check out Barker Dam. Everything is just hopping with life - literally! The Red-Spotted Toads emerge from hiding and little toads hop around by the hundreds.
Enjoy our beautiful desert!
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 Thursday - 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