Press Release

Article: Desert communities celebrate

Article: Discover family connections

Article: Anniversary celebrations

Article: Involving Latino youth in preserving desert lands

Blog: Centennial celebration in Afton Canyon

Article: MDLT honors centennial



Saturday, October 1 – 10:00 am – 3:00 pm 

Desert Discovery Center, 831 Barstow Rd., Barstow, CA 92311

Open to the public.

Contact: Jane Laraman-Brockhurst, Desert Discover Center – (760) 252-6060 –

Discover the spirit and adventure of the Old Spanish Trail National Historic Trail, America’s first overland trading route between New Mexico and Los Angeles. Learn about the lives of famous travelers like Kit Carson, Antonio Armijo, Chief Walkara, and John C. Fremont; how they survived the trail’s daunting rivers, canyons, deserts and mountains.

Attendees will experience an 1800’s Living history encampment, mule packing & weaponry demonstrations, history presentations, Navajo Churro Sheep enclosure, and even desert animals. The day’s entertainment will include a Mariachi band, bluegrass music, folkloric dance, kids art projects, quick draw prizes & more, as well as Viola Basulto’s famous Cocina de Movida homemade New Mexican cooking.

Also take part in the Old Spanish Trail “Fun-Run” along the Desert Discovery Center Trail, sponsored by the Barstow Fire Dept.

Sponsored by the Desert Discovery Center Partnership, Rose Foundation & Old Spanish Trails Association Mojave River Chapter.


Sunday, October 2 – 8:00 am -10:00 am

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve parking lot – 11055 East Drive, Morongo Valley, CA

Attendance limited, please RSVP. FREE admission.

Contact: Seth Shteir, National Parks Conservation Association – 760-332-9776

Join lifelong bird nerd Seth Shteir to learn about the ecological importance of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. The Preserve is one of the ten largest willow and cottonwood riparian areas in the state, and an internationally recognized bird watching destination. The Canyon is an important pit stop for migrating birds seeking food, water and shelter, and an excellent habitat for resident species as well. 

Attendees will learn the basics of bird ecology, identification and conservation on this easy walk. Find out why birds are important in our ecosystems and to humans. Binoculars will be provided!


Saturday & Sunday, October 8-9, beginning at 10:00 am

Attendance limited, please RSVP. FREE admission.

Contact: Tanya Henderson, Amargosa Conservancy – (760) 852-4339 –

Afton Canyon is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon” of the Mojave Desert.  The use of off-road vehicles, cattle grazing and the introduction of non-native plants to the canyon led its designation as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in 1980. Through 12 years of restoration efforts, including the planting of over 10,000 native trees, the Mojave River’s condition improved and migratory birds returned to the canyon. Today, over 180 species of birds have been spotted in Afton Canyon. 

Amargosa Conservancy will host a group of 20 guests from Nuevo Comienzo Church to camp in the canyon, conduct bird surveys and map invasive tamarisk. Additional volunteers welcome; however, INTERESTED ATTENDEES MUST RSVP.


Saturday & Sunday, October 15-16

Program Contact: Monica Mahoney, Director of Education and Public Engagement, Mojave Desert Land Trust  – (760) 366-5440 –

Press Contact: Shauna Tucker, Creative Services & Media Advisor, Mojave Desert Land Trust – (760) 366-5440 –

Attendees will enjoy an overnight tour of significant cultural and biological treasures within the Mojave National Preserve and the Castle Mountains National Monument. The program celebrates the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial by gathering community leaders and members together for a journey to some of the most remote, newest and perhaps least understood NPS lands in the California Desert. 

Attendees will also learn about and celebrate the new California Desert National Monuments and MDLT’s role in achieving these protections. They will visit a Native American cultural site, enjoy a full moon interpretive program, and hike at the base of the newly protected Castle Mountains.

Sponsored by Mojave Desert Land Trust. Partners include the National Parks Service, the National Parks Conservation Association, Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association, the Native American Lands Conservancy, Hispanic Access Foundation and local community members.


Noon on Saturday, October 15 – Noon on Sunday, October 16

Joshua Tree National Park

Attendance limited, please RSVP. FREE admission.

Contact: Seth Shteir, National Parks Conservation Association – 760-332-9776

There’s no better way to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service than to pack your tent into the Joshua Tree National Park wilderness. Attendees will learn backpacking basics like safety and logistical planning, as well as the history, culture and nature that is so abundant in Joshua Tree National Park. 

Campers will hike between 3 and 5 miles each day over rough terrain with a heavy pack (approximately 30 pounds) and camp beneath the star-studded, pristine night skies away from civilization. Along the way they may spot wildlife, interesting desert plants and geologic formations. Participants will also learn about federally-designated wilderness and what they can do to protect the national parks for the next 100 years. The majority of equipment for this trip has been donated by an outdoor retailer.


Friday-Sunday, October 28-30

Open to the public. Park entrance fees apply.

Schedule of Events

The National Park Service, steward of Joshua Tree National Park and over 400 other park sites around the country, celebrated its 100th birthday in August, 2016. At Joshua Tree, we will continue our celebration of the NPS Centennial in October by bringing together astronomers, scientists, night-sky enthusiasts, artists, junior rangers, and members of nearby communities to celebrate the night skies of Joshua Tree National Park. This event is free of charge. Park entrance fees apply.

Bring a red light to events at night. No white lights. Find out more about what to bring.

Before arriving please read night sky viewing etiquette and advice. 

Learn more about why the National Park Service cares about protecting dark night skies.


Saturday, October 29

Whitewater Preserve, 9160 Whitewater Canyon Rd., Whitewater, CA 92282

Attendance by invitation only.

Contact: Jack Thompson, The Wildlands Conservancy – (760) 325-7222 –

The Wildlands Conservancy invites Hispanic community leaders from various organizations for dinner and a tour of the Whitewater Preserve to learn about access problems facing the Latino community in Sand to Snow National Monument. This event will help educate and empower Latino community leaders to develop and advocate for equitable solutions. 

The discussion will focus on current management policies in Whitewater Canyon (outside the Preserve) that disadvantage the Latino community, and how Latino leaders can educate and activate their communities to push for improved access.


Saturday, November 4, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm & Sunday, November 5, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Black Rock Visitor Center, 9800 Black Rock Canyon Rd, Yucca Valley, CA

Attendance is limited, please RSVP. FREE admission.

Contact: Kevin Wong, Program Coordinator, Desert Institute – (760) 267-5535

This two-day workshop will explore the natural history of Joshua trees and their plant communities. The workshop will train attendees to conduct community science fieldwork on research being conducted within Joshua Tree National Park. Speakers will include Cameron Barrows, Chris Smith, Todd Esque and others. 

The workshop and community science fieldwork will directly contribute to data on existing Joshua tree sites, their health, their age, associated plant communities and migration trends. Participants will leave with newfound knowledge of these unique species and understanding of the intricate fragility of desert ecosystems. 

Attendance is free but limited. Online Registration is required at JT Workshop Registration.

Sponsored by the Desert Institute, California Native Plant SocietyJoshua Tree Genome ProjectUC Riverside Center for Conservation BiologyUC Riverside Sweeney Granite Mountains Research CenterUSGS Western Ecological Research Center and Joshua Tree National Park.


Saturday, November 5, 5:00 pm

Open to the public. FREE admission.

Contact: David Lamfrom – (760) 957-7887 –

The Mojave Star Party is a signature Mojave desert event that has taken place two times per year continuously since 2008. The event has developed a following due to the incredibly dark night skies found in the Eastern Mojave National Preserve, the excellent night sky education provided by the Pasadena Olde Town Astronomers, and the gigantic telescopes (some homemade) that the astronomers bring to the event for the public to use. 

The Star Party offers free camping at the Black Canyon Group camp, and dinner is potluck. To celebrate the centennial of the national park service, the event will feature snacks, drinks, hikes the following day led by the Superintendent of the Mojave National Preserve, and interpretation by the National Park Service. This event draws a broad array of desert-lovers including scientists, national park service employees, community-leaders, media, students, and diverse community members. 

Sponsored by the Mojave National Preserve Conservancy. Further information is available on the Mojave National Preserve Conservancy’s website and facebook page. *Please follow the facebook event page for updates on weather conditions, education about the night sky, and to RSVP.