Joshua Tree National Park Association

Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award

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Dr. Barrow’s body of research, academic and community courses, guided hikes, public lectures, advisory committees, and expert panels combine to make him the perfect candidate for this award. He embodies all four of the criteria categories. He spends most of his waking hours working to preserve and protect the California deserts. Through his research, teaching, advocacy, and leadership, he has opened the eyes and hearts of thousands of residents and visitors to the beauty of the region and the importance of protecting it for the many species who call it home. His demonstrated commitment to conservation in our desert region goes back decades, starting in 1986 as Regional Manager and Director of the Coachella Valley Preserve, up to today in his role as Assistant Research Ecologist for the Center for Conservation Biology, University of California Riverside.

Dr. Barrows’ work addresses conservation challenges throughout the Coachella Valley, High Desert, and local mountain regions. His research on the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata) was critical to developing the first habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the Coachella Valley, which is still in effect today and serves as a model for communities throughout the world. He was the lead researcher on numerous research studies in addition to his work on the fringe-toed lizard. He is a willing and enthusiastic collaborator in his research, working alongside other university researchers regularly. He also pulls in students and community members to assist in gathering research data. Some of Dr. Barrows’ most notable research contributions include his work on the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan; DRECP – Independent Science Advisory Panel; climate change effects on flora and fauna of JTNP; and invasive species (tamarisk, Sahara mustard). In JTNP, funded under multiple grants, Dr. Barrows and JTNP staff studied the implications of climate change for the park’s desert tortoises and other selected reptiles and for the distribution of plant communities and invasive plants within the park.

Dr. Barrows has been teaching and lecturing on conservation issues for three decades. He has taught for The Living Desert, College of the Desert, California Science Teachers Association, and multiple other regional organizations. In 2018, UCR Palm Desert launched their first UC California Naturalist program, with Dr. Barrows serving as the lead instructor. He has produced over 50 peer-reviewed technical journal articles, authored five peer-reviewed book chapters, and has been cited by more than 50 authors. It is difficult to determine the number of students he has taught throughout the years, but conservatively, it is easily more than 5000.

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