What is Desert Institute?desert institute
Who We Are And What We Do
Desert Institute is the educational branch of Joshua Tree National Park Association. Desert Institute is not a school in itself; rather, we contribute to the national park’s education and interpretation programming goals. Throughout the year, we offer field classes, recreational adventures, and social events that span a wide spectrum of disciplines and formats. Natural science courses such as geology, bird and wildflower identification, and nature photography make up the backbone of our programming––however, the desert also supports an abundance of cultural activities, which are just as much our identity and as valuable as the wild lands of the park. Our programming works to articulate and animate the rich resources of not only the national park but also our surrounding desert environs and the community of people that make Joshua Tree the unique place it is.
Our vision is to provide a rich, inclusive learning environment aimed at inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds. We are in the process of expanding our programming to include more family-friendly and children-centered activities. Our programming changes from season to season, so stay current by following us on social media or signing up for our newsletter.
Our programming changes from season to season, so stay current by following us on social media or signing up for our newsletter. We are always changing and growing, and you can help support our work by donating to Desert Institute today.
24 Years Of Education In The Desert
Desert Institute was established in 1999 by the former Chief of Interpretation and current Vice President of JTNPA’s Board of Directors Joe Zarki. DI was operated by the National Park Service in its first year thanks to a grant in 1999 from the Service’s Parks As Classrooms program. After the first year, the Institute program was absorbed by JTNPA as part of its educational operations.