CHOLLA NEEDLES: This month’s feature comes from Jazmine Gonzalez-Conteras

“Her poem illustrates the feeling of the desert for students at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in the Coachella Valley,” shared Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Education Programs Manager, Mary Cook- Rhyne. “She writes about how dry the desert is, but it does have a unique ability to thrive in the face of the arid landscape. Her poem perfectly captures Jazmine’s feelings about the desert. This wonderful fifth grader also provides beautiful artwork capturing the desert as she sees and feels it.”

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ABOUT THIS PROJECT: During the 2022-2023 school year, Mojave Desert Land Trust worked with passionate students from Yucca Valley Elementary, Cesar Chavez Elementary, San Jose Charter Academy, and La Contenta Middle School through their Desert Discovery Field Studies (DDFS) program. Their poetry and expressive illustrations provide insight to their experience growing up in the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.

Many thanks to Rich Soos, our partner Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library for bringing one of our Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) lessons to life in the Autumn 2023 edition of Cholla Needles: Young Writers and Artists magazine!

Copies of the magazine are available for purchase online. This project was funded in part through grants from the Inland Empire Community Foundation and the Society for Science. Funding for the August 2023 issue of Cholla Needles was also lovingly provided by Bonnie Bostrom, George Kirk, Peter Nash, and Janet Tucker.

The Desert Discovery Field Studies program provides students from underserved desert communities with an innovative way to learn about desert ecology and conservation. This immersive program helps students become inspired advocates for the desert they call home.

This month, Joshua Tree Voice is featuring art and poetry from Isabela Coronel.

From Our Partners