Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA) is a private, non-profit Cooperating Association working in partnership with Joshua Tree National Park to help in its achievement of programming goals in education, interpretation, scientific and historic research, and activities.

JTNPA has been supporting programming at Joshua Tree National Park since 1962. As the park’s primary non-profit partner, we operate four visitor center park stores that are often the first stop for visitors from around the world, raise funds via donations and our membership program, and offer a field institute, Desert Institute (DI).

DI currently offers classes for adult learners in cultural history, natural science, survival skills, desert naturalist studies, women’s programs, citizen science, and creative arts. All programs are taught by expert instructors who provide personal and enjoyable learning experiences.

DI is committed to providing a rich, inclusive learning environment aimed at inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to appreciate and preserve cultural resources and natural places associated with JTNP and surrounding public lands.

The Old Schoolhouse Lecture series

is brought to you by the 29 Palms Historical Society and the Desert Institute. The series is composed of ten monthly lectures on the second Friday of each month beginning on October 8th. Subscription for the series is $40.

October 8, “African American Homesteaders of Lanfair Valley”, Barbara Gothard, Artist

“Dry. Desolate. Cactus-strewn, hostile, and dangerous. For many modern visitors, the Mojave Desert is simply a place to get through on the way to someplace else. However, for some hopeful adventurers in the early twentieth century, the high eastern valleys that would someday be part of the Mojave National Preserve signified something else: independence, opportunity, and hope for a brighter future. Through taking advantage of the US Government’s new homesteading act, hundreds of Americans, including 24 African Americans, beat the odds to earn their own little pieces of the Mojave desert.” ~ B Michel, NPS

The series continues with:
November 12, “Willie Boy & The Last Western Manhunt”, Clifford Trafzer, Author, Professor of History, UC Riverside

December 10, “The History of Hi Jolly and the Great Camel Experiment in the Southwest”, Steve Brown, Writer, Executive Producer, and Co-Host: Southwest Stories

January 14, “Cultural Resources of the Mojave National Preserve”, David Nichols, Archaeologist, Mojave National Preserve

February 11, “A Natural History of Anza Borrego”, Mike Nichols, Author

March 11, “Can’t Live Without You: Ocotillos and Hummingbirds”, Jim Cornett, Biologist, Author

April 8, “A History of Condor Field in 29 Palms”, John Hale, Historian

May 13, “Artist and the Desert Light: A History”, Steven Biller, Editor-In-Chief, Palm Springs Life

June 10, “Nevada Test Site”, Kim Stringfellow, Author, Professor, San Diego State University’s School of Art + Design.

To Register:


by Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park

The Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park presents Capturing Joshua Tree Landscapes with Acrylics with Janis Commentz.

Few destinations offer a landscape as unique as Joshua Tree National Park. Spend a day painting in beautiful Joshua Tree National Park. In this one-day class, you will focus on observations, setting an intention for the day, and learning the process of acrylic landscape painting. Janis Commentz is known for her color-intense palette and loose brush strokes. The morning will begin with basic instruction on the process and introduction to materials. Topics will include laying out your palette, color mixing, how to observe the landscape and translate it into an image, tips to see patterns of lights and darks, and planning a successful composition. Participants will move outdoors to observe, sketch, and learn what to look for in a potential landscape. The afternoon will include a demonstration on starting your painting, blocking out your sketch on canvas, and the time needed to develop your painting. This class is for beginning to intermediate painters.

October 16, 2021 @ 08:30 AM to 4:00 PM
9800 Black Rock Canyon Rd, Yucca Valley

To Register:


Now in its 20th year, the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours is an annual multi-disciplinary desert-wide open studio art tour, featuring 165 artists across 8 desert communities this year. Printed catalogs are now available at retail/commercial locations across the desert + at info centers: Coyote Cone, ZZIEE Ceramics, Moonwind Trading Co, Visit 29 Visitors Center

Please check out Instagram and Facebook for artist info, or download the PDF from their website:

October 9-10, 2021 October 16-17, 2021 October 23-24, 2021 Morongo Basin, California

From Our Partners