The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT), a vital local force in desert conservation and environmental awareness is expanding its efforts to reach more residents of the Morongo Basin. At the first meeting of the Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series, this past Thursday, February 18th, Monica L. Mahoney, MDLT’s new Director of Programs and Community Initiatives, introduced herself, her art and her vision for the future.
Mahoney’s artistic beginnings in San Bernardino County and her work in the arts, ecology and landscape architecture give her a unique perspective of the desert. Mahoney gave a slide presentation on how she utilizes art as a creative catalyst for understanding and celebrating this arid ecosystem. She calls her conceptual vantage point the ‘Middle.’ That idea represents the horizon point on an artistic composition and the middle ground where people can come to together to make the best-informed decisions for our unique desert environment.
MDLT, committed to encouraging environmental education and conservation has begun a new robust plan to bring conservation and education-minded programs to the Morongo Basin. The Brown Bag series is one of several community events planned for this coming year.
One project, called, ‘Joining Forces: Plant to Paper Project, the Veterans Initiative in the Arts,’ is a collective effort between the San Bernardino Arts Connection, Mil-Tree (an arts-based veterans and community organization in Joshua Tree), and other non-profits like the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Joining Forces is offering opportunities for hiking, environmental work, paper-making, writing and life casting to Veterans. The first phase of the project will involve the removal of invasive plants under the leadership of the Mojave Desert Land Trust.
Mahoney and her team are initiating a ‘PLACE’ project, providing leadership in conservation advocacy. One aspect of this project is the ‘Community Land Stewardship’ program which includes a pilot program called ‘Stewards of the Coyote Valley,’ encouraging residents to work on, support and conserve land in their own area under the leadership and support of the MDLT.
The Land Stewardship Program is an excellent way to get out and enjoy hiking, photography, and recording observations.
The MDLT is hosting the AmeriCorps NCCC Team, a group of young people from around the country, donating their time and efforts to local conservation efforts.
On April 16, Juan Martinez, Director of Leadership, Development and Natural Leaders Network, will be the guest speaker at the MDLT Open House. Martinez, who has worked with children from underserved populations, will share his knowledge and experience of how to introduce the next generation to natural landscapes and outdoor activities.
Steve Rieman, the original designer of the new MDLT building and a world renowned sculptor will hold a lecture and tour on the sustainable design of the MDLT Headquarters (the former Hanna’s Nursery Building).
The MDLT celebrates and supports the newly designated three National Monuments: Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains Monuments.
For more information on events and programs go to the MDLT website: http://www.mojavedesertlandtrust.org
MDLT Headquarters is located at 60124 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA 92252.
To reserve seating at the Brown Bag Lunch Lecture series, email Dawn Frazier at email@example.com or call (760) 366-5440.
Young People working with the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Great people, great project, great program.
So much has happened since I began this blog I have decided to write a new introduction. This is where my work is now and what I’m looking forward to.
Hilary Sloane – Documentary and Fine Art Artist and Writer
I am five years new to journalism, having been a producer for print, film and commercials for over 35 years. That position taught me a great deal about schedules, organization, deadlines, communication and of course, visual storytelling.
Five years ago, I moved out of Los Angeles, to Joshua Tree where I currently freelance as a journalist and documentary and fine art photographer as well as working on a mixed-media projects.
I am a member of Journalism And Woman Symposium (JAWS) and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). I’m a stringer for the Hi-Desert Star and the San Bernardino Arts Connection and recently co-authored a piece for Palm Springs Life on Modernism Week.
This year, I added audio to my arsenal of skills and finished a story on Art as a means of healing. The working title is “Hip Hop speaks many languages.” The link on Soundcloud is: https://soundcloud.com/hilarysloane/hip-hop-speaks-many-languages
My logo and motto, Take heART is also how I live my life. It is about art, but more importantly, it’s about living heart-focused and creatively. The deeper I get into writing and photography the more it leads me to stories that go to the heart of what it means to be human.
The human condition is richly complex and complicated. Every topic has several stories. We all have the ability to do good and also to do things that don’t end up well. Taking sides is a difficult position because it can be rigid and inflexible. It can also be blinding.
Moving to the Mojave Desert changed my life. For the first time, I got to experience vast open spaces and have begun to appreciate the beauty of the desert. I search out people and industries who use these lands. There are farmers, ranchers, hikers, recreational vehicle enthusiasts, environmentalists, animals lovers, biologists, historians; the list goes on. Everyone has their story to tell.
After writing about the Mojave Desert Land Trust and exploring land conservation issues, I became very interested in the subject of land conservation and land use. I decided to expand my research to include everything about the subject and focus on the American West. I look for stories. I look for people with solutions and passions; I want to discover this beautiful land in a new way.
On September 30th, 2015 I drove from my home in Joshua Tree to Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Norman Oklahoma, Canton Oklahoma, across Texas, to Phoenix, back to Flagstaff and back to Santa Fe. In Texas, I visited ranches, various cultural groups, environmental groups, art museums, national parks, small towns, and cities. The trip took five weeks, returning home the second week of November having driven over 6,000 miles.
My purpose of this trip was to get a broad, varied view of attitudes of land use in America. The final product is an on-going, multi-media project. There are limited edition prints, limited book editions, and a possible full-length book, audio stories, and articles.
The first event of The America Project – “In Land We Trust” will be presented this fall. More information will come later.
A sampling of my work will be on display in the 4th Annual Biennial of Documentary and Fine Art Photography for the month of October in Berlin, Germany.