Sunday, November 22, 2015

Society Annual Meeting

-from the Curator

Yesterday 25 members of the Museum's Society attended the IVDM Society's Annual Meeting.  It was a busy day and great to see so many museum friends gathered together. The Society recognized four of its members with special certificates this year: William Pape was recognized for his exemplary support of the museum, its mission, and the Endowment Fund; George and Kathleen Willis were recognized for their exemplary support of the museum, its mission, and the Endowment Fund; and Neil Zinn, retiring from the Society's Board, was recognized for his years of service, support, and volunteering.
William Pape receiving a certificate of recognition for Exemplary Support of the Museum

After a brief business meeting the Museum's Director, Dr. Neal Hitch, took us back in time through a retrospective of how far the museum has come: from the beginning of building the Ocotillo museum to today when we have a brand-new, state of the art exhibit- the biggest goal of the Society since he was hired back in 2011.

All of this leads to the question of where the museum goes from here. What do its members want to see happen over the next 5, 10, 50 years? This meeting began the strategic planning that will occur over the next 6-8 months to answer those questions. It started with three tables set out at this meeting, each with one question on it. Everyone was encouraged to write their thoughts
 If you come through the museum over the next few weeks the tables will be up and we'd love to have your additions to this first brainstorming session. Or post a comment through this blog or Facebook and we'll add it to the table!

 Here's where the tables stand so far:

Question 1: If we focused on one program, what would it be?
-"Field trips for schools"
-"Field trips for students"

Question 2: Potential uses of new property?
-"Hiking trails with info signs"
-"Hiking with no signs (wilderness experience)"
-"Truck/Jeep display"
-"Show case drought tolerant/native plants for landscaping to transition to more sustainable, less water usage while simultaneously propagating and selling plants to visitors"

Question 3: What is the most important thing the museum will do . . . 
 . . . In the next year?
-"Get money for gardens"
-"6th grade hiking field trip"
-"Skype with a scientist"
-"Youth hike (conjunction with Jacumba hikers?)"
-"Connect/stay connected to local Kumeyaay tribes/leaders/entities, host Kumeyaay related events"
-"Become institutionalized with the Imperial Valley and Jacumba schools so that all students get a chance to come out"

 . . . In the next 5 years?
-"Plant gardens"
-"Internships with local colleges"
-"A desert oasis- palms, pools, plants, shade"
-"Southern CA colleges need to hear about IVDM for field trips/seminars/workshops"
-"Partner with San Diego universities to bring grad students out"
-"Bring more closely together Native American, Hispanic, and European cultures through the museum experience"

 . . . In the next 50 years?
-"Maintain gardens"

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Night of Sheep

-from the Curator

Author Mark C. Jorgensen
Last night we held a Members-Only FriendRaiser where 21 guests listened to the incredible Mark Jorgensen talk about the Desert Bighorn Sheep.  During his 36-year career with the California State Parks he has been a state park ranger, a resource ecologist, and superindent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  He is currently a member of the Desert Bighorn Council, and author of Desert Bighorn Sheep: Wilderness Icon, published by Sunbelt Publications.

This fascinating and informative talk discussed the Desert Bighorn Sheep: their lives, their challenges, and what we can do to help them. Mark also answered questions and signed copies of his book after his presentation.

Friend Raisers are Members-only events designed to be small, intimate events, talks, or behind-the-scenes looks into the Museum.  All proceeds from these events go to the IVDM's Endowment Fund, which is currently being matched 3:1 by an National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge grant.

Members: are you receiving emails from us? If you aren't seeing our emails in your inbox or spam box, let us know! We've had several email addresses bounce back lately and want to make sure your address is correct!

Interested in becoming a Member? Check out our website to find out more!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: Desert Bighorn Sheep: Wilderness Icon

-from the Curator

Welcome to what will (hopefully) become a regular part of our blogging- book reviews! Our staff hopes to mix in reviews of books focusing on local interest topics with our blogs on events, exhibits, and other cool stuff happening out at the Desert Museum.

Desert Bighorn Sheep: Wilderness Icon
Mark C. Jorgensen, photographs by Jeff Young.

This new book offers a glimpse into the lives of the elusive desert bighorn sheep: their habits, their social lives, and their natural habitats.  It is written for the general reader in a casual and engaging writing style that contains enormous amounts of fascinating information without feeling like a science lecture. I was particularly interested in the inclusions at the end of the book, where Jorgensen discusses sheep conservation and the current status of the sheep in the U.S. and Mexico in regions they traditionally call home.  This included not only their current numbers, but conservation efforts, hunting restrictions, challenges they face- such as the inclusion of non-native plant species in their habitat, and successes like Arizona's highway overpasses, allowing sheep to successfully travel from one location to another without crossing highways. Mark Jorgensen, who has served as a state park ranger, resource ecologist, and superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in his 36-year career in California State Parks and has spent 5 decades studying desert bighorn sheep, is clearly dedicated to sharing his love for and understanding of these amazing animals.

The truly unique aspect of this book, however, are the incredible photographs taken by Jeff Young. Young has been an avid photographer for over 40 years and since 2008 has focused on desert bighorn sheep.  There are over 200 photographs in the book, including rarely photographed behaviors such as the "taunting" and posturing of sheep before they battle.  The photographs make you feel as if you are right there, hearing the clash of horns, or the scrape of rocks as a sheep makes a seemingly impossible headlong dive down a cliff.  Some images, like one looking down at a ram balancing all four hooves on a small rocky peak, make you wonder not only how the sheep can do that- but how Jeff was able to take such an incredible shot! Action shots of jumping sheep show more clearly than words their amazing dexterity in seemingly impossible rocky landscapes. I was especially struck by images of the sheep in the red sandstone region of Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, where the red backgrounds seems to glow, highlighting the sheep instead of allowing them to blend in as they do in our local Sonoran Desert. And I defy anyone not to grin at images of newborn lambs exploring their new world.    

Desert Bighorn Sheep: Wilderness Icon is the perfect book for nature lovers and photography lovers of all ages, and a must-have for those living in the regions the sheep continue to call home.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Horseless Carriages in Ocotillo

-from the Curator
Regional groups of the HCCA stopped by for a visit

Today the Museum had a special group of visitors: the La Jolla/Southern California Regional groups of the Horseless Carriage Club of America. Out for a weekend tour of El Centro and the vicinity, 34 car enthusiasts driving cars from 1915 (or earlier!) stopped by for a tour of the museum. They picked the perfect weekend for driving - beautiful weather and little to no wind- and everyone enjoyed the Museum as a stopping point before they continue on their tour.

We hope you get the chance to see some of these amazing cars as they drive in our area for the weekend!
All cars from 1915 or earlier

Off for the next adventure!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

OctoberCraft Fun

-from the Curator

73 people came out yesterday to join us for our first OctoberCraft event. It was a day for fun and families, crafts and treats. Four different craft stations were set up through the Museum, giving people a chance to explore the new exhibits in between their crafts.
Sue Hess, Marilyn McAllister, Steve Benton, Marcie Rodriguez, Alanna Rodriguez, Michael Field & Stephanie Bedwell volunteered for treats and crafts all day. Thanks guys!
The day went smoothly thanks to some dedicated and creative volunteers: Sue Hess, Marilyn McAllister, Steve Benton, Robin Dodge, Antonio Rivera, Bob Diaz, Michael Field and Stephanie Bedwell spent a fun filled day helping kids with new craft projects.

Bob Diaz with Dia de los Muertos crafts
Bob Diaz, from Sears in El Centro, came out for another year of sharing Dia de los Muertos arts and stories with kids.

Michael teaches a new generation the art of sewing
Michael Field and his wife Stephanie joined us from San Diego. Michael's photography exhibit Michael Field: Designer, Hiker, Photographer just opened at the Museum and includes a look at the hiking bags he designs and makes.

 He and Stephanie helped kids cut and color skull designs (in honor of Dia de los Muertos) and helped them sew their own bags on a sewing machine.  Several kids came back to work on more than one- a new generation of designers in the works!
Photobomb! The photographer gets photographed while a new student shows off her work

Making their own bags got kids excited to go trick-or-treating later!

Coiled Clay and Spooky Lanterns were also big hits. These crafty kids came with creativity to make some great projects!

#Ramseselfie with some raffle winners!

 OctoberCraft was sponsored by Sears and Antonio Rivera, Realtor.  Antonio raffled off $150 in gift certificates to the IVDM gift shop every hour and to lots of excited winners!