The Living Desert
47900 Portola Avenue
Palm Desert, CA 92260
For general inquiries and comments, click here
. To contact a particular department, please see our Departmental Directory below.
Main Number: 760-346-5694
Stacey Johnson is a 1985 graduate of Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. He began as a zookeeper in 1987, coming up through the ranks in animal management and education. Raised on a small farm in eastern Colorado, his interests are varied. When asked to name a specialty, the answer is always, "Whatever I'm working with at the moment." He joined The Living Desert, Palm Desert, California, as President/CEO in 2009.
Stacey is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums jaguar studbook keeper and Species Survival Plan® coordinator. Since 2004 he has worked on "A Public/Private Partnership to Understand and Conserve Jaguar Habitat in the Yucatán" with partners from Pronatura Península de Yucatán and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (Instituto de Ecologia). He is an AZA Ethics Board member, a past chairman of the AZA Bear Taxon Advisory Group and a past member of the AZA Accreditation Commission. Stacey, his wife Chantel and daughter Celeste, enjoy dog shows in both conformation and performance arenas.
Peter Siminski is the Director of Conservation and Education at The Living Desert. For twenty years he was also the Curator of Mammalogy and Ornithology and the Director of Collections at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. He is best known for his work on Mexican wolf conservation. He is the coordinator of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for the Mexican wolf and is the leader of the federal Mexican Wolf Recovery Team. Peter's conservation interests and activities also include the endangered peninsular pronghorn and the threatened desert tortoise.
Director of Finance
Dwight graduated from Arizona State University and has over 40 years of financial, tax and operational experience in both not-for-profit, for-profit and government entities. He also has domestic and international experiences having worked in large; medium and small entities.
Director of Park Services
Graves brings over 30 years of experience to The Living Desert, including two successful years at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Graves has also worked for several theme and entertainment attractions, including Medieval Times Entertainment, Hard Rock Park, and the Anheuser-Busch Theme Parks.
As a results-driven executive level marketing professional, Graves excels in revenue improvements through strategic initiatives and effective brand management. His work experience is marked by strong sales growth, impactful consumer strategy, and developing and implementing innovative sales and marketing programs. He leads a wide range of park operations including admissions, membership, park attractions, marketing and events.
Bert Buxbaum came to The Living Desert in 2003. He brought his skills as a photographer and videographer to a professional level over many years of working at the Columbus Zoo and doing freelance work as well. Prior to working in the zoo world, Bert was, for 25 years, involved in textile and plastics manufacturing. He is the father of a daughter in San Francisco, a son in Chicago, and three grandsons. Bert is presently responsible for the systems and operations of the physical site at The Living Desert as well as continuing his role as managing the Graphics and Media Department
Director of Development
BIO Coming Soon