Speaker and Lecture Series at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Speaker and Lecture Series at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

Speaker Series and Classes

Conservation Speaker Series

Learn from the experts. This enlightening Conservation Speaker Series highlights programs and projects The Living Desert supports through financial contributions, partnerships and more. We’re proud to bring world-renowned experts, researchers, biologists, and conservationists to share their stories and experiences about conservation projects happening around the world.

The Living Desert's Speaker Series is open to the public.

March 15, 12-1pm
Forget That I’m Going In Anyway: Why People Do And Don’t Support Trail Closures
Steve Chase Administration Building, Tennity Boardroom

Dr. James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert, CA

Trails and areas often close to protect our wildlife during breeding or rearing seasons, however, many people find these closures personally objectionable. Dr. Danoff-Burg will talk about his work in the Coachella Valley to understand people’s responses to closures of areas important to the nature of the Valley, as well as some solutions to benefit both the wildlife and the people who enjoy it.

March 20, 12-1pm
Cheetah and Humans Sharing a Landscape
Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director, Cheetah Conservation Fund
Steve Chase Administration Building, Tennity Boardroom

Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has developed a set of integrated programs that work together to conserve cheetahs. Join Dr. Laurie Marker as she highlights CCF's work to combat the problems that afflict the human communities that live alongside cheetahs and threaten the cheetah as a species with extinction.

March 27, 12-1pm
Chad - A Conservation Adventure to Save a Species
RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Care, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Steve Chase Administration Building, Tennity Boardroom

As the Species Survival Coordinator for the endangered Scimitar-horned oryx, Ms. Breitigan is committed to champion this amazing antelope species. She was recently honored to be able to participate in the Scimitar-horned Oryx reintroduction project in Chad, one of the most ambitious reintroductions of a mammal species. Through the collaborative efforts of the Chad government, the UAE, AZA zoos, EAZA zoos and US private ranches, where they had once vanished, they are once again freely roaming the Chadian deserts.

April 4, 12-1pm
Conserving the Joshua Tree: The USFWS Species Status Assessment Approach
Felicia Sirchia, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Steve Chase Administration Building, Tennity Boardroom

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Species Status Assessment (SSA) is a focused, repeatable, and rigorous scientific assessment that describes the life history and ecological relationships of the species in question and uses principles of conservation biology to describe the current and future condition of the species. Ms. Sirchia will outline the SSA that was developed for the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia/jaegeriana) to help the Service make informed decisions and develop conservation strategies to ensure conservation of this iconic species.

Living Desert University

Immerse yourself in environmental education with Living Desert University (LDU), a premier opportunity for adults to continue learning. Through LDU, the Zoo offers classes, lectures, workshops, walks, tours, and excursions that highlight our desert biome.

Upcoming opportunities!

Wonderfully Wild Desert Wildflower Bus Tour

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 Departing from The Living Desert at 8:30am, with an estimated return time of 4:30pm. More info

2018-2019 LDU Catalog

Open to the public; however, space is limited. Fees apply.

LDU Member RegistrationLDU Non-member Registration

For more information, contact us at (760)346-5694 or email