In the High Desert of Southern California

In the High Desert of Southern California
November 30, 2016 Christina Mullin

The desert is a visual feast for the eyes from the giant 4000 windmills (which provide enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley 300,000+ people) to the Joshua trees, which only grow in the Mojave Desert.

Loved seeing signs of eco-ness. Laundry dries very fast in the desert!

I met the wonderful Eva Soltes, founder and director of Harrison House Music, Arts and Ecology, a residency and performance art program for international artists and thinkers in Joshua Tree. Completed in 2002, the building was constructed primarily from straw-bales, wire mesh, and stucco, blending in with the desert landscape.

Landscaped with plants that thrive in the extreme desert climate.

One of the hand-painted gates

The outdoor lamps installed outside the house point down, which minimizes the harmful effects of light pollution.

I was thrilled to meet the artist in residence, Dominique Moody , who I met almost a year ago at the Los Angeles African American Museum, where she was showing her current assemblage piece called the “Nomad”, a gorgeous functional dwelling on wheels inspired by and constructed from repurposed materials.

The “Nomad” is currently on the site of the Lou Harrison Ecology center, where Moody is overseeing the installation of a desert sculptural garden. Can’t wait to see it when it’s done.

Photo credit Khari Scott | Copyright Dominique Moody & Khari Scott 2015

Photo by Eva Soltes

the Nomad at night ( I added the stars because they didn’t show up in the photo I took!)

Stayed the night at a favorite place, the exotic Korakia Pensione, a small hotel designed in a Moroccan and Mediterranean style.

Woke up in the morning with this view out of my window.

and to flowers in the fountain…

The next and last stop was at The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano, a cool non-profit educational center that teaches hands-on sustainable practices and environmental solutions. The Buckminster Fuller style greenhouse had a great set-up that explained and also showed how an aquaponics system works: waste from the tilapia fertilizes the plants, which in turn cleans the water for the fish.

Their vegetable garden beds were the perfect example of nature’s cycle from the thriving vegetables, to the flowers, where some were past their prime, but still valuable to the pollinators and beneficial insects for seeds, perches and nest making materials that those stems and stalks provide.

Colorful waste station for trash, recycling and compostables

They even had a Tool Bank. So inspiring! Tool banks lend tools to anyone in the community who could use them to activate sustainability in their own backyard, whether its starting a garden for pollinators or growing their own food. Every community should have one of these!

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Thank you!