The California desert is a strange and beautiful place. Working to keep it that way is the Mojave Desert Land Trust, which recently reached a milestone of conserving 100,000 acres since its founding 15 years ago.
Much of the group’s work involves acquiring and transferring land to public agencies for permanent protection, from 900 acres in Death Valley National Park to 10,000 acres in Joshua Tree National Park. In fact, MDLT has conveyed more tracts of land to the National Park System than any other nonprofit since 2006.
And the work doesn’t stop at the horizon line. Student interns with MDLT’s Women in Science Discovering Our Mojave program are collecting light pollution data to help the Bureau of Land Management achieve designation of Mojave Trails National Monument as a Dark Sky Sanctuary. Such a designation would help protect and conserve not only views of the dark night skies, but the plants and animals that rely on darkness. The data is submitted to Globe at Night, an international citizen science effort to raise awareness of the impact that light pollution has on energy consumption, wildlife habitat and human health.