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Conservation

The goal of our Conservation Program is to help diversify the outdoors by engaging our community members to advocate for the protection of public lands and increasing the educational and recreational opportunities for Latinx community members in the Coachella Valley.

We are hiring! Scroll down to see the Environmental Fellow job description.  

Our Advocacy Efforts 
Protect California Deserts 

About the coalition: 

The Protect California Deserts is a coalition of local organizations that, along with regional and national organizations, are working on this historic opportunity to designate the Chuckwalla National Monument and expand Joshua Tree National Park. This will help ensure access to nature for local residents and visitors, protect unique biodiversity, safeguard the desert’s rich history, and honor the cultural landscape of the Iviatim, Nüwü, Pipa Aha Macav, Kwatsáan and Maara’yam peoples. 

Our role in the coalition: 

We are one of the local organizations that are part of the Protect California Deserts coalition. Our role in the coalition is to provide on-the-ground knowledge and local expertise for the campaign. We work closely with other local partners to organize various outreach efforts, such as hikes, camping trips, and land and aerial tours. Our staff members also provide translation support to ensure that information is accessible to our Spanish-speaking community members. Both of our Coachella Conservation Program staff members actively participate in the coalition, with our Conservation Program Manager serving as a steering committee member.

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30x30 Inland Deserts Regional Group – Power In Nature Coalition 

About the coalition and the 30x30 Initiative: 

Governor Newsom's Executive Order N-82-20 launched California's 30x30 effort on October 7, 2020. #30x30CA is a community-driven initiative to protect 30% of California's lands and waters by 2030. The Executive Order instructed the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) to work with other State agencies and stakeholders to implement the 30x30 plan. As such, CNRA created a strategy document called Pathways to 30x30 by February 2022 to achieve this goal. Throughout this process CNRA gathers expert opinions and hosted workshops open to the public, in which the various stakeholders and coalition partners participated to help highlight our deserts.  

 

Protecting California's deserts is critical to the state's past, present, and future. As some of the most geographically vast and ecologically diverse areas of California, they are part of the most intact ecosystem in the lower 48 states and are incredibly valuable to plants, wildlife, and people. Protecting California's deserts is essential to the success of our efforts to address the climate and biodiversity crisis, protecting 30% of lands and waters by 2030.  

Our role in the coalition: 

Early on, one of the coalition's main challenges was ensuring that CNRA would properly include California's deserts and consider them in achieving the 30x30 goals. The coalition has and continues to advocate for our deserts so that they are correctly described and characterized to represent their true 30x30 value and rich biodiversity.  

  

Our Conservation Program Manager, Sendy, has been an active coalition member since 2021. Over the years, she has helped build a relationship between CNRA and the various partner organizations that are coalition members. Additionally, she advocated for better language accessibility since the reports were previously only available in English. Furthermore, the coalition elected our Conservation Program Manager to co-lead the regional group from April 2022 to February 2024. 

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Programs and Events
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Nuestro Desierto Program - CactusToCloud Institute & COFEM  

In October 2021, COFEM and our partner, CactusToCloud Institute, applied for the highly competitive Outdoor Equity Grant Program from the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The California State Parks & Recreation received 384 applications, and only 125 were approved. We are thrilled to announce that we are one of the lucky 125 applicants.  

Ideal applicants for the Nuestro Desierto Program are young adults 18-24 intending to pursue their education after high school, supplement college coursework, and/or seek early career development. Preference may be given to individuals from low-income or mixed-immigration status households in and near the City of Coachella.   Listed below is a sneak peek of what you can expect!  

  • UC Naturalist Course + college credits 

  • Visits to some of the most iconic CA National Parks 

  • Exclusive visits to local UCR Research Centers 

 

Here are some important dates to remember and links to register for the information sessions, where you can learn more about the program and apply to be part of the 2024 Nuestro Desierto Class. Don't miss out, space is limited to 20 students.

May 09 at 6 PM Information session plus Q&A via Zoom

May 18 at 2 PM Information session plus Q&A in person at the Coachella Library

May 24 Application deadline

June 01 First day of class 

This program funded by the Outdoor Equity Grants Program, created through AB 209 and administered by California State Parks, Office of Grants and Local Services.

Camping in Mountains
Nature’s Niños Program 
The Wildlands Conservancy & COFEM 

Nature's Ninos is a free family camping and educational program aimed at introducing elementary school-age children and their families to camping. The camping trips take place on a yearly basis and are hosted at the Whitewater Preserve.

Some of past programs also include the Public Lands Defenders workshops series. This educational workshop series was focused on helping our community members learn more about their public lands and national monuments. They were offered twice a year in English and Spanish. 

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Our Events

Our Conservation program aims to provide our community with various in-person and virtual events free of charge. The events available vary; some of our past events are listed below. Be the first to know about our upcoming events by following us on social media or joining our mailing list HERE.

  • Camping trips to 

    • Corn Springs 

    • Mecca Hills  

    • UC James San Jacinto Mountain Reserve 

  • Hiking trips to   

    • Chuckwalla Dune Ticket 

    • Chuckwalla Mountains 

    • Joshua Tree National Park 

    • Mecca Hills - Sunset hikes and Wildflower walks  

    • Joshua Tree National Park 

    • Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monuments 

    • Whitewater River 

  • Latino Conservation Week Events 

    • Family Day at Mount San Jacinto State Park 

    • Latinx Voices in Nature (online) 

    • Stargazing Hike with Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz in the Mecca Hills Wilderness area.

Job Opportunity: Environmental Fellow

We are looking for a passionate and dedicated individual interested in joining our team as a paid intern for the Nuestro Desierto California Naturalist Program in Coachella, California. The ideal candidate is keen on pursuing a career in conservation and has a strong interest in natural history, environmental education, and community engagement.


The candidate should be open to learning and adapting to new challenges, work in a collaborative and team-oriented environment, and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to engage with stakeholders and build lasting relationships.
 

This position combines in-person field and classroom sessions, remote independent work, and a four-day camping trip.

Responsibilities:

Assist course instructors and other program staff with implementing the Nuestro Desierto California Naturalist educational program. Some of the responsibilities include;

  • Assist with outreach and marketing efforts

  • Drive passenger vans to and from program locations

  • Assist with in-person classroom sessions

  • Assist with outdoor field classes, hikes, and camping trips

  • Assist with other education components of the Nuestro Desierto Program for school groups and the public

  • Collecting feedback from students to generate reports

  • Must report to Conservation Manager

Qualifications:

  • A bachelor's degree or similar experience in natural resources, environmental science, outdoor education, or a related field is required.

  • Must be available to participate in all planned 2024 Nuestro Desierto Program activities, which include the following dates.

    • Classroom lectures: June 1, June 29, July 27, August 24 (Saturdays)

    • Field Classes: June 15, July 13, August 10 (Saturdays)

    • Camping Trip: September 12-15

    • Graduation Ceremony: October 26 (Saturday)

  • A clean driving record and a valid California Driver's License.

  • Familiarity with local natural history, ecology, and conservation

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

  • Passion for our environment and building community

  • Ability to walk/hike on uneven terrain

  • Ability to lift, carry, or pull 20 pounds (camping gear and program supplies and equipment)

  • Bilingual in English and Spanish (or other language) preferred but not required.

  • In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.

Compensation:

  • $20 per hour

  • 5 Month paid internship

This is a part-time, at-will, non-exempt position that is grant-funded and expected to last until October 31, 2024, but may be extended based on the funding available. The position is contingent on the programs' deliverables and the funds available. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm; however, occasional work on weeknights and/or weekends and at various locations will be required based on the course syllabus. The estimated average of work hours per month is 40.

How to Apply:

COFEM is an equal-opportunity employer and does not discriminate. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

Application Deadline: May 19, 2024, or until the position has been filled. Please send a resume with two work references to sbarrows@cofem.org with the subject: Environmental Fellow.

Coachella Valley Conservation Team

For more information about our program, please contact our Conservation Team Monday – Friday from 8 am to 4:30 PM (Closed on all major holidays).

Sendy Hernández Orellana Barrows
Conservation Program Manager
(760) 984-2724

Jose Manzo
Conservation Fellow
(760) 609-2761

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