Women Behind Monuments – Part 1
Name: Danielle Segura
City, State: Joshua Tree, Calif.
Position: Executive Director, Mojave Desert Land Trust, www.mdlt.org
What monument(s) were you involved with? Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, Castle Mountains National Monuments, California
Why did you get involved? To further protect special places in the California Desert for future generations.
What surprised you the most about the work to get a place designated? Though I knew these landscapes were beloved by the community, I was surprised how many diverse voices rallied around preserving these special places. Among others, young people from the Eastern Coachella Valley, local veterans, and internationally-renowned artists came together in support of the Monuments. We aim to incorporate that same diversity into the wide range of programming that we conduct to celebrate the Monuments.
What would you tell women or others who want to get involved about protecting incredible places? Our public lands are for everyone. So often, women are cut out of the conversations about outdoor exploration. But we know that so much of the history of the desert is the history of women here – from women homesteaders, to the women who started the work to protect this desert. These lands belong to all of us, and all communities should be invited to enjoy them and share their experiences with the power of nature.
What are you doing now – post-designation? I am always working to encourage communities to get out on their land. I am excited to be hosting 50 local Girl Scouts at an upcoming event at Amboy Crater in Mojave Trails Monument. We have developed a Monuments patch for the three Mojave Monuments with the local Girl Scouts troop to encourage these young women to explore the lands that have been protected for them. They will be working on the Monuments patch, so will I!
What do you do when you aren’t working or volunteering for your monument? As the Executive Director of the largest conservation organization in the Mojave Desert, I always have a wide variety of projects on my plate! One that I am particularly passionate about is Reading the Landscape, a set of guidelines for artists to carry out projects in the desert while being conscious of the delicate ecosystems that surround them. I am endlessly curious about the ways that art and nature interact, and believe these guidelines will set the standard for creative projects in natural spaces going forward.
Many thanks to Danielle Segura for participating in this series, and for the amazing work she and her team do every day protecting the California desert for future generations!