It’s A Different Kind of Museum

Not all answers to the question “Hey! what are you working on?!?” can be summed up and easily yelled back across a parking lot. Sometimes an answer to that question requires more explaining.

Earth Day 2023 fell on Saturday this year. Out by the newly created bird garden in front of our plaza, I popped up my white ez up tent and table just far enough away from the daily dog walkers and runners on the sidewalk near the busy street. The plaza and parking lot stays empty for the most part on the weekends so I take full advantage of the quiet and am able to spread out.

As I sat enjoying the sunshine and fresh air listening to the birds, with my head down cleaning a set of bones I am preparing for display, a woman I do not know but who also works in the same plaza came walking towards her car. In a loud tone somewhere between interested and somewhat annoyed she asked what I was working on.

Bones. I’m working on bones. I run a Natural History Museum. Bones.

But quickly I find out her tone of irritation has more to do with her not knowing specifically WHEN my business is actually open and way less to do with what it is we actually do. Seems she has had to answer this question to her patrons I’m guessing. (?) To her it appears we are always closed and I’m guessing that too is annoying.

She didn’t really listen to my attempt at answering nor come any closer so I wouldn’t have to basically yell. I let her leave believing we were only open on Saturdays because, well, it was easier.

I shook my head and went back to work .

To be honest and give this woman her due, we don’t post specific Museum hours or days of operation. There are quite a few really good reasons why. But contrary to popular belief, yelling those reasons at a stranger truly isn’t my style .

I am the founder of the nonprofit Desert Nature Alliance in Gold Canyon, Arizona. Last October, we moved our fledgling Natural History Museum and Learning Center into its first public space. Our mission is to provide nature-based education support, preservation, awareness and most importantly safety information to our community and visitors from across the world.

The DNA has been active online with its own YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook for a few years before deciding it was ready to have a physical space people could visit. But that doesn’t mean it’s some cavernous building, open 24/7 like the Smithsonian!

Currently the Desert Nature Alliance Museum is a small, 600 square foot space purposely designed to have private tours, presentations, one on one classes or literally change some things inside to accommodate special needs.

Though filled with amazing displays already and growing daily, it is not intended to be buzzing with hundreds of visitors a day!

Inside, we have fragile bones and skeletons you can not touch because we cannot replace! Ever! But then there are bones and other things to touch and see up close and feel.

More often than not people tell us how they enjoy getting to spend time looking or asking questions without tons of people around making them feel nervous or anxious or just plain uncomfortable.

I previously worked for the amazing PHX Zoo. I loved every minute of it. I learned more working there than I ever could have attending a large college. Not everyone can experience a place like that filled with people and wild animals and noise without headphones or needing a wheel chair. For some it’s simply too much , too large, too overwhelming.

Blessed I got to actually go on the Savannah and take photos my last day ! This is one of them but the screen shot isn’t the best 💚

Providing a smaller more intimate setting was our goal.

When we need to travel to make a presentation, we take some of our Collection along with us. That temporarily changes what our Museum shows like and has to offer. It also takes me away.

To have enough displays to both travel with and showcase inside the museum requires me to go out into the desert searching for bones. Often I am given parts and skulls by locals that still need to be worked on before they can sit on a shelf inside the museum. None of this work is easy or fast.

Our Collection requires cleaning. The more we handle it the more we risk breakage.

We provide tutoring and classes that can be booked online.

Having the special purpose salvage permits to retrieve fallen birds from the roads and highways, is important for the work that we do. But this also requires us to be able to receive a call or message then go to the location as soon as possible.

Turkey Vulture

We do community projects like Adopt a Highway where we pick up trash along the Highway , we also set up a tent with volunteers showing bones and providing safety information.

There is a posted number on our door along with information taking you to our website. We receive calls and messages regularly asking anything from snake information to an animal down on the road to what to do when there’s a bobcat in your yard. We try to respond within the hour or less.

So yes it is very possible and very real for us to be busy but not always at the DNA. We do come and go just like the wild ones. There’s not a pattern you could use to hunt us!

To be everything to everyone isn’t possible. But the DNA never set out to accomplish that! We offer to meet you at the level you are at and go from there! But you do need to let us know you are coming and what you have in mind!

Want to learn the basics about staying safe in the desert? Over here! Want some place to take a family member or friend all by themselves and show them cool desert stuff? Over here! Want to learn about anatomy ? Over here!!

The 3 Ts

It’s okay to be different. We fully embrace all that is unique and wonderful about being different, being special . Different is harder to describe. But different is what we are.

Much like a Crested Saguaro, you might have to go out of your way, make plans and drive to see one but it’s worth it.

Contact us for your trip to the DNA’s Museum.

Compare Contrast Videos from the DNA

Next Educational Video Coming SOON From The
Desert Nature Alliance
“Compare and Contrast:
Coyote vs Your Spoiled Dog”
In this video we will explore some obvious and not so obvious ways we treat these two canine relatives SO differently. Get ready. I’m not going into this one with soft gloves.
If you haven’t already, head over to YouTube to our channel ( oh so Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance) and watch a few of my education conversations. All are designed to be used in conjunction with classroom learning,#stem and #steam education. the DNA has created lessons to help you follow along.

You can find lessons on our website Not designed for small children or sensitive viewers due to the graphic nature of some of the discussions and examples shown, yet entry level so all of us who are interested in science, nature, biology ect. can share ideas, learn and grow. Use our videos for your own lectures or classes ! Please contact us with ideas or topics we could cover. Videos from us directly to your classroom are available. Please support our mission by donating today 💚🌵☀️ #compareandcontrast #coyote #domestic #wild #canine #dog fund us now on tik tok, Instagram, FB, WordPress, Linkd, and our YouTube channel.

Guided Tour of Our New Storefront for the Desert Nature Alliance

As a newly developed nature based nonprofit who devotes itself to loving this desert here in Gold Canyon AZ and keeping us all safely enjoying it, I would like to invite you to follow me on this tour and experience what we have to offer. Being small and brand new, any support you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Come Visit Me!

Open Thursdays and Fridays 12-8pm Saturdays and Sunday’s 9-6pm.


Desert Cred

I’m born and raised desert. Born in Las Vegas raised in the deserts of Southern California. I am one of a handful of people who can actually say they lived in Baker CA.

Not Bakersfield.

Baker. “The Gateway to Death Valley” is what the sign says if you stop there for soda or gas on your way to or from Las Vegas off the 15. Baker has a huge thermometer telling you it’s hot. Not much else to see. Death Valley is the obviously more famous attraction.

Our family lived there for a couple of years when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade. My father worked for the phone company. They housed roughly 30 families out in the middle of nowhere Baker so the workers could go to the different mountains and probably set up the stations and towers most of us use for phone services today. Or I could be entirely wrong and whatever they worked on 40 years ago has been replaced by a tiny machine. Truly no clue. None the less it was why I lived in Baker in the 70’s and was really the start of me being a desert kid. I remember catching lizards with some of the other kids and bringing them home to mom hoping to get to keep them as a pets.

From there work moved my father and everyone else in our Baker compound, ugh I probably forgot to mention, the houses where we were lived were all built in this community type style fenced in as a group. It became a minimum security prison later or so I was told! Any way they moved everyone to the High Desert. Victorville, Hesperia and Apple Valley. Dad built our house in Hesperia.

One of my chores growing up was weeding. Mostly tumble weeds but the usual prickly bad guys were there too. In oversized gloves dad had already used countless times that were full of thorns I would be sent to a section of fencing to clear along. Oh man my dad would get mad if I just broke the top of the weed off and didn’t try to get the root and all. I am not lying he would check. This is the same man who would say “Good afternoon.” to me at 9 am on a Saturday and scowl because I had slept in so late.

I lost part of my pinkie finger in an accident at the dump due to yard work. It’s a long story I will write at another time when safety becomes a topic.

What took me way too long to get at is I’m by no means a professional desert anything. I am not a plant/cactus expert, nature guru, whatever nor am I claiming to be or even in school to become any of that. No, I have just lived and done yard work in the desert a really long time so hopefully when I say it’s hot out or don’t touch that or you probably shouldn’t it’s with some old school desert credibility.

Here in AZ we have plants and animals that only live in this desert. I want to share some pretty awesome stuff with those of you who may never make it to this part of the world. Or maybe I can inspire you to come see it and experience it yourself.

In the roughly three weeks we have been in our new home I already have stories… and its with that I bring you this blog.