Born in England, Jane 'Spider' Fawke grew up watching American Westerns at a Saturday morning program near where she lived. It wasn't John Wayne who captured her attention, but the beautiful vistas of Monument Valley in the background.
Growing up poor, Jane gravitated to the fashion scene in Paris after graduating from the Royal College of Art with a Masters in Fashion & Textile Design. After some encouragement from a friend, Jane moved to New York.
Jane came to America after 10 years in the ready-to-wear industry in Paris, France and speaks fluent French and Italian. She designed in the US for another 15 years. Then, sensing the onslaught of 'throw-away' fashion, Jane pursued her second dream, to become a Park Ranger. She started by volunteering to be on a team that spent long hours daily creating defensible space - clearing weeds, grass and brush. The first day she came home exhausted and after a good night sleep, woke up excited to return and continue her work the next day.
Soon a permanent position opened and Jane was hired by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency in Thousand Oaks in 2002.
Jane and her husband, Alan, bought their desert home in 2005, and moved here full time in 2015, two years after her retirement.
Jane received her Desert Naturalist Certificate from UC Riverside in May of this year and does a lot of volunteer work with kids – and recently worked with the JT Clean Team, cleaning up Tortoise Island in downtown Joshua Tree.
In this episode, Jane also tells a story about an early tortoise sighting at her property and the interpretation from a friend, a Hopi Chief.