Jacqueline Guevara | Ep 126

Forty years ago, stifled by life in a small Michigan town, Jacqueline Guevara's vibrant, fun-loving mother loaded her 1972 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and hit the road with her teen-aged daughter for a new start in Palm Springs. Driving into this desert oasis was Jacque's first experience with desert.

In this episode, Jacque describes working in the Palm Springs hospitality industry in the 1980's and the life skills she acquired in those jobs. A change in ownership lead to a subsequent lay-off from her job at the Palm Springs Country Club leaving Jacque jobless for the summer. With her sons out of town visiting their dad, Jacque wasn't sure what to do with the time on her hands when a friend teaching ceramics at Desert Arc invited Jacque to come and volunteer. Jacque was immediately hooked with the idea of helping people and suddenly found herself in a career in social work and, eventually, non-profit management.

Some of those positions required Jacque to travel frequently between Los Angeles and her home in the Morongo Basin - her description of the feeling of 'the day coming off you' as she climbed those grades will be relatable to those familiar with the route.

Jacque describes herself as a new and 'accidental conservationist' in her work with Mojave Desert Land Trust and eventually in her current role with the Joshua Tree National Park Association, where Jacque leads teams carrying out a number of initiatives from staffing the park's visitor centers to providing adult education opportunities through The Desert Institute. Jacque also gives us some insight into the the Association's role at the National Park, specifically where they take their cues and direction from and the part that plays in park operations, particularly shut-downs of the park.