Jennifer Jungwirth | Ep 133

Twenty years ago, Jennifer Jungwirth was just wrapping up her college education when she got a call to interview for a teaching position in Baker, CA. Then, the Morongo Valley Unified School District called. Jennifer came out to Yucca Valley and after 45 minutes of what Jennifer assumed was just friendly, casual conversation, the folks at YYHS offered her the job - and she accepted. This was Jennifer's first experience with desert.

In this episode, Jennifer says her friends thought it was 'cool' that she was moving to California, though Jennifer had not let on that she was moving to the Mojave Desert.

Of her first years in the desert, Jennifer admits, "I didn't get out much. I kept my head down honing my teaching craft".

Eventually adopting a dog, Jennifer started to make her way into the national park and then slowly became a faculty advisor to a number of clubs at YVHS, like ’S’ club – (Soroptimists), AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) and Gay Straight Alliance True Colors. She also joined in community service with the Morongo Basin Humane Society – no-kill animal shelter – leading her to develop their dog-walking program. After attending a meeting of Transition Joshua Tree and hearing about community gardening, she became involved with their monthly Community no-waste dinner and food program - currently on hiatus due to the Covid pandemic.

Jennifer admits there were a few times early in her career at YVHS she considered moving on from the desert. Now, 20 years later, Jennifer says she has learned to appreciate the desert's subtle seasonal changes and though she enjoys leaving the desert to travel to faraway places, she says, "it always calls me back".