The Living Desert’s mission is desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation.
The objectives of The Living Desert are:
We are a non-profit, 501c3 (exempt from taxation) organization with a volunteer Board of Trustees (40), and a paid CEO/President.
The Living Desert’s Board of Trustees is made up of business and community leaders who work with the organization to secure gifts for capital, programming and endowment expansion. Its purpose is to support and enhance zoological programs by providing facilities, funds and advice. The President and the Trustees oversee the Zoo Endowment which helps to provide long-term stability for The Living Desert.
The Living Desert was established in 1970 by several trustees of the Palm Springs Desert Museum who foresaw the impact that resort development would have on their local desert ecosystem. This foresight led to an interpretive nature trail and preserve in Palm Desert. Among the trustees was Philip L. Boyd who also founded the Riverside campus of the University of California and the Deep Canyon Research Station in Palm Desert. Among his first tasks was to hire a resident naturalist. This person turned out to be a young woman with energy, intelligence and ambition, as well as experience as a zoo keeper and park ranger, plus graduate work in wildlife biology. Karen Sausman was President and CEO of The Living Desert for forty years and has recently retired. The vision that built The Living Desert and the love of the desert shared by Phillip Boyd, Karen Sausman, our members, volunteers, staff, trustees, and friends, will be carried forward by our new President and CEO, Allen Monroe.
For almost four decades The Living Desert has been engaged in the important work of preserving, conserving and interpreting the desert and all its varied plant and animal life. Even as we take immense pride in our accomplishments over the last forty years, we remain as dedicated as ever to the goals that initially inspired us when we first began operations in March of 1970.