Survival Skills PosterStart the New Year with four “Desert Survival Skills” classes with the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park.

February 28 – March 1, Navigating with Map and Compass – Navigation specialist, Thomas Coyne will teach participants how to navigate using a map and compass in this two-day hands-on field class. Participants will learn the basics of topography, map reading, and the history of navigation during the Friday evening lecture and then spend all-day Saturday in the field.

March 2, Desert Survival – Thomas Coyne will offer suggestions and strategies to manage your mind in survival situations and how to set priorities when stakes are high. Some of the topics covered include: survival kits, edible and dangerous plants, water location, signaling, as well as desert hazards such as flash floods, venomous creatures, and heat-related injuries. The class will combine outdoor hands-on practice with classroom lecture.

March 15 – 16, GPS Navigation Techniques – David Pylman, navigation specialist, will teach participants GPS basics including how to navigate through the myriad of menus, options, and features found on their devices. More importantly, participants will also learn the limitations of GPS technology. Sunday, the class will move to field, focusing on hands-on learning experiences through practical exercises. Participants will pinpoint their location, mark waypoints, plot courses and create routes in the wilderness of the park.

April 5 – 6, Tracking in Joshua Tree National Park – Jim Lowery, primitive skills teacher and author of The Tracker’s Field Guide, will teach and refine fundamental tracking skills. This two-day class will explore the natural world through animal tracking, sign identification, and awareness techniques. Lowery will explain how to translate patterns found in the desert sand into animals’ stories in Joshua Tree National Park. This class will be entirely field based in order to provide abundant “dirt time” focusing on following trails, interpreting tracks and signs and even learning to read mood and body language of desert animals through their trails.

For more information go here: and scroll down to “Desert Survival Classes”.


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