Jeff and Rey are greeted by Cory Corry and Adrian
 
As members moseyed in from the humid SoCal weather, President Tom McDermott Called the meeting to order at 12:15 and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance; assuring that everyone had their “hand over heart.”
Sandy Stewart — with an amazing new hair style — gave a brief, yet heart-felt invocation requesting a watchful eye for our Law Enforcement and First Responders, as they need it now more than ever. Sandy also managed to slip in a request for a break in the miserable, humid weather.
 
Unfortunately, we had no visiting Rotarians this week.
Cory Kelly’s guest was one of our former guest speakers, Courtney Bateman from Live High End.
President Tom had several announcements: First of all, we will be “dark” for the entire month of August and also our first previously scheduled meeting in September on the 2nd.  Rotary will be hosting 2 Social Events this August, both at the Cliff House and both starting at 5:30 PM.  The first will be on August 11th and the second will be on August 25th.  The cost is $15 per person and family and friends are invited.  Please RSVP so we can give the Cliff House a head count! There will also be a Craft Beer event called “The Brew in La Quinta” where we will be serving up some delicious beers. This will take place at SilverRock Resort August 25th, from 11am to 5pm.
Victoria was on point this week, delivering a math joke which was both tasteful and appropriate. Being the scholar she is, Victoria decided that a math joke would be enlightening… “Why was the math book sad? She asked, “it simply had too many problems”.
Adrian Gysi won the raffle. There was a $160 in the pot, but Adrian pulled a green marble for $5 in winnings. Many have concluded that Adrian (who also sells the raffle tickets) has been fixing the raffle in order to favor his own pocket book, but he assured us that no foul-play is afoot and donated his winnings back to the club.
Allan Levin, our glorious and extremely thorough Fine Master seemed to have more trouble than usual persuading club offenders to own up to their fines. Secretary Cory Kelly neglected to provide a written statement of no-makeups and ended up having to tattle publicly — Dick Jandt and Bruce Franklin both paid for their no-makeups. Allan discussed Helen Anderson’s birthday, for which both she and her husband Dick Anderson needed to atone since her birthday falls between now and our next meeting — which Allan felt needed to be spelled out yet again to the entire club; it seems as though Allan may be becoming more “thorough” as time goes on. Bruce Cathcart also paid for his upcoming birthday which cost him $1 per year this time around. Corry Hunter was fined for not wearing his Rotary pin, and Nick Kraushaar donated some happy dollars for Hillary Clinton clenching the Democratic nomination; although we still aren't quite sure whether or not he was being genuine.
 
Our speaker today was present on behalf of a rather fascinating organization, The Living Desert. Kerry Berman, a volunteer tour guide started with a brief story about how he came to the desert.  He moved here in the 1973 after being a tunnel rat in the Vietnam War, where he lost his hearing. This led him to making a joke about his position with The Living Desert: his loss of hearing allowing him to pretend that he doesn’t hear a question when he doesn't know the answer!  He quickly gave Rotary a great compliment and commended our club and others for the contributions that we make to our communities. After that, he dove head first into the history of The Living Desert. 
 
Living Desert’s Mission is what Kerry calls PEA: Preservation, Education, and Appreciation. 
 
Phillip and Dorothy Boyd were married in 1926, and while Phil was the first Mayor of Palm Springs in 1938. Phil also played a vital role in the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway project. He and Dorothy donated 3,200 acres of land in 1970 to be built out for The Living Desert.
 
The Living Desert features a model railroad which covers nearly an entire acre. In 1876 the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed trans-continentally which included a route from Los Angeles into Indio and was instrumental in the development of the Coachella Valley; this is why the Living Desert has this model train on their location.
 
The Living Desert is currently on a 1200 acre site, of which 200 acres are developed.  In 1983 Living Desert introduced the first African animal — the slender horned gazelle. African animals were brought here because the climate here in our “Sonoran Desert” is one of the most similar to that of the Sahara Desert (since we are on the same latitude). The site also features a 17,000 square foot hospital for the animals, which cost a staggering $7 million.  All animals receive an annual checkup, which can actually be observed via monitors placed around the entryway in the hospital. Emergency care is also available, and Kerry states that the hospital has medical equipment comparable to that of the Eisenhower Medical Center. The hospital is also outfitted with a state-of-the-art emergency button which sounds an alarm in case any of the rattlesnakes get loose.
On-site they also have a maternity ward which cares for newborns in the springtime and features many interesting creatures such as warthogs, fox, and lambs. The giraffe is by far one of the most popular exhibits. A giraffe’s tongue is 18 inches long, which gives them the ability to detach acacia leaves (their favorite treat), and is strong enough to not be punctured by the thorns.
The primary goal of Living Desert is to save animals from extinction. When the facility first started the animals were kept in small cages, but as they began to expand and make it more about the animals rather than for the enjoyment of the human onlookers, the enclosures grew larger and allowed for more freedom of movement. They have recently added a small desert carnivore enclosure which hosts elusive creatures such as the sand cat, and the bat eared fox. This facility is not yet fully functioning, but it is being built so that they can help these endangered carnivores reproduce while ensuring that they are genetically strong. 
Eagle canyon is for the North American animals such as coyotes, bobcats, Meerkats, and the Ring-tailed cat, which are nocturnal. The coyotes were abandoned by their mother during heavy storms so they were taken in for the purpose of preservation. These young coyotes are both shy and nervous. Previously, there was only one very old coyote, but now they have the young for people to enjoy for years to come.
Other features of the Living Desert include: Gecko Gulch, Palo Verde Garden (where you can actually buy plants), The Coyote Cafe, The Discovery Center (atop the PSAT), and the Butterfly Pavilion — during season, among many more.
 
One of the most exciting of the revamped features is the Cheetah enclosure, which hosts 5 female cheetahs. These animals are very elusive and also great hunters; which is a skill that they willingly display on a daily basis by “stalking” their prey (typically children) as it walks by their enclosure.
 
Kerry shared some information about rates before wrapping up, so if you're interested, don't hesitate to take advantage of these great offers:
 
Join at $79.95 and your tax write-off is $62
Join during summer and it comes out to only $25
 
For more information on the Living Desert Reserve visit their website at www.livingdesert.org.
As a final parting gift, Kerry wanted to share a few words which inspire him:
 
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
 
President Tom adjourned the meeting with the 4-way test at 1:30.
This newsletter was written by Cory Kelly, our newest scribe.  Thank you Cory, you did a GREAT job and will make a welcome addition to our writing staff!