Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Joshua Tree National Park: Overview, Issues, and Partnership Opportunities"

Mark A. Butler
Joshua Tree National Park

Thursday, February 13, 2014
11:30 -12:30
Bren Hall 1424

"Joshua Tree National Park is a national treasure that requires science-based protection to thrive. Park superintendent Mark Butler recognizes the worth inherent to the Bren School multi-disciplinary program and is interested in promoting a lasting relationship between Joshua Tree National Park and the Bren School." — Charlie Eckberg, Dean's Council Member host

One of the key challenges facing Joshua Tree National Park is the increasing level of large-scale urban and industrial development occurring adjacent to the park’s boundaries. This development is a concern, as it can lead to fragmentation and disruption of wildlife habitat and wildlife migration corridors. Such fragmentation can result in increased levels of genetic isolation among the park’s desert-dwelling animals such as mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and numerous varieties of insects, arachnids, and birds. Development immediately adjacent to the Park may also be a significant factor in how the park responds to climate change, especially if wildlife corridors that give animals room to roam in order to find food, water, shelter, and mates are impeded. It will be very important for the park to continue to work proactively with all communities on its boundary and within the region to encourage land use and development policies that can help protect the park. This talk will consist of an overview of the history of Joshua Tree National Park, including a discussion of the park’s origin, purpose, and significance.  There will also be a review of select critical issues facing the park and an outline of partnership opportunities.

Butler is a 37-year veteran of the National Park Service. His varied work experience includes manager of the Environmental Planning and Compliance Program, physical science specialist, American Indian Consultation Program supervisor, accessibility coordinator, Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act Program manager, search and rescue technician and "on-scene" SAR incident commander, hazardous materials and oil spill response coordinator, emergency medical technician, fire logistics crew supervisor, and Public Involvement Program coordinator. Before coming to Joshua Tree National Park in 2011, Butler served as the chief of project management at Yosemite National Park, where he was a member of the park's senior leadership team. In this capacity, he actively led and directed multiple highly complex programs and projects. Butler received his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California and his BS in Soil and Water Science and Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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