BARSTOW Kids who want to learn more about the Mojave Desert's plants and animals are invited to join a free after school program at the Desert Discovery Center, which is now taking applications for the 2011 program called "Discovering the Mojave Desert."

The program involves learning about science, history and art, said Jane Laraman-Brockhurst, coordinator for the project. The program will be run by Main St. Murals and will also involve volunteers and teachers from the National Parks Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Laraman-Brockhurst said this year's program will involve field trips to learn about the desert's flora and fauna, as well as a desert cleanup and land stewardship program.

Laraman-Brockhurst said the first half of the project will consist of learning about the Mojave Desert's plants and animals, including monitoring the population of an endangered fish and learning about desert tortoises. The second half of the project will allow students to express what they learned through painting and sculpting.

Children signed up for the project will be able to participate in several field trips to the desert, as well as a planned cleanup of El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle area in May, said Laraman-Brockhurst.

Main St. Murals has been helping run the youth program at the Desert Discovery Center for five years now and expect to have about 25 students in their program this year.

To apply for the program or for more information, please contact Jane Laraman-Brockhurst at (760) 257-1052 or visit

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