Past Meetings

 Welcome to the Ridgecrest Chapter of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club.

Ideally, this blog will summarize previous meetings and events for those unable to make it, and will provide reminders for upcoming events.

Check back here to find out what's going on at the club!

view:  full / summary


Posted by Sue on November 19, 2020 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Call to Order: 7 pm

Present: Seven people attended wearing masks & practicing social distancing.


Discussion: President Bob brought in three metal signs for the Tortoise Enclosure at the Maturango Museum. Dave Kurdeka knew of a company in San Francisco that made these signs. Bob provided the pictures & information. We were happy with the beautiful pictures & the wording on the new signs!

One detail on the first sign featured the names of the tortoises living in the enclosure, which are Peaches, Starfall, Dash & Shlow-Mo. The second sign was entitled “Natural History of the Mojave Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)” with relevant information. The third sign talked about appropriate tortoise food for captive tortoises & rules about wild tortoises. Also, the CTTC Chapters were listed with their addresses so people can contact a chapter. It is best for the public to contact a chapter in their area if they have questions about tortoises, membership & meeting times. One alarming fact on the signs stated that “only 2% of baby tortoises become adults”! The next step is to have metal supports to lay the signs on & install them around the enclosure.

Events: There will be a monthly meeting for the Kerncrest Audubon Club for a limited number of people at the museum If it is still open, with the rest of the participants meeting via Zoom. The meeting will be held on Thursday, November 19th at 7 pm featuring Susan Steele & her photos of wild flowers of the Eastern Sierras & John Muir Wilderness. Please contact the Audubon Club if you would like to join in on the meeting as there are also limited spots on the Zoom application.

Next Meeting: TBA

Adjourned: 7:45 pm


Posted by Sue on October 30, 2020 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

5:01:  We met outdoors in the Maturango Museum garden. Five people attended masked & distanced.

Executive Board Meeting:

The Executive Board met Saturday the 10th via Zoom from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bob & Sue talked with other Board members about procedures, legal issues, & updating the By-Laws. Bob will send something about the By-Laws to club members. The Board meets four times a year & there are 13 Chapters. It is encouraged that anyone with questions can have them submitted on-line to the Board especially if time sensitive.

Elections of officers was held. Three people (Don, Robin,  & Javier) said “yes”, & will continue serving as President, Vice President & Treasurer. The Nomination Committee chairman offered to fill the Secretary position. The slate of officers was approved.


Yearly membership fees are due this month. Those present renewed.

General meeting:

Dave K. has ordered the informational signs for the museum tortoise enclosure. We need to decide where they will be placed, & how high they will stand. Supports need to be ordered. Bob has names to contact.

We talked about our own tortoises, which ones have gone into their burrows to brumate or not for the coming winter season. The warm temperatures have kept many active.

If a tortoise’s issued sticker gets lost, you can always put the tortoise’s official number on a plain sticker & epoxy that one on the back of the shell.

If anyone happens to travel to Chino, could they pick up pamphlets from Lynda Misiak. She has CTTC brochures for each chapter (about 500 each). It is too costly to ship to each chapter.

The Animal Shelter had some tortoises, but the Parkers’ enclosure is full. Amy took them.

Susan Steele will be the guest lecturer for the Kerncrest Audubon group November 19th. for those interested.

Next meeting:  November 12

Should we have a Zoom meeting?  



Posted by Sue on October 3, 2020 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The meeting began at 6:00 p.m. at the Maturango Museum’s outdoor amphitheater. It was held outdoors in order to comply with the current Covid-19 pandemic safety standards guidelines. Five people were in attendance with masks & social distancing.

Treasurer’s Report

Our scholarship awarded through Cerro Coso Community College is ready.  $5,000 is in a perennial account that will award $500 each year (amount can be changed each year) while the rest is invested to continue the award.

The club still has a fair amount in the bank account. We plan to spend some of these funds for informational kiosks to be placed at the tortoise enclosure at the Maturango Museum.  Bob has been designing three signs, & Dave K. has suggested someone who could make signs at a reasonable cost of $200 - $300 each. Another possibility is a local artist that might be contacted to make the signs.

General Meeting Notes

We talked about the scholarship details. We wondered if we should somehow get a picture of the recipient if that is allowed &/or if the student is willing to give permission, to submit a small article to the Tortuga Gazette. Sue spoke with a director of the CCCC Foundation. When the scholarship is awarded, the recipient will be asked if (s)he would be willing for the publicity. If yes, Sue will be contacted to make the arrangements.

Examples of possible designs for kiosks were passed around for consideration & suggestions. One example of a sign was titled  “Natural History Information of the Mojave Desert Tortoise”.

Debbie P. has offered to oversee membership for the club. Members might hear from her soon. Memberships are due for renewal in October. Family memberships cost $35, Individuals $25, Students $15. Please mail your check to the club's PO Box 1272.

There will be a Beginner's Bird Walk at Cerro Coso Community College led by Kerncrest Audubon members on Saturday the 26th at 8am. Details are in the Daily Independent newspaper.

Bob mentioned the possibility of offering a program here at the Maturango Museum Amphitheater. We would practice safe distancing and follow current health guidelines.

The Audubon Club will have a program on Condors via Zoom on Thursday night. If it is under 40 minutes, then there is no charge to the Audubon club. Tortoise club members are welcome to attend.

The Desert Tortoise Council workshop for November has been filmed using our tortoises as the "stars". The DTC is presenting "Introduction to Desert Tortoises & Field Techniqueson" via Zoom this year. It is usually held in Ridgecrest. For information & registration go to:   https://deserttortoise.org/training-programs/introductory-course/

Suggested by a member: maybe we could arrange a party outdoors that could start between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. for the October meeting. Attendees would bring their own refreshments to eat on their own. Masks & social distancing of course.

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 pm



Posted by Sue on October 3, 2020 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Scholarship discussion


Posted by Sue on March 18, 2020 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (3)

Call to order:  7:30 p.m. with eight people in attendance.

Guest speaker: Judy Fair-Spaulding spoke to us on behalf of the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area at Cal City.  Saturday the 14th will be DTPC’s (Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee’s) clean-up day in the desert tortoise area. They plan to rake up leaves and use the “hula hoe”.  If you can help, meet at the Interpretive Center between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Later at the end of March, the DTPC will have a Grand Re-Opening featuring their upgraded information kiosks. On March 22nd, the local Audubon group will be taking a tour of the DTRNA. The place is located near the Mojave/Randsburg Road.

Discussion: Tonight’s meeting was mainly about future events as we will join the Kerncrest Audubon’s program next week on March 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Maturango Museum.  Dr. Brittany Slabach of the DTPC will talk about the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area including land acquisitions and restoration activities at the site.
(***At the time of this typing, the program has been canceled due to Coronavirus precautions.  Brittany Slabach from the DTPC says she will be happy to give her lecture at a later date.)

The 45th anniversary of the DTPC will be on Saturday with a luncheon and a program in Lancaster. On Sunday will be the DTPC 45th anniversary celebration. (***At the time of this typing, the luncheon on the 28th is canceled, but the special 45th anniversary on the 29th is still on).

Members are encouraged to sign up for several weeks or a month during the summer to feed the tortoises at the Maturango Museum Tortoise Enclosure. In April, Bob will feed the tortoises. Members and interested individuals are encouraged to sign up for May, June, July or August. They need to be fed twice a week. Some suggestions for food would be mulberry leaves, old greens from home, collard greens, kale, dandelions, and non-poisonous weeds. You may try different types of food.

Treasurer: We have enough money this year to do some special projects.
At previous meetings, we all agreed that a scholarship for a graduating Cerro Coso Community College student transfering to a 4 year institution majoring in Environmental and/or Biological Science was a good way to spend some of the funds that our club has received.  Sue had sent out emails to club members outlining the information she gathered for criteria and the best way to provide scholarships. She requested some feedback on how the scholarships should be handled. She handed out a copy of the CTTC Scholarship Proposal information plus a copy of a student application form for us to review. We would evaluate prospective applicants' future goals and look at their grade point average. The club agreed that we would like to choose students continuing full time. The amount of the scholarship may be $500 or whatever the club ultimately decides on. Also, a perpetual scholarship (as opposed to a one-time scholarship that we would have to organize ourselves) would be the best option as the Cerro Coso Foundation would manage the investment and disbursement over several years.

Adoptions: Bob mentioned that there are lots of tortoises ready for adoption.

Adjourned: 8:35 p.m.



Posted by Sue on January 15, 2020 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Call to Order: 7:30 p.m.  8 people present

Treasurer’s Report:
   At the last Quarterly Executive Board meeting held in Arcadia on January 11th, yearly dues for each Chapter was raised due to increased management costs. The Investment Committee for the CTTC inheritance reported a very large increase on investment overall this year. Discussion followed that the chapters should see an increase in this year's award ending in a vote that will award each Chapter $4,000. Our chapter had another member sign up for a life membership last month.
   In response to this news, ideas for using these funds were discussed. It would be nice to provide a scholarship for a student who is majoring in biological science at Cerro Coso Community College. A couple of suggestions were to start with a $1,000 scholarship or two $500 scholarships. Sue will contact Cerro Coso to ask about the process & details  to giving scholarships. 
   There is also a 2 day workshop offered yearly by the Desert Tortoise Council held in Ridgecrest in early November. Titled "Introduction to Desert Tortoises & Field Techniques" it is designed for wildlife biologists, zoologists, natural resource specialists, wildlife managers, land managers, recreation specialists, persons dealing with the public, teachers, & the general public. There was discussion about a possibility of offering a scholarship paying the cost for an interested member or someone local interested in attending. Our club has provided tortoises for the hands-on field techniques.
   Another idea for using our funds would be to renew or replace the sign at the tortoise enclosure at the Maturango Museum. Informational kiosks are in the planning stages to be placed at the enclosure. Perhaps, we could include the names of the tortoises on the sign: Starful, Schlo-mo, Peaches, and Dash. A contest was held by the museum to name the 4 new residents, with a drawing for the winning names. It was mentioned that children who visit the museum are always asking about the names of the tortoises.

Program: “Adventures of the Ridgecrest Tortoise Club” by Bob Parker

   President Bob Parker put together a delightful power point presentation showing information about our mission & the outreach activities of our club over the past ten years!
   Important tortoise groups working for the welfare of tortoises in our area are the California Turtle and Tortoise Club, Desert Tortoise Council, Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Inc., & the Tortoise Group.
   Bob, Sue, Montynne & others have volunteered their time to attend events throughout the years. They have talked to people about tortoises, answered questions, handed out pamphlets & provided adoption forms. Posters, business cards, website & email addresses of tortoise organizations help the public learn about tortoise habitats & behavior. Plus, a Tortoise Care Sheet was developed to illuminate facts about proper feeding & housing for adopted tortoises. Often, the club brings live tortoises to events so people can see them up close. It has been important to make people aware of protecting tortoises & to encourage individuals to adopt homeless tortoises that cannot be returned to the wild. 

   Some examples of the events the club has participated in over the years are: Earth Days at Cerro Coso Community College and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Red Rock Canyon Campfire Talks, Moose Anderson Days at Jawbone Station, a Girl Scouts’ special event at a park, California City Tortoise Days, the Orange County Turtle and Tortoise Show in La Habra, the DTC Tortoise Handling Workshop, the Wildflower Festival, the Petroglyph Festival, & the Tortoise Habitat enclosure at the Maturango Museum. The BLM has brochures has worked with the club at some of these events, as well as Maturango Museum.
   Our local Club donated $600 to help Zach the Eagle Scout toward completing his project of building the tortoise enclosure at the Maturango Museum. Bob & has planted some native plants in the enclosure for the four tortoises.
   At the Orange County Show our club has had an informational booth. The show at various times featured the 3 largest species: Galapagos, Aldabra, & Sulcata tortoises. One year they had Michael Jackson’s Aldabra tortoise visit.
   At the DTC workshop, there is up to a hundred people studying & practicing tortoise handling under the guidance of Peter Woodman. This event takes place in November in Ridgecrest & costs about $300.  Participants perform field techniques while wearing gloves & using sterilized tools to record biological data on tortoises.  Participants also practice monitoring & surveying by transects in a prepared field in order to look for fake (Styrofoam) tortoises, burrows, & scat.
   "Thanks, Bob, for an entertaining presentation! We all loved the photoshopped pictures of the “giant” creatures in our desert! 

Adjourned: 8:30 p.m.

Next Meeting: Monday, 7:30 p.m.  February 10, 2020, at the Maturango Museum.



Posted by Sue on January 14, 2020 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Call to Order: 7 p.m.

Our club along with Kerncrest Audubon Society sponsored speaker Tim Shields, founder of Hardshell Labs. Tim, a desert biologist, has 35+ years experience in the field, surveying & observing. He decided to refocus from study only to action. He is established as a leader in threatened desert tortoise population management. Most recently he led development & demonstration projects for HSL’s innovative avian deterrence technologies & processes with leading agencies & corporations involved with desert conservation in southern California including: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Raven Management Working Group, Desert Tortoise Council, Desert Tortoise Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management & utility companies with power powers in the affected conservation areas.

Hard Shell Lab's mission is to find "humane avian damage control". He described development & showed several deterrence devices he has used in Ridgecrest for Raven deterrence. His talk was animated & interesting with many staying afterwards to ask further questions & see his "tortoise bombs" & drones.

Adjourned: 8:30 p.m.


Posted by Sue on January 12, 2020 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Call to Order: 7:35 p.m.
Present: 9

The club welcomed some new members & guests. Each participant introduced themselves & spoke about their tortoises or about their interest in the club. Membership forms were given out to a few people.
Members were reminded about renewing their memberships for the year.

President Bob Parker talked about using clear epoxy over the permit sticker when putting it onto the tortoise. The museum has tortoises which the club has adopted. Tortoises will eat mulberry leaves & collard greens. Before brumation, a tortoise should have an empty stomach as the food might rot in their stomachs. Sometimes, the club has sulcatas for adoption.

A guest who had found a tortoise had a few questions on its care.  Q: What about winter? A: The tortoise is better off in a burrow. Putting straw in the entrance protects the opening & allows air to flow in & out. Refer to the website, “Ridgecrest Tortoise Club”. Bob passed out brochures. A tortoise stops eating in the fall, then goes into its burrow. Males in the wild fight over territory. It’s fine to keep a tortoise solitary. Dandelion greens are good. Kale is okay but the kale has a lot of water in it from the store. There is a list from Jawbone Canyon about food. “The Tortoise Table” is a good UK website.

Bob presented a short program on local critters in preparation for Dr. Phil Leitners’s Mojave ground squirrel program on the 29th of October. Dr. Leitner is an authority on Mojave ground squirrels. The lecture is sponsored by Kerncrest Audubon & our club. The lecture is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Maturango Museum.

Many different desert living creatures were featured in the PowerPoint, entitled “Burrows”. A few of the creatures mentioned were burrowing owls (who lay eggs in their burrows), wasps, desert iguanas, whiptail lizards, collard lizards, badgers, & kangaroo rats.

Mohave ground squirrels are differentiated from Antelope Valley ground squirrels by the lack of stripes on their sides. They hibernate & spend a lot of time underground, about nine months out of the year. This depends on the amount of rain in a season. If there is no food to eat, there are no babies.

More creatures featured in the PowerPoint were desert mice, rabbits (they do use burrows), jack rabbits/hares (they do not use burrows), reptiles (they use others’ burrows), & spiders (ex: tarantulas). The only poisonous snakes around here are the rattlesnakes.

Tortoises use burrows that are often under bushes (shade). Tortoises are diurnal. They might use the same burrow for 100 years!

Next meeting: 
The next meeting will be on Monday, November 11th at 7:00 p.m. A lecture by Tim Shields will be presented. Tim will talk about his raven studies which will include information about using laser technology & mechanical tortoises.

Adjourned:  8:30 p.m.



Posted by Sue on May 1, 2019 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Meeting started at 7:30 p.m. with 8 people attending.

The meeting was shorter than normal as the Audubon meeting on Wednesday will feature a special program of interest to the club. President Bob Parker told us about the lecture hosted by the Kerncrest Audubon Society on Wednesday, April 17th, at 7:00 p.m. here at the Maturango Museum. A representative from “The Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Gardens” in Palm Desert will talk about how ravens are causing a decrease in the tortoise populations.


We received two nice letters from the AmericanTortoise Rescue. The facility burned down in the Woolsey fires. The tortoises were safely removed before the fire decimated the facility. Our club sent $100 to help them rebuild. 

The Living Desert is providing a “Tortoise Trunk” that will be very useful at schools & community events. It's purpose is provide materials, games, etc. that will help educate the public on tortoises & their place in the environment. The trunk will be given to the local BLM office. It will be kept at the museum & be available for docents to use.

Bob adopted out a small tortoise to a family with kids. They decided on a small tortoise instead of a hatchling when they understood the shell is still soft & vulnerable & could easily be harmed with overhandling or dropping. 

There are 3 tortoises in the outside enclosure at the museum.  Bob mentioned that members could take turns feeding them during the summer. It would be nice if people would sign up for a month or even just a week to help out. The tortoises eat mulberry leaves & certain greens. Kale is heavily fertilized, so organic kale is better for them. Talk to Bob about a feeding turn.

Upcoming Dates:

Saturday, April 20th, is the Executive Board Meeting in Arcadia. The CTTC’s money has been invested very well. If we have a project, we could probably get a $1,000 to fund it. Possibly, we could spend it on a taxidermist to preserve a tortoise that has passed away in order to take it to educational events. We might offer a scholarship to a Cerro Coso student pursuing study in the biological or environmental sciences.

Monday, April 22nd, the Base will observe Earth Day from 9:30 a.m.-12:00, for 4th graders. Bob will talk for about 10 or 15 minutes about tortoises during the indoor program.  The museum will also attend. Bob & Sue will take tortoises to the outside grassy area for the students to look at after the program.

Saturday, April 27th, there will be a Bioregional Festival in Kernville. Bob is going to attend the Fest with the local Audubon group.  California City Tortoise Day is also on the same day.

Our May and June meetings are usually in the Leroy Jackson Park at an earlier hour of 6:00p.m. People may bring their tortoises if they want to. There will be no meeting in July. In August, there is the Orange County Tortoise Show.

Adjourned: 7:20pm


Posted by Sue on February 13, 2019 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Meeting started at 7:30 pm with 14 people attending.

Treasurer's Report: The CTTC Executive Board sent each chapter $1000 for special projects. Our club plans on putting 3 informational kiosks around the Tortoise Enclosure at the Maturango Museum. We may be able to interest an Eagle Scout looking for a project & offer support.

"Something Completely Different" - Cheetahs  Bob Parker presented a program on his summer job in 1972 in charge of the Cheetah Compound at Marine World, Africa USA in Redwood City. He not only covered facts on habitat, behavior, & speed, but added in some great stories of escapes, including a leap onto a passing tour boat. This lead to collars & leashes that could be grabbed as they dashed by, & also better fencing.
Following Bob, Lisa Lavelle shared photos of her month volunteering for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1998 in Namibia, Africa. This research & education center takes in orphaned cheetahs too young to have learned how to hunt & live wild. They also work with farmers educating them on alternative ways to discourage cheetahs from hunting livestock rather than trapping & shooting them. Cheetahs are diurnal & more visible than other predators & so more often tracked & killed.
Ray Kelso & Dave Kurdeka mentioned that some of their photos taken on African safari & other trips were on display in the Maturango Museum's gallery.

The March 11th program will feature Pete Woodman, a Biologist Consultant speaking & demonstrating field techniques including identifying sign as well as assessing desert tortoise health in the wild. He has offered a course at the Desert Tortoise Council Workshop held in November in Ridgecrest for many years. It is designed for wildlife biologists, zoologists, natural resource & recreation specialists, wildlife & land managers, persons dealing with the public, teachers, & the general public. Our club has provided tortoises for the field work for several years. In turn, our tortoises health is measured & we are able to assure our adopters that they are receiving a healthy pet.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.


Upcoming Events

Monday, Feb 8 at 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Monday, Feb 8 at 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Monday, Mar 8 at 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Monday, Mar 8 at 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Recent Blog Entries

by Sue | 0 comments
by Sue | 0 comments
by Sue | 0 comments
by Sue | 0 comments