By Crystal Harrell
The Friends of the Desert Mountains’ annual Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival is bringing in spring for the entire month of March. Normally a bustling community event, Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival 2021 is blossoming into an exotic hybrid of online activities and individualized outdoor challenges to raise awareness of the many wildflowers throughout the Coachella Valley—always with an emphasis on exploring and supporting the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
While this virtual event will be different this year, the mix of fun activities planned makes the Festival even more accessible to anyone wanting to connect to the land in the Coachella Valley. Tammy Martin, Executive Director of Friends of the Desert Mountains, believes that although this year’s Wildflower Festival is different from previous celebrations, participating and staying active is still very important amid an isolating pandemic.
“The goal of staying active is what inspired us to create all these different activities and expanding the event throughout the entire month of March. Normally the Wildflower Festival lasts only a day, but we wanted to make it an accessible family event to get involved with nature,” expressed Martin.
There are several activities planned throughout the month. Participants can walk, hike, run, ride, or roll 30 miles in 30 days for 30 dollars in the 30x30x30. Participants will have their own unique fundraising page on the Friends of the Desert Mountains website, and all who complete the minimum earn a special CVWF t-shirt.
There is also a handy Field Guide to Coachella Valley Flowers that can be downloaded on the website to help increase how many blooms can be identified among the wildflowers. Participants are encouraged to post pictures on social media with the hashtag #VirtualSuperBloom to share the unique beauty of wildflowers with the world.
The Friends of the Desert Mountains are also setting up Scavenger Hunts all over the Coachella Valley in March and a Silent Auction to wrap up March madness with fun auction prizes. A Youth Art Contest will be held for age groups of 4-6 years old, 7-9 years old, and 10-12 years old to be creative and create a piece of art that relates to the desert, such as trees, animals, or plants. There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each age bracket.
A Native Cooking Demo will provide lessons on creating mesquite bars taught by Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians while Solar Astronomy enables participants to pop in for a quick lesson and chat regarding astronomy with a local astronomer.
“The Wildflower Festival is an outreach event to get others involved in the organization—and that can be anywhere from volunteering or doing research or hikes. At the start of the pandemic, many people were afraid to go out, but now there are many who want to embrace being out in the open and enjoy the environment safely,” stated Martin.
For more information, visit the official Wildflower Festival website at www.desertmountains.org.