Joshua Tree


Action Joshua Tree: A History of Recreation at Joshua

For five years now, OTIS students in this course have worked with Joshua Tree National Park to produce creative projects that support the park. Every year presents a different project. Each class begins with research into subjects pertinent to the project as well as the park itself. They complete targeted exercises, study the park’s history, both cultural and natural, meet with park staff, and explore in the field. This class focuses on working with a client, developing and managing a project, harmonizing practice and theory, and generating useful and compelling creative solutions.


Learning by doing, students engage with the project and their client, Joshua Tree National Park, through on-site training, field studies, in-person meetings, and research. They go through all phases of a real-world design process including working in interdisciplinary teams, interactions with the partner, development of concepts and responses to feedback. Working in a variety of conditions, students learn to deal with field contingencies and time constraints, and client feedback to develop and deliver a finished product that addresses partner needs with creativity, insightfulness and intellectual rigor.


After exploration of variety of issues and a rigorous design process, student teams generate compelling and well-considered art and design solutions that communicate and function directly in the field area of address for any given semester.  Delivery of past projects include conceptual proposals for re-use of an underutilized site within the park, new exhibits exploring the history of recreation at the park, and the creation of an identity for the park’s new shuttle pilot program, the Roadrunner. The 2019 class is focusing on a project for Joshua Tree Search and Rescue.