Our meeting brought to order by President David at 12:15 PM promptly.  The Pledge was said and the Invocation given.  Guests and visitors included: Bill Kolstad -South Tahoe Club, Lyn Grant-Calgary South, Daniel Dyck –Hutchison, KS, Norm Ligeri-Calgary South, Bruce McAuley-Mercer Isl., WA, G. Kachlain-Ellensburg, WA, Bob Weber-Seattle #4, WA, Bob Lehrer-Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Dick Chamberlain-Bothel, WA.

Dick Anderson reminded members of their Paul Harris pledge and suggested that the least painful way to give is to sign up for TRF Direct.  When you do, make sure your pledge goes to the Annual SHARE Fund.  As an added bonus, RI will double your foundation points for all recurring contributions between April 1 and July 1, 2012.

President David reminded everyone of our upcoming "Garage Sale" on Saturday, March 31.  He passed around a signup sheet.  This is a club fund raiser and we need a good turnout.  Doug Motz repeated the announcement concerning the upcoming Rotary Club Social to be held on April 5th at the PGA West Greg Norman Clubhouse at 5:30 PM.

Helen Anderson announced that a group of our RYLA and PRYDE students were preparing 10,000 meal-sized bags of non-perishable, health and nutritious dried food items to be distributed to the hungry, homeless and undernourished of our valley.  Bruce Underwood carried the basket and the club donated $240.00 for this great peoject.  Helen also noted that “Doctors Without Borders” will be visiting the Thermal area to provide their services to our many needy neighbors in that area.

Fine master, Allan Levin extracted Fines for the Day from Nick Kraushaar ($35), Greg Lane, and Andy Lorenz were each nabbed for $5 and Dan Fissori unwillingly parted with a miserly $3.00.

Rotarian Christy Salamone, Executive Director of the LQ Arts Foundation, excitedly informed the group that this year’s Festival was the most successful, with the gate receipts up 24% over last year.  Record art sales as well, pleased the many exhibiting artists.  They have been able to present over $1Million in scholarships to deserving area students in the combined annual monies raised at the festival.  She presented our club with a $500 check and enthusiastically thanked Rotary for our assistance in sorting and distributing lunches to the Artists at the LQAF.

Bruce Cathcart informed us that the Palm Desert Palms to Pines Club will be hosting a “Magic Nite” on April 2nd.  Cards were on our tables.  Professional Magicians from the “LA Magic Palace” will entertain. It will be held at 5:00 PM at the Joslyn Senior Center, 73-750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert.  Bruce also informed us that Cori, one of our wonderful servers at our Friday Cliff House luncheons, was recently a runway model in a well attended local charity fashion show event.  Congratulations, Cori!

Our program was presented by John Purcell, Executive Director of “Friends of the Desert Mountains”.  They are a non-profit Conservation and Nature Preservation group in the Coachella Valley, tracing its origin from the 1920’s. He thanked Rotary in general for the several times in his Grade School and High School days (50 years ago), as he was growing up in Palm Springs, in which the Palm Springs and other local clubs funded his group to attend many educational and fun events in and around Southern California. He exhibited a very high level of knowledge about the valley and the local mountains, and the flora and fauna that thrive there in the now well-protected ecosystems and habitats in these 1.2 million acres.  We learned that the famous “Fringe-toed Lizard”, about which we often hear in the press, is extremely important in that the Coachella Valley is the only area in the world where they exist and can thrive as a protected species.