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Navigating the Heart Locker
Navigating the Heart Locker

Sat, Sep 30


Location is TBD

Navigating the Heart Locker

Mil-Tree and Desert Institute invite veterans and civilians to experience an afternoon of personal reflection and communal heart-opening in Joshua Tree National Park.

Registration is closed
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Time & Location

Sep 30, 2023, 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM PDT

Location is TBD

About the Event


This special project is hosted by Mil-Tree and Desert Institute.

The wilderness is an extraordinary setting for deep reflection, and can be a place filled with pathways to healing and personal transformation. This special project invites veterans and civilian members of Mil-Tree to join Desert Institute and artist Eva Montville for an afternoon of personal reflection, communal heart-opening, and genuine connection to others and the world around us. Participants will gather in a safe, private setting within Joshua Tree National Park, for an opportunity to spend immersive time with Eva’s art installation, The Heart Locker – an experience that can touch the broken places in our hearts and awaken the potential for healing. This will be followed by time for reflective writing and a guided silent walk. We’ll finish the evening with shared reflections and group discussion.


The Heart Locker is an interactive mobile installation created by artist Eva Montville and is about heart opening, healing, and connection. It is rooted in Eva’s love of the Earth, and born out of her heartbreak over the planet-wide causes and consequences of Climate Change. Visitors to the installation connect with their own experiences of heartbreak and healing, and are invited to share their stories. Eva’s hope is that The Heart Locker provides a space for personal transformation that activates a Caring which ripples out into the world.

MEETING LOCATION: Queen Valley Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree, CA (directions provided upon registration)

DATE and TIME: Saturday, September 30th, 4p to 6:30p (please arrive on time; you may arrive anytime after 3:30p to settle in and relax)

Experience required
  • None
Activity level: easy
  • Participants can expect to walk up to 1.5 miles over mostly flat, but possibly rocky, sandy, or uneven terrain. For those who are unable to participate in the walk, or would prefer not to, they may opt to remain at the campground during this portion of the activity.
Meet your facilitators: Eva Montville, Cheryl Montelle of Mil-tre, and Sarah Witt of Desert Institute

Cheryl Montelle has worn many hats. Starting as a professional dancer and an actress in her youth, she has run a Pilates fitness business, she is a writer and performs her own stories, and currently conceived and curates Live From Joshua Tree, an annual community-based spoken word fundraiser for Mil-Tree. Mil-Tree was formed out of her wish to have the community at large embrace returning veterans and their families. Mil-Tree was founded in 2012, inspired by Dr. Ed Tick and his book, “War and The Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Eva Montville has been sculpting and exhibiting her work for 60 years. During that time she has worked in several fields, always finding ways to merge those with her creative practice. After owning a business doing sculptural enlarging of large scale works, she trained as a facilitator with the University of Arizona, working as a civilian contractor with Navy and Marine Corp personnel. She then started her own consulting business, doing leadership training with a variety of organizations worldwide. Eva’s artistic expression is rooted in her love of nature—especially the desert environment—and her profound heartbreak over planetary environmental devastation.

Sarah Witt is a grassroots educator, once-upon-a-time-artist, committed rock climber, and self-taught chef. She currently oversees Joshua Tree National Park’s educational programming as the Director of Desert Institute. Sarah loves the way nature challenges us, and encourages us to grow from experiences that take us to our physical and mental limits. She loves nothing more than sharing time in the park with other people!

What's included?
  • Admission to Joshua Tree National Park (please download or print your park pass ahead of time, or you will have to pay fees at the gate!)
  • First aid and emergency supplies for the group
  • Small notebook and pencils for journaling
  • Light refreshments
What's not included?
  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • Transportation

A detailed packing list and additional details about this activity can be found on our website. Upon registration, you will receive a digital park pass and paperwork to complete before the event start date. If you have questions, give us a call at 760-819-4714 or email us at

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