Donald's parents both have Biology degrees and have always been his largest influence. At the age of 5 years old he was fascinated with Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were extinct and his parents encouraged him into Herps (Reptiles and amphibians) and the outdoors. He did a large amount of traveling to Americas' National Parks and looked closely at the true beauty of nature. Around the age of 8 years old the "idea" of xeriscaping began showing up in Colorado. His father convinced his mom to convert their non-sustainable lawn into a desert rock garden. He started out with a handful of native cactus including the red flowering strawberry cactus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus and eventually he had over 100 species of cactus and 25 species of Agave. At 11 years old, he was more into cactus and succulents and began experimenting with growing Yucca and Agave from seed. Later he began growing many species of cactus including Sclerocactus and pediocactus from seed. At 17, he began working for Wild Things Wholesale Nursery in Pueblo, CO. They specialized in growing natives including succulents of southeastern Colorado to northern New Mexico. At 19 he found a job in Las Vegas, Nevada at the new
Las Vegas Springs Preserve
. He is currently a horticulturist there with many duties, including managing the seed repository, herbarium and over seeing all the cactus and succulent propagation. Now at the age of 22 his main hobby besides plants is Photography, the website, http://donnie-barnett.artistwebsites.com
has a large amount of photos taken while hunting for the rare species of cactus within the area.
"Cacti of the Northern Mojave and Adjacent Areas" originally was a book idea and is in progress. At the moment it is a PowerPoint presentation and is a 'complete' overview of cactus in Nevada, although the main area covered is from the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona to Death Valley National Park, California and from Joshua Tree National Park, California to the Great Basin National Park, Nevada. Many genera of cactus are found throughout, including the genera Echinocactus, Echinomastus, Escobaria, Ferocactus, Opuntia, Pediocactus and Sclerocactus. Each Species will be pictured and described with great detail, including habitat, elevation and a few locations where the plants may be viewed. All the information on these plants has been acquired through reading and 3 years of field work. He will go into the Opuntiads with great detail and explain the differences between each of the Opuntias in Southern Nevada.