Click on each picture to read a fun bio about each of our Staff Members. 

Wes Andrée

Wes Andrée

Executive Director

What Others Think

Wes is a Cryptozoologist observing rare and unusual animals of the mystical world.  He once observed a Unicorn eating only carrots in his garden and wrote a paper discussing the importance of Unicorns eating vegetables shaped like their single horn.  He hypothesized that if watermelons were eaten the Unicorn horn would have a whole different look.  He is looking for Leave No Trace Ambassador, Big Foot.  Big Foot has eluded him for many years, however, Yeti’s very pleasant and quite social when you get to know him.  Another that has eluded him are Mermaids.  He hopes to meet them soon.

Who I am

Wes is a Naturalist who’s happiest sharing with the young and young at heart at JMDC.  Growing up, he roamed the hills behind his home watching and catching different critters.  One time, he filled the family bathtub with frogs, toads and other critters.  He proudly showed his Mom, all went back to the creek the next day.  At 8 years old started skin diving/scuba diving off the SoCal coast watching all the critters there.  He has spent the last 40 years as a SCUBA Instructor and Boy Scout Leader sharing his admiration and wonder of the wild world with others.

Virginia Odom

Virginia Odom

Education Coordinator

The Story Behind the Story

While camping in the Jurupa Mountains with her friends Esmerelda and Jacob, they are quite friendly Cave Gnomes, Ginny was regaled at a campfire with the story of Edward the Spirit Mammoth of the Jurupa Mountains by Esmerelda.  She is from the Jurupa Valley Clan of the Jurupa Mountains and by far the better campfire story teller than Jacob who comes from the Riverside Clan of Mount Rubidoux.  How these two ever got together is another story altogether.  Anyway as Esmerelda told the story of Eddy, his friends called him Eddy and Cave Gnomes are always very friendly particularly Esmerelda.  This is going to be a long story, have a seat and I’ll get you a cup of brittle bush tea over ice, such a treat, to sip while we tell the story.  You just wait right there it’ll only be a few moments for the tea.

Who I Am

Virginia Odom graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies, concentrations in Education Administration and Early Childhood Education, and Continuing Education classes in Earth Science.  After teaching for several years, Virginia joined the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center (JMDC) team in 2007 as the Education Coordinator.  Since that time, she has been responsible for implementing and expanding the educational programs at JMDC.  Virginia enjoys exploring new places, making discoveries, and spending time with her family and friends.

Maribel Vargas

Maribel Vargas

Museum and Gift Shop Coordinator

What Others Think

Hi! I’m Adamantem…which means Diamond in Latin.  I come from a piece of carbon exposed to immense heat and pressure for about 3 billion years in the earth’s mantle about 118 miles below the surface of the earth!  I was brought up to the surface as a sample to show humans the beauty that comes from underneath your feet and how to benefit from it for future generations to come…and also to show what it means to be tough.  That’s right there’s nothing tougher or more beautiful than me!

Who I Am

Hello, I’m Maribel Vargas I was born in Durango, Mexico and migrated to the U.S.A. when I was 15 years old.  I was always fascinated and curious about our planet’s constant geologic possesses and how they continuously change the earth.  In 2003 I came to JMDC looking for some volunteer opportunities and immediately fell in love with the Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils this place had.  I was given the opportunity instead, to study and learn so I could eventually teach about them.  It was the best thing ever! There’s no greater joy to me than being able to awaken in a kid their curiosity and awareness about our natural resources through my excitement when I’m talking about them, knowing that they will, just like me…want to learn more and more!!


Our Mission Statement

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting awareness of and respect for our planet and its inhabitants through its many educational programs. JMDC’s strength comes from the individual’s desire to learn. Each mind is unique and our goal is to challenge the community’s mind to help it reach its full potential. To achieve this goal, JMDC will supplement schools by providing: classes, programs, learning expeditions, field trips, and exhibits that will stimulate the imaginations of both youth and adults, as well as inspire their enthusiasm to learn. The main emphasis of JMDC is education of youth in the fields of Earth Science, Life Science and Cultural Science.

Our Vision Statement

The vision of the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center is to convey scientific and cultural knowledge, and encourage respect and responsibility toward the earth and its inhabitants.    

One way we accomplish our Mission and Vision is by providing no admission to the lower part of the property.  This includes our developed gardens, Iris, Pelargonium, Butterfly, Cactus and Succulent and Aloe Fields with many of our dinosaur sculptures; Granite Hill Nursery specializing in cactus and succulents; turtle pond and tortoise paddock; Museum of Discoveries Gift Shop with Critter Corner; and the Rockhound area. 

The North and East parts of the property are Paid Activity and Education venues.  These can be accessed during one of our Learning Expeditions which are offered on weekends.  Family Explorers or Solo Explorers have fun in the “Rock Corral” while discovering facts about Rocks, Minerals and how Fossils are formed.  This is followed by a walking tour through the JMDC gardens where Explorers will discover details about our different Dinosaur sculptures located in the lower gardens.  The Learning Expedition then moves into the reserved part of property to continue an exploration of more Dinosaurs; and will end by Explorers making a personal collection of twelve rocks, mineral or fossils to take home.  Contact JMDC office for times and pricing, children under two years of age are no charge.

Our Members are an integral part of the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center Family.  The financial support of our Members helps to fund our educational programs including our School Learning Expeditions, Discovery Camp, Critter Corner, and Family Expeditions.   Membership levels range from an Individual Member to an “Unbelievably Nice Guy” Membership.  No matter what level you choose, your support of JMDC is greatly appreciated.

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center


7621 Granite Hill Drive, Jurupa Valley, California 92509

Eddie the Mammoth

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