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El Paso Zoo to host two FrogWatch Workshops in February and May

Most people in El Paso have a pretty good idea on how to survive in our desert climate. When it’s cold like most days and nights in January we turn on the heat. We turn on the air conditioners in our cars and homes when the temperatures start to climb, we go to the refrigerator when we need a cold drink, but for most of our desert neighbors things are very different. Ever wonder why the desert seems so barren with few animals in sight? It is not because they do not exist; after all you can see pictures of desert animals in books and on the TV and Internet. And here at the El Paso Zoo you can see many species native to our Chihuahuan Desert. Believe it or not our Chihuahuan Desert is one of the most biodiverse deserts in the world with thousands of known species of wildlife and plants including reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, invertebrates, cacti and more. -MORE

Learning about the Chihuahuan Desert

An important goal of the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition is to facilitate integration of learning about our desert into the school curriculum from kinder garden on. The Chihuahuan desert offers a wide variety of habitats that all have their own animal and plant communities, which again are interacting with each other in often wondrous ways that can amaze and inspire people, especially the young. Once children are exposed to the fascinating life of desert animals and plants and the challenges they have to master day in and out, they will appreciate our environment and understand why it needs protection. It is an environment that teaches us that we can master unimaginable challenges and prosper through them. The desert is an open book to explore and find adventures like nowhere else.

To reach this goal, the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition began developing through our teaching members free ready-to-use teaching modules for teachers of all class levels. We are offering one-hour lectures or short filler lectures. The lectures may include suggestions for activities or motivate a visit to a local museum, zoo, or park, in order to complete the learning with a hands-on exploration. The different modules are grouped roughly according to plants and animals and may be used across the curriculum. For Kinder garden teachers we are developing drawings and hidden object pages.

Our first selection is still small, but our team will continuously update the website with new modules and additions and/or revisions to old ones. Check our site regularly and you will not be disappointed. We also appreciate your feedback and hope that you also share with us your own modules, if you have some on the Chihuahuan Desert. For more information contact Dr. Gertrud Konings at gertrudkonings@gmail.com.

-Get started today by checking out our Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Teachers Page!

Help our community save water and create new wildlife habitats - certify your backyard habitat

-Easy as 1,2,3 to register your yard at no cost to you as a Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Certified Habitat!

Help spread the news about our desert! The Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition encourages residents living anywhere in the Chihuahuan Desert to landscape with native plants and create backyard habitats that will attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife. These mini habitats when connected with other natural areas in the neighborhood can make a real impact in helping wildlife such as birds needing trees to build their nests and butterflies needing nectar from flowers. Backyard habitats landscaped with native plants from our local Chihuahuan Desert also help the community conserve drinking water. Examples of drought tolerant plants include desert willow, yellow bells, acacia, sotol, ocotillo, and wooly butterfly bush.

-Easy as 1,2,3 - LEARN MORE









































chihuahuandesert.org is the home page of the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition.  Updated January 13, 2015  



Ackerman to tell the story of efforts to conserve the Castner Range at Chamizal National Memorial on January 28


Judy Ackerman, one of El Paso’s most outspoken environmental advocates and Secretary of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition (FMWC), will present a program entitled “Conserving Castner Range, Crown Jewel of the Franklin Mountains” on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 7:00 pm. The FREE program will be presented in the Chamizal National Memorial Theater, 800 S. San Marcial Street (Across from Bowie High School).

The presentation is sponsored by the El Paso Sierra Club Group and UTEP’s Environmental Advocates. FMWC formed in 1978 and was largely responsible in organizing local citizen efforts to create Franklin Mountains State Park in 1979. Today the organization is working with stakeholders across the city in helping to preserve from potential development the 7,081-acre Castner Range—previously used by the Army for artillery exercises from 1926-1966. Located at the state park’s eastern boundary, the range is closed to the public.

Judy Ackerman was born in Pennsylvania and has been an activist since High School, starting with the first Earth Day. The Army first sent Judy to Ft Bliss in 1995 and she immediately fell in love with the Franklin Mountains. She retired from the Army in 2007 with 26 years of service. She and her husband of 35 years, Jamie, are pleased to call El Paso home.

Now Judy is a full time volunteer and community activist championing a variety of concerns mainly in the environmental and human rights arena. She is an active member of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, Friends of the Rio Bosque, Celebration of Our Mountains, Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition, El Paso Native Plant Society, League of Women Voters of El Paso, El Paso Regional Group of the Sierra Club, and the Trans-Pecos Chapter Texas Master Naturalists.

In the summer of 2008, Judy learned of the environmental destruction caused by the border wall and realized wall construction in our area was imminent. Soon the wall would cut off El Paso largest park, the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, from the Rio Grande river corridor fragmenting the native habitat. Diverse individuals and organizations came together to stop the wall including civil liberties, religious, human rights, social justice and environmental communities.

On December 17, 2008, with the support of a wide verity of activists, Judy Ackerman blocked construction of the border wall for seven hours and was arrested for trespassing. She is deeply indebted to all those who actively oppose the wall, especially three pro-bono attorneys and a judge who were at the county jail to expedite her release. On December 15, 2009, her case was dismissed following 40 hours of community service at the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park.

Now, Judy is focused on preserving Castner Range as natural open space. Sierra Club Executive Committee member Rick LoBello said “everyone in El Paso who cares about protecting our environment should meet Judy, she is an inspiration to us all.”

For More Information: Rick LoBello, ricklobello@gmail.com, 915-217-4233. Elpasosierraclub.org or facebook.com/sierraclubelpaso.




Connect with the Chihuahuan Desert on facebook and on our blog - new contributors welcome

An important goal of the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition is to help people connect with what is happening in our desert and to encourage discovery and education efforts across a wide spectrum.

We are looking for volunteers to help contribute stories and pictures to our blog at -Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Blog

and cool pictures and notes for our facebook page at Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Community. If you are interested contact CDEC board of directors chair Rick LoBello at lobellorl@elpasotexas.gov.




Join the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club - membership is free!

An important goal of the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition is to encourage people to get outside and visit our desert. Connecting with the outdoors helps people appreciate and better understand how we all fit into the natural world. Experiencing this part of the ecosystem also helps to decrease the negative effects of nature deficit disorder. People, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of physical, mental health and behavioural problems.


The new Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club is designed to help people connect with outdoor recreation areas including parks, wildlife refuges and the El Paso Zoo. Anyone can qualify for a free Chihuahuan Desert Club sticker by visiting three of the seven Chihuahuan Desert hotspots listed on the new Nature Club flyer and or by signing up to get on our email list.

Download the two sided flyer and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to get outside and connect with our Chihuahuan Desert.

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club Flyer Side 1  Download the PDF file
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club Flyer Side 1  Download the PDF file



Check out our blog
-Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Blog



NEW: see who has certified their backyard habitat
-Examples of Certified Habitats

-Its easy as 1,2,3 to register your yard at no cost to you as a Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Certified Habitat!


Archive from 2014

Archive from 2013


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All content on this site including photographs, graphics, text and design is protected by copyright by either the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition or the owners of the web pages linked to from this site.  By providing links to other sites, we do not guarantee,  approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to www.chihuahuandesert.org.


La información en español.











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