The Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion covers nearly 250,000 square miles with over 90% of its area within the nation of Mexico. It is the largest desert in North America. Most people who live in this part of the world know that they live in a desert, but very few understand how the region’s incredible biodiversity helps to maintain the overall health of our environment including air and water quality and all kinds of other ecosystem services like soil and vegetation regeneration, seed dispersal, and pollination of crops and natural vegetation. These free services also help to sustain aesthetically pleasing landscapes important to enhancing our sense of wellbeing and fighting off nature deficit disorder. Humanity could not survive without a healthy environment and here at the Zoo we are doing our part to help conserve and protect global biodiversity with a focus on saving endangered species and their habitats.
One of our education partners, the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition (CDEC) is collaborating with the Zoo in helping our community love and want to conserve the Chihuahuan Desert. When it comes to nature conservation “if you don’t know it you don’t love it. And if you don’t love it, you won’t try to protect it” Matt Kowalski. Soon the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition will be publishing a full color map to help people know where to go to learn more. Some of the areas that will be identified on this map include areas of the desert protected by the City of El Paso, the State of Texas, the federal government and private land conservation organizations like the Nature Conservancy. For more information on how you can help contact CDEC.
At Amistad National Recreation Area the rugged, scenic canyons of the Rio Grande, Devils, and Pecos Rivers come together, and the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Texas Hill Country and the brushlands of South Texas. The park protects important archeological sites, rock art, and diverse plant and animal life on the lands surrounding the clear, binational, Amistad Reservoir. (830)-775-7491 https://www.nps.gov/amis/index.htm NPS Photo by Jack Johnson
Here in El Paso the Lost Dog Trail has 10 miles of public trails that are enjoyed by bikers, hikers, and families. Conserving this property with a conservation easement ensures this land stays as open space for recreation, scenic qualities, variety of wildlife, surface water, and plant life. fronteralandalliance.org 915-351-8352
Big Bend National Park preserves and protects North America’s best example of Chihuahuan Desert. To experience Big Bend, one must plan on the visit as a destination, not as a drive through trip on your way somewhere else. You need at least three full days to see the major sights including Boquillas Canyon, the Chisos Basin and Santa Elena Canyon. For more information: nps.gov/bibeor 432-477-2251