The mission of the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition (CDEC) is to collaborate efforts among educators and the public in support of programs that enhance conservation and education of the Chihuahuan Desert. CDEC was founded in 2004 at the El Paso Zoo in collaboration with El Paso Water. We are a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and everyone is a volunteer. To get involved as a committee member or as part of our leadership team you can contact us here.
Rick LoBello, Chair, Board of Directors
Rick has worked in the field of conservation education since 1973 when he started his career as Zoological Curator at the Kansas City Museum of History and Science. For nearly 25 years he worked as a park ranger and Executive Director at Big Bend, Yellowstone, Guadalupe, and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks. Since coming to work at the El Paso Zoo in 2002, his main goal has been to help people in El Paso connect with the animals that live there and to encourage them to take specific actions in their personal lives to help the zoo with its mission of saving endangered species. The zoo is focused on becoming a leader in promoting sustainability in El Paso.
Dora Hernandez, Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Dora Hernandez is a native El Pasoan, who recently returned to the region after living in Washington State for the last 13 years. She graduated from Ysleta High School and received her associate degree at El Paso Community College. Her general biology courses would take Dora on several research trips where her interest in science grew. Later, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science at Washington State University. While in Washington, Dora began to volunteer regularly with the Clark Public Utilities: Stream Team. Her many volunteer hours would eventually lead to a full time position with Clark County Public Works as the Parks and Lands Division-Volunteer Program Coordinator.