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Learning to Appreciate Nature’s Diversity: The Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert

Appreciating Nature and Its Creatures

Beauty in nature is everywhere. We are so fortunate on this continent, to enjoy an amazing spectrum of natural diversity.  Sharing information with children about new places can inspire them and open their awareness.

We have one of the most wildly diverse and beautiful deserts in the world right here in America – the Sonoran Desert. Famously known as the hottest desert in Mexico, the Sonoran Desert is a North American desert with an estimated area of 280,000 square kilometers. It covers the large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California along with the Northwestern part of Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur.

According to a 1957 publication, the desert was divided into seven regions based on vegetation characteristics. The classifications are as follows: Magdalena Region, Vizcaíno Region, Central Gulf Coast, Foothills of Sonora, Plains of Sonora, Arizona Upland and Lower Colorado Valley. But now, numerous ecologists consider Shreve’s Vizcaíno and Magdalena regions to be separate ecoregions.

Deserts have a variety of unique as well as endemic plants and animals. There are approximately 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1000 native bee species, and more than 2,000 native plant species living in the Sonoran Desert. Talk about diverse. Aside from that notable fact, the desert is also a vital habitat for Jaguars living within the US.

Desert Creatures as Supporting Characters in Children’s Literature?

It is probably safe to say, that most of us have seen Wile E. Coyote chase the Roadrunner dozens or even hundreds of times over the years. Desert creatures make interesting characters because they are quite unique. An example of desert animals as characters, are the desert creatures found in Ethel K Coffey’s Inspired Tales® book series.

coyote

The roadrunner in “How Meg Changed Her Mind”, and La Vieja, the old coyote in “Cloud Watchers” are two such desert creatures who serve as supporting characters. Children can learn and be inspired to find out more about these creatures when they are part of a story. I know, as a child, I learned a lot about animals from reading children’s books.

Children are naturally curious. Encourage them to learn about interesting places and intriguing animals through literature.  Books can provide knowledge, inspiration and an appreciation of the beauty of nature.

Sources:
http://www.desertusa.com/sonoran-desert.html
https://www.desertmuseum.org/desert/sonora.php
http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/sonoran_desert_animals_page.htm
http://stamps.umich.edu/ecoexplorers/sonorandesert/home.aboutsonoran.html
Photo Credits:
Photo By Ken Bosma via StockPholio.com

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