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The Desert Springs of Mexico's Cuatro Cienegas

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Listen Monday, August 27, 2001, to Morning Edition as NPR's John Burnett takes Radio Expeditions to Mexico's Cuatro Cienegas.

In the middle of the Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert stands a unique biological reserve known as Cuatro Cienegas -- the four marshes. It's one of the only remaining desert-spring ecosystems left in North America. The inland-desert wetland, with dozens of freshwater pools (called pozas) and countless unique species, can be compared to the Galapagos Islands and the Rift Valley in Africa.

In 1994, the Mexican government set aside the area as a biological reserve. Since then, Mexican conservation organizations have worked with The Nature Conservancy and other organizations to preserve Cuatro Cienegas' unique flora and fauna. Experts are collecting vital scientific information from the region and creating environmental education projects with and for the local community.

Nevertheless, the natural resources of the Cuatro Cienegas remains threatened by private land owners who continue to exploit the valley's natural resources.

On Morning Edition, Aug. 27, NPR/National Geographic Radio Engineer Shawn Fox records John Burnett in a poza

Expeditions explores the area with scientists conducting research at this oasis. Listen as NPR's John Burnett takes us to one of the few places you can snorkel in the desert.

Other Resources

Cuatro Cienegas 2001 Earthwatch Project

News About Cuatro Cienegas

map of Mexico Map of Mexico
Map: National Geographic Society


map of the Cuatro Cienegas Reserve See an enlarged map of the Cuatro Cienegas Reserve
Map: National Geographic Society


poza in Mexico's Cuatro Cienegas A poza in Mexico's Cuatro Cienegas
Photos: Jessica Goldstein, NPR


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Local children learn about the pozas found in the Cuatro Cienegas

John Burnett in a poza Engineer Shawn Fox records John Burnett in a poza



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