This presentation for middle school students is part of a new series; Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason Dynamic Learning!
Come and join interdisciplinary artist/author Tim Hazell as he explores the world's desert regions, from the Sahara to the Atacama, as well as the cultures that inhabit them. Discover how life-giving water is distributed by natural forces and dropped on these arid regions. Consequences of the mismanagement of our natural resources and resulting displacement of peoples is outlined.
Heating up on the equatorial sides of the Horse Latitudes, trade winds move in two belts towards the equator. Dry currents dissipate cloud cover, allowing the sun to bear down on arid lands. Trade wind deserts follow the path of their namesake winds, including North Africa’s Sahara, the world’s largest sea of sand. These extreme arid zones have waxed and waned since the beginning of the agricultural revolution, frequently encroaching upon human settlements and farmlands.
Fossil sediments from ancient beds of sand as much as 500 million years old are found throughout the world, including in rain-forest environments. Dominant weather patterns and geographical locations determine the characteristics of deserts as trade wind, rain shadow, coastal—such as Peru’s Atacama, or polar. The Arctic tundra represents a vast area of
desertification in Canada’s far north, while inland Antarctic dry valleys have been snow free for thousands of years.
Desert plants are tolerant of drought and the salt content from small reservoirs of concentrated water that they store in leaves, roots and stems. In Mexico’s semi-arid central plateau regions, plant cover is typically lean, but of great diversity—as is the animal life that benefits from aquifers and springs. Cacti, deciduous trees and aquatic plants thrive, some reintroduced through conservation. Fauna includes species of birds, reptiles and mammals adapted to meager habitats.
Reservoirs often support verdant shoreline growth, fish and varieties of birds. The dry chaparral represents a Mexican highland panorama of grasses, mesquite and huizache trees and the stately Garambullo or candelabrum cactus. Summer rains turn these regions into palettes of greens interspersed with riots of multicolored blooms!
Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason's Dynamic Learning Series will offer a full range of "Information Modules," designed to bring out the maximum potential in group-related activities. Students are encouraged to approach the challenges of discussion, research and presentation with open minds and creative attitudes!