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About the Host

David Yetman and Jesus Garcia

Host David Yetman takes viewers on another round of bold explorations when The Desert Speaks returns for a spectacular 19th season.

Host David Yetman and Naturalist Jesus Garcia, of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, begin in El Paso, Texas at the eastern border of the Gadsden Purchase and head west along the border to explore some of the social, political and financial ramifications of the Gadsden Purchase.

David Yetman is a research scientist at the University of Arizona's Southwest Center and is a nationally known author and accomplished photographer who specializes in the plants, geography and people of northwestern Mexico. Using boats, bikes and burros, Yetman takes viewers from Bolivia to Baja California, bringing his boundless enthusiasm, energy and knowledge to the series.

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About the Program

FEATURED IN THE NEW SEASON OF DESERT SPEAKS

Hachita cemetery

1901 - The Gadsden Purchase Part 1
Host David Yetman and Naturalist Jesus Garcia, of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, begin in El Paso, Texas at the eastern border of the Gadsden Purchase and head west along the border to explore some of the social, political and financial ramifications of the Gadsden Purchase. They stop off at some of the historical sites along the way: a cemetery in Hachita, New Mexico, the Geronimo Surrenders Monument, and the Gadsden Hotel to name a few. After spending some time at a real desert oasis on the Slaughter Ranch, they finish off with a trip 300 feet underground on Bisbee's Queen Mine Tour.

Border Marker

1902 - The Gadsden Purchase Part 2
Beginning at the San Pedro River and heading west, host David Yetman and Naturalist Jesus Garcia, of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, journey through some of natural wonders that would not be part of the United States if it hadn't been for the Gadsden Purchase. They drive through the "sky islands" of the Pinaleño Mountains, travel through the hard-core desert of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and visit the historic desert oasis, Quitobaquito Springs, before finishing off their trip at the Colorado River near Yuma, the western border of the Gadsden Purchase. Additionally, they examine the different types of border fences that affect more than just the ecological relationship between the United States and Mexico.


Kofa Mountains

1903 - Beyond the Asphalt Part 1
Just off the highway there are a plethora of adventures awaiting the inquisitive traveler. Host David Yetman heads west of Tucson to visit some of these undiscovered places. After visiting the largest dune field in the United States, he heads to Yuma for a hot air balloon ride and a walk through "the hell-hole of Arizona," the Arizona Territorial Prison. Other stops include the Sonoran Desert National Monument and a hike to the top of Picacho Peak.


Sandhill Cranes

1904 - Beyond the Asphalt Part 2
Interstate highways allow for quick trips, but they also provide a gateway to some of the most amazing places you'll ever visit, if you take the time. After enjoying a rare experience of snow in the Sonoran Desert, host David Yetman travels by foot, car, bike, and motorcycle to examine the caves of Kartchner Caverns State Park, the historic sites and sounds of Tombstone, the Sandhill Cranes of Sulphur Springs Valley and the “Wonderland of Rocks” in the Chiricahua Mountains.

fluorescent gila monster

1905 - Desert Venom
Host David Yetman joins local herpetologists (reptile and amphibian researchers) in their various separate quests to learn more about the many venomous creatures that call the Sonoran Desert home, most notably, the rattlesnake. During the day, they track Tiger Rattlesnakes by using radio implants before heading up to the mountains to observe Black Rattlesnake dens. One night, they go road hunting for sidewinders and encounter lizards, tarantulas, and desert toads. Another night, they study the impact some urban developments have on the movements of Gila Monsters.

Jaguar Camera

1906 - Jaguars and Vaqueros
Host David Yetman travels along with researchers from the Northern Jaguar Project to see how they use motion activated cameras to track jaguar movements through Eastern Sonora Mexico. By paying local ranch owners for any jaguar images captured on their land, this project is working to convince the vaquero (the Mexican cowboy) that el tigre is worth more alive than dead.



Inside Canyon X

1907 - Utah’s Slick Rock Country
Host David Yetman and his brother, geologist Dick Yetman, take a geological road trip to Southeastern Utah’s Colorado Plateau. After hiking through the ever-changing slot canyon named Canyon X and the aptly named Kodachrome Basin State Park, they take an eerie trek through Goblin Valley State Park where the mysterious Entrada rock sculptures known as “goblins” surround you from all angles.



San Rafael

1908- Into the Swell: Utah’s High Desert
Utah’s San Rafael Swell is one of the most remote and least-visited wonders of the desert southwest. Host David Yetman and his brother, geologist Dick Yetman, camp out and explore the geology and vegetation of this intimidating stretch of desert. They also trek through Utah’s Little Grand Canyon to see the pictographs and petroglyphs that were created thousands of years ago.



Santo Tomas

1909- Dying Traditions in a Mexican Pueblo
Host David Yetman takes a trip to the foothills of the Sierra Madre, where traditions are slowly dying out as the big cities draw the local populations away from the small towns and traditional ways of life. Yetman stops in the town of Santo Thomas to see a donkey-powered pinole grinder made of stone and a kitchen garden. He then heads to agrarian community of Sahuaripa to visit its talabartería (a leather goods shop) and call upon the last remaining weaver of palm hats and baskets.


Glen Canyon Dam

1910- Navajo Canyon Lands
The creation of Lake Powell forced the evacuation of many Navajo families and forever changed the lives of many others. Today, host David Yetman and his brother, geologist Dick Yetman, travel with native Navajo families to learn some of the geological and spiritual history of the Glen Canyon region. They travel through the region’s many slot canyons, visit the sacred Rainbow Bridge, enjoy birds-eye view from the air, and visit with a Navajo photographer and young Navajo woman who is documenting the histories of her elders.