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Nerd Night: Desert Cooking

Thursday, June 24th @ 6 pm

Desert:    Farming  |  Wild Edibles  |  Cooking

The desert is often thought of as a dead, unproductive environment. However, it is anything but that!! The desert is bountiful through its fauna and flora. In fact, foraging for food in the desert is quite easy and you would be surprised by what can actually be consumed ‘hiding’ right before your eyes! Join us for this insightful Nerd Night where we will explore the magnificent desert in search of wild edibles and herbs, discover tips for desert farming/gardening and learn some new cooking recipes using native plants and edibles!


About our Speakers:

  • Deborah Ray has been studying and practicing diversified vegetable production in the semi-arid west since 2012. She has a B.S. in Agriculture from NMSU and a M.S. in Horticulture from CSU. She loves discovering and sharing the environmental, culinary, and artistic potential of wild and cultivated crop plants. She has launched IDEA Public Schools’ two local campus farms and now oversees the IDEA Farm Program in the region. She is thrilled to join the Insights Science Center Nerd Nights learning community!
    • Nerd Night Presentation:  From Sand to Salad: Keys to a thriving edible garden in the Chihuahuan Desert
  • Dr. Eric Kappus is a Biology and Geology professor at Southwest University at El Paso. He is also a Research Associate Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, a Research Paleontologist for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, a Science Content Coach and Consultant, as well as President of Celebration of Our Mountains 501 (c)(3) . Dr. Kappus researches trace fossils in the El Paso region, where he has reported over 35 different species, including over 1000 dinosaur footprints. He is also a five-time graduate from Tom Brown’s Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival School and teaches ethnobotany and aboriginal skills.
    • Nerd Night Presentation: Edible and Useful Plants of the El Paso/Juarez Region
  • Chef Mateo Herrera is the the Director of Paho; a community based program centered on preserving the Indigenous Foodways of the Chihuahuan Desert. Chef Mateo is an Honors Graduate of the California School of Culinary arts with a career spanning over two decades and 6 major cities. “If we want to eradicate the major health issues plaguing our community; we need to begin by reconnecting with the Foods of our Ancestors.”
    • Nerd Night Presentation: Mesquite: Our Tree of Life
    • Chef Mateo will demo two recipes:
      Recipe #1
      Mesquite Spice Mix
      Recipe #2
      Mesquite Rubbed Lamb Shanks with Hatch Green Chile


Where:  Your House via Zoom


How to RSVP:

Tickets to Nerd Night: Desert Cooking

Your ticket purchase allows us at Insights to continue to provide STEAM education programs to our El Paso Community. As a not-for-profit organization, our efforts are made possible by the generous support of people like you. We sincerely appreciate your contribution!


Nerd Nights unites our community with a celebration of Science & Humanities.


Stay tuned for our next Nerd Night

Nerd Night: Human Sexuality


As a part of our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education mission, we have teamed up with UTEP’s Centennial Museum to bring a new event to the Border Region – Nerd Nights.  Nerd Nights is a series of informative evening events designed to bring fun scientific/humanities talks and activities to your favorite local brewery, restaurant, coffee shop, or any other community hub.  We will host a different Nerd Night at a different local establishment on a monthly basis.

Why Nerd Nights?  We launched Nerd Nights because we wanted to find an entertaining way to learn something new while sharing good food and drink with new friends.


Still have questions about Nerd Nights? Please read our Nerd Night FAQ’s.



Night Sponsor Hall of Fame

Nerd Night #35 sponsored by:


Nerd Night #24 sponsored by:

Wine Attitude is not your usual bar.  They feature great conversation, happy hour, live music, and select only the finest wines from around the world and bring them here for your enjoyment.   Be sure to check out Wine Attitude’s new location on Mesa.


Nerd Night #20 sponsored by:


Nerd Night #18 sponsored by:

Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company within the Virgin Group at the vanguard of a new industry, pioneering the next generation of reusable space vehicles. Virgin aims to transform the current cost, safety and environmental impact of space-launch.  In doing so they are helping to create a basic space access infrastructure that will act as an enabler for scientists and entrepreneurs.  It will also provide the catalyst for a new age of space exploration which promises enormous positive potential for life on Earth.


Nerd Night # 16 Sponsored by

Thwaites Interdisciplinary Margin Evolution – The TIME group studies the role of shear margin dynamics in the future evolution of Thwaites Drainage Basin.  TIME is an ice-based project using state-of-the-art geophysical techniques to observe rapidly deforming parts of Thwaites Glacier (shear margins) which may have significant control over future stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The TIME project will observe rapidly deforming parts of Thwaites Glacier which may have significant control over the future evolution of WAIS, and use these new observations to improve ice sheet models used to predict future sea level rise.


Check out our Nerd Night Archive


Want to keep Nerd Nights totally free?  We need your help!  Sponsorship from our community of Nerds are what keep these events going strong.  Please let us know if your organization would like to make the next Nerd Night a reality!

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