Tuesday, September 14When one thinks of ecological conservation, verdant forests and tropical jungles are often the first ecosystems that come to mind. But what about the deserts? These harsh environments may lack the showy grandeur of the greener zones, but they also need protection. Biologist John Newby has devoted himself to the study and preservation of the Sahara-Sahel region of the world, and he opens the 2004-2005 Zoo Friends Speaker Series with a 7:30 p.m. lecture entitled "Life on the Edge: Sahara Desert Conservation" at the Living World center in the Saint Louis Zoo. The lecture provides an excellent opportunity for the curious to learn more about the zoo's new global conservation initiative, WildCare Institute, and to meet with zoo curators. Reservations for the evening are recommended and can be made by calling 314-768-5450; admission is $3 to $8.