Written by: Grace Fullmer, Community Engagement
This past weekend, the Patagonian Fall Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary. Through rainstorms and sun showers, Borderlands Restoration Network was there to partake in the annual festivities. Mixed in with vendors selling paintings, wild west literature and tie-dye apparel, we were sharing our mission with folks from all corners of SE Arizona. Sitting next to us was the collaborative, Coronado Outdoors, a partnership between Sky Island Alliance and the Coronado National Forest, that promotes volunteerism and stewardship of public lands in southern Arizona.
Located on the other side of the festival grounds, our Native Plants Materials program was selling tables-full of colorful native plants hosted by the brightly adorned, Francesca.
Undoubtedly, the most attractive piece of our table was the Bats of Arizona poster that stood tall next to planters sewed with agave seeds, maps of bat migration, seed balls and fresh homemade cookies (which may have also been a big highlight). The common phrase of the weekend was, “I have bats at my house.” People came by to chat about the bats that slurp their hummingbird feeders dry, one fella saying he went through 8 lbs. of sugar every month the bats were around, and another saying they used a total of 40 gallons of hummingbird nectar to feed both hummers and bats. Many were surprised by what they learned about bat migration and their diminishing food sources (one being the agave), and were always curious as to how they could help support our Arizona bat populations. Each person who came by walked away with not only newfound bat knowledge, but also an idea as to who Borderlands Restoration Network is, and the work we are doing in our community and beyond. Many times the conversation would end with a, “thank you for your efforts, it is so important.” Then they would depart with a happy smile, maybe because the sun was finally shining, or because the rains continued to nurture our Patagonian soils.