Written By: Perin McNelis
The BRN Native Plant Material Program just wrapped up it’s second year participating in the annual Agave Heritage Festival in Tucson! The festival expanded this year to be “a city-wide, ten-day destination event that spotlights the southwest region through the lens of the agave plant.” BRN’s Native Plant Materials Program co-manager, Francesca Claverie, and our collaborator from the Collectivo Sonora Silvestre, Valeria Cañedo, presented along-side agave spirit producers and conservationists at Exo Bar on our Agaves for Bats Initiative through Bat Conservation International. The event was well attended and the the presentation was received with interest and enthusiasm for our bi-national conservation efforts in conjunction with celebration of agave based products and their cultural importance. Francesca presented again at the Agave Expo event at Hotel Congress, where the BRN Native Plant Materials team also had a table with educational materials, Agave palmeri plants and seedballs, and our new t-shirts, designed by friend of BRN, Mike Otero (available online here). The team met many agave spirit producers and conservationists working in Mexico, including biologist David Suro, who showed sincere interest in potential future collaborations with BRN. All in all, the festival was a great success! These kinds of outreach opportunities are imperative to educating our communities about the work we do in the borderlands, and to spreading awareness of the varied impacts human actions have on our landscapes so that we can garner support for restoration work and so that people can learn about what kind of actions they can take in their daily lives to support ecosystem health. We look forward to participating again next year!