BRN Presents an Evening with Gary Nabhan author of Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities
Written by: Juliet Jivanti, Education Coordinator
Join us at 5:30 this Saturday, the 29th, under the Tucson sky at Mission Garden for an evening of good company and conversation accompanied by delicious food, refreshments and music. Discover, or perhaps remember, why many are feeling increasingly optimistic and galvanized about the future of food and community restoration. Since 1975, these multicultural grassroots efforts have resulted in a 20-fold increase in the diversity of foods available to Americans. Tucson is a hopeful example demonstrating how the region’s biodiverse foods aided the upward financial trend in 2016. The previous year, Tucson was designated as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy due to a collaborative effort initiated by Gary. In his book, Gary shares the stories of how diverse communities across North America are working to bring back unique life including bison, sturgeon, camas lilies, ancient grains and turkeys, to name a few. Collaborative conservation can heal both the divides in our landscapes and our communities. These successes are bringing ecological, social and economic revitalization. To use Gary’s words, “In fact, the restoration of land and rare species has provided—dollar for dollar—one of the best returns on investment of any conservation initiative.” Community restoration matters, not just here on the borderlands, and throughout this country, but everywhere.
"Using remarkable insights and examples, Gary Nabhan brings together collaborative conservation and food in a way that will challenge, inspire, and motivate all of us to become better stewards, harvesters, and consumers."
Bill McDonald, rancher and cofounder of the Malpai Borderlands Group
You may know Gary from many places and through various roles. “Gary is an internationally celebrated nature writer, agrarian activist and ethnobiologist who tangibly works on conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity.” Below you’ll see Gary leading the Borderlands Field School group in Sonora Mexico this summer, engaged in an impromptu conversation with a local rancher.
Gary mentioned that he is excited about this upcoming event because, although many people know about the on-going good work that Borderlands Restoration is doing, they may not realize that Borderlands is a catalyst for national food restoration. Borderlands and Gary have had a longstanding relationship which began in the 1970s when Gary and Ron Pulliam were both working on grassland projects. Many years later, after Gary and his wife Laura Monti moved to Patagonia in 2011, Ron and Gary crossed paths again. While Ron was out birding, he came upon Gary and invited him to conspire. Gary accepted and became part of the think tank of Borderlands’ early years and a creative conservation collaboration was born.
Gary wants you to know that his new book which will be available for purchase and signing, is both compostable and edible.
If you haven’t already sent your R.S.V.P. response, please do so at your earliest convenience.
R.S.V.P. info@BorderlandsRestoration.org or (520) 216 – 4148
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th, 5:30–7:30 P.M. at Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane in Tucson. Suggested Donation $20 at the door. Drinks available by donation.
Sturdy, carefully placed rock structures have withstood extreme flood events and continue to increase moisture levels for flora and fauna.
Written by: Trevor Hare and David Seibert
Using sediment transport as a surrogate for e.coli presence and transport across degraded landscapes, this project has surveyed, planned and mitigated severely eroding rangelands on the Sands Ranch west of the San Pedro River. Hundreds of rock erosion control structures were installed strategically to arrest sediment and e.coli movement toward the river, while an experimental ripping-on-contour method approved by ADEQ was employed to improve habitat conditions for native grasses to establish and continue the restorative process. Based on site visits and communication with ADEQ officials and ranch manager Ian Tomlinson, priority areas for erosion mitigation work include 1) extensive areas east of Hwy 90 previously sprayed with herbicide that have not recovered vegetatively; and 2) an area west of Hwy 90 that will benefit from the arrested movement of e.coli into the riparian corridor.
This site also serves as a public demonstration and youth education work site due to ease of access and high project visibility. Here the site will function as a training ground for use in our highly successful Borderlands Earth Care Youth program, a community-based effort that includes Patagonia High School's new Ag Science Program students, with new programs now in Douglas and Nogales. As part of a larger effort to expand to schools in Sierra Vista and beyond, this effort also takes advantage of an existing Borderlands grant with AZ State Forestry and the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension's Water Wise program, in order to utilize the sites as platforms for ongoing environmental education. Beneficial effects also include increased moisture levels and native seed banking effects afforded by structure installation in small and mid-sized rills and arroyos. The combined effects of the work will secure and nudge the uplands into a more resilient ecological condition, wherein native plants can gain a foothold and continue to hold soils and e.coli in place, while increasing native plant density and diversity and modeling efficient restoration practices.
On September 29th & November 10th @ 9 – 11 am
Trevor Hare will host a tour of an erosion control site with rock work, gully plug and pond work, and on-contour ripping.
This unique project funded by the AZ Dept of Environmental Quality brought a couple of newer techniques to the area to deal with erosion. Plug and Ponding of unstable gullies and on-contour ripping of areas with intensive and extensive sheet erosion.
Location: On the east side of Hwy 90, 12.5 miles south of I-10 and 6 miles north of Hwy 82 at the Dry Canyon Access Road
For any questions please contact: Trevor Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ripping the most degraded areas on contour speeds up moisture infiltration and creates a viable bed for fall 2018 seeding of native grasses.
Photos taken by: Rebecca Cohen, Collaborator from Baboquivari High School
Written by Caleb Weaver, Youth Education Program Manager
When we think of the US/Mexico “borderlands,” we often think of the cultural exchange and trade flow among and between two vibrant countries. Taking a closer look at this culturally and biologically diverse region, we can see that these exchanges and flows have been a way of life for peoples following historic trade routes for millennia. The indigenous Tohono O’odham, or desert people, still live along what is now the border between Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora – their historic homelands reduced to a reservation west of Tucson and bifurcated in 1854 by the southern expansion of the US/Mexico border with the Gadsden Purchase. When we think of the US/Mexico “borderlands,” we must expand our idea of a bi-national border to a multi-national border.
The Tohono O’odham (TO) have witnessed massive changes to the lands they’ve stewarded. Since the arrival of Spanish missionaries, around 96% of the surface water – the historic creeks, rivers, and streams – have disappeared outright. In 2016, high school youth from Baboquivari HS and Tohono O’odham HS gathered together for the first-ever TO Nation Youth Climate Change Forum. Students learned the state of their Nation’s water resources, threats from nearby urban sprawl, and climate projections call for less rainfall, higher temperatures, and more violent rainstorms. According to those present, students voiced a desire to focus on resource conservation and environmental protections, notably rainwater harvesting and ecosystem restoration.
At a recent Food & Social Justice Forum, representatives from Indivisible Tohono, a “Grassroots group concerned with current federal and Arizona legislation primarily impacting the Tohono O’odham Nation” expressed a desire to collaborate with Borderlands Restoration Network to engage TO youth in habitat restoration. We worked closely with Rebecca Cohen, one of the founders of Indivisible Tohono and the College & Career Mentor at Baboquivari High School (BHS), to design and fund a program for youth at BHS.
Su:dagī o wud doakag translates from O’odham to “water is life,” and is the name of the program that has brought together BHS and BRN to train youth to restore the BHS campus. Every week, twelve Tohono O’odham youth gather with the shared goal of harvesting rainwater both into the earth and in cisterns to support new life on campus. At this point, youth have already been meeting for a month within the Su:dagī o wud doakag program. After visiting Manzo Elementary School in Tucson, the Watershed Management Group’s office in Tucson, a cistern installation with Flowers & Bullets, the outdoor classroom and pond at Patagonia Union High School, and earthworks at the BRN offices, youth within the Su:dagī o wud doakag program are now redesigning a courtyard on the BHS campus. Once the design is accepted by BHS staff, youth within the Su:dagī o wud doakag program will then harvest rainwater to support native pollinator-attracting plants, and desert-adapted food crops alike. Keep following their progress on Facebook and with the blog.
Written by Native Plant Materials Program Co-Manager Allegra Mount
Our work providing native plants and seeds for restoration projects and retail follows the rhythm of the seasons. If the landscape feels alive and buzzing then you can bet we are too - humming along with projects at the nursery, planting in wild lands, and sending plants off to their final homes. Fall in the borderlands similarly follows; as the landscape begins to wind down into the dormancy of winter, so do we (although a quiet winter is only optimistic!), but not before one last big push to harvest the fall's great bounty: seeds!
While we are collecting and cleaning seed all times of year, our collection season is most heavily concentrated in the fall. Our summer monsoons cause an explosion of color through abundant blooms, and grasslands and woodland understory that erupt in green. It's impossible to ignore the inevitable result - the seeds! - that stick to your pant legs and shirt cuffs as you walk from your front door to your car.
Over the past 5 years we've learned our favorite spots and species to collect, but every year we are expanding. A lot can affect the seed crop, from insects that lay their larvae in seed heads, to grasshoppers that starve the mother plant of nutrients needed for seed set, to poor rains that reduce seed maturity, to late rain storms that knock seed down and encourage molding and rot. Every year we make plans and adjust them constantly as we watch the clouds and spend time among these populations, making new plant friends along the way.
Getting to know plants in their seed/seed-head form can be a great way to boost your plant ID skills - especially with grasses! Our volunteer seed-cleaning mornings will be shifted to seed collection until December. Join us Monday mornings from 9 am - noon as we drive out to explore different parts of our local landscape and collect seed that will be used for future restoration projects.
This year we are working with 5 different national parks to collect native seed! Including: Coronado National Monument, Chiricahua National Monument, Ft. Bowie National Monument, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, and Petrified Forest National Park. We work with the parks to prioritize species and collect seed that is slated for use in upcoming restoration projects. There are some volunteer opportunities to get involved with this - contact us for more information.
To sign up to volunteer for seed collection in New Mexico with Sky Island Alliance and Borderlands restoration in October visit this link.
For other opportunities contact Allegra at email@example.com for more details.
And enjoy the changing of the seasons as summer slips into fall!
Image: volunteers collect seed at Saguaro National Park in 2016. In 2018 we are going to 5 different national parks to collect seed! Contact us for volunteer opportunities.