By: Cholla Rose Nicoll, Borderlands Wildlife Preserve Lead Technician
The Borderlands Wildlife Preserve (BWP) and surrounding areas have been home to many peoples for thousands of years. Acknowledging this past is crucial to understanding and respecting each other. It further concedes that humanity has a place in nature and has not always had an imbalance of give and take with the natural world. At BWP, we strive to make all people feel safe and welcome in this space shared with wildlife and the land. To communicate our intentions, over the past year we have designed and installed a series of signs to explain the environment in and around BWP and the work Borderlands Restoration Network does. The final two signs (for now) are completed.
These last signs took the longest to complete because they highlight the human history of the area. The history of the borderlands is complex, disputed, and at times heartbreaking. This chronicle could never be fully explained within the context of trail signs, but we partnered with some people whose expert knowledge delivered insight and guidance for all who visit the preserve. Our deepest gratitude goes out to German Quiroga of the Patagonia Museum, Anthony Francisco Jr., and Amy R. Juan of Kom Wahia Ki:kam/Comobabi Community, Tohono O’odham for their contributions to these signs. And, a special thanks to Chris and Mary Strohm, whose generosity and patience made the signs possible. Later this fall, you will find the Indigenous history sign at the welcome kiosk, and the Patagonia history sign will be found on the Smith Canyon Loop Trail.
In addition to these two interpretive signs, the entrance sign to the preserve has gotten a revamp. Previously it said "Wildlife Corridor" and now the newly painted and welded sign says "Borderlands Wildlife Preserve." It also has a beautifully painted agave to accompany the new wording. Thank you to local welder Geroge Diethorn and local painter Rhonda Brew for the masterful work. We hope all of these signs give you one more reason to enjoy and feel welcome in Borderlands Wildlife Preserve!
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