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.
Written By: Esquer Robles, Jesus Antonio; Aaron Flesch; Trevor Hare, David Seibert, Kurt Vaughn
The Madrean Sky Islands region of northwest Mexico provides the northernmost wintering habitats, a diverse set of breeding habitats, critical stopover areas and migratory corridors for >100 species of Neotropical migratory birds (NMB) including the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bell's Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat and Wilson’s Warbler. Conservation efforts focusing on these species and their habitats are often stymied by major scientific, social, economic, and logistical challenges since NMB require wintering, stop-over, and breeding habitats that are separated by thousands of kilometers and often span national, jurisdictional, and other physical boundaries.
Modern unsustainable land use practices, especially overgrazing, can negatively affect both the quality and extent of habitats important to NMB. Moreover, because the vast majority of lands that are essential to NMB are privately owned, especially in Mexico strategies that improve conservation efforts on private lands are needed. Unfortunately, the people responsible for the management of these critical areas rarely understand their ecological value nor do they have the resources to sustainably manage them. To address those challenges and attempt to realize NMB conservation at landscape scales, approaches that integrate protection, management, restoration, education, and monitoring are needed.
Starting in 2012, BR and its partners began a multifaceted effort to integrate existing education, outreach, and research programs with targeted habitat restoration of degraded riparian areas with the potential to support cottonwood-willow forests, which have been documented to be critical habitat for NMB. With the financial support from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) via the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), we collaborated with local landowners, citizens, and volunteers to construct cattle exclusion fencing and erosion control along >25 km of riparian areas, which protected 569 ha in Northern Sonora, Mexico. Complementarily to this effort we restored over 600 ha of riparian habitat in the adjacent Southeastern Arizona borderlands. In order to
monitor the effectiveness of the restoration treatments and guide future efforts, we gathered baseline data on NMB and vegetation in restoration treatments and nearby control areas.”
With some additional support from the USFWS we are continuing this work while actively developing new relationships with landowners, ejido members, and academic institutions to foster cooperative management and restoration projects on private lands. This renewed effort includes the continued maintenance of existing exclosures, the enhancement of existing restoration infrastructure and the extension of our efforts with an additional 16 km of riparian areas in the same border regions of Northern Sonora and Southern Arizona. In this phase we now have restoration agreements with 10 landowners to restore 11 sites: one on the private ranch El Aribabi; one on the ejido Santa Cruz; four in the San Lázaro community (Ejido Miguel Hidalgo) and five in the Milpillas community (ejido Miguel Hidalgo). While we continue to monitor the efficacy of restoration treatments on NMB populations and the recovering riparian vegetation we are working with local conservation educators to expanding our outreach activities. We are currently developing educational strategies to teach local students, community members and landowners about the region’s unique biodiversity through trainings, workshops and presentations, while concurrently offering field classes, internships, and job training for university students studying biology, land management, and ecotourism, and by developing and disseminating web-based and print resources in Spanish.
Our long-term goals with regard to this project are to 1) improve the quality and extent of riparian vegetation and habitats for locally breeding and migratory populations of NMB and other wildlife in the Madrean Sky Islands region, 2) increase transboundary habitat connectivity for NMB and other wildlife by working on both sides of the international border, 3) increase the knowledge and capacity of local human populations in the region to effectively manage and restore habitat for NMB on private lands, 4) monitor the effects of restoration and management efforts in a manner than guides future efforts, and 5) reach those goals by fostering relationships based on trust and credibility with local human communities.
We hope this project will enhance prospects for NMB conservation in North America by improving the capacity of local ranchers to better manage their grazing lands, while restoring important riparian habitats for migratory birds in the border region and educating and engaging rural communities in Mexico about the ecological values of their local watersheds.
CSS members at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Michoacán, México
Written By: Lea Ibarra (CSS) and Kurt Vaughn (BRN)
The Colectivo Sonora Silvestre (CSS) is an independent group of biology students from the University of Sonora and engineering students from the Technological University of Cananea focused on ecosystem conservation in Sonora. Within the Colectivo there are three main groups that work in the state of Sonora; the Alianza Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly Alliance), Grupo de Exploración de Manantiales en Sonora (Sonora Springs Exploration Group) and el Escuadrón de Rastreo de Fauna Silvestre (Wildlife Tracking Squad). We have gotten more familiar with their activities since three members of the CSS came up to Patagonia to participate in BRN’s Field School this year.
This self-organized, and largely self-funded, student collective is doing incredible work from wildlife monitoring, to quality assessments of natural spring ecosystems and documenting the presence of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) populations in Sonora. In addition, they are developing an environmental education program focused on habitat conservation in rural and urban schools along the Rio Sonora. This education effort has the twin goals of promoting biodiversity conservation and strengthening relationships between communities and their local flora and fauna.
The group hopes to continue its current projects of documenting the incredible biodiversity of Northern Sonora and hopes to expand its efforts to contribute to local environmental education and promote the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity. If you would like to supporting the work of these amazing students please consider giving a US tax-deductible donation via BRN’s portal (http://www.borderlandsrestoration.org/donate.html), please make sure to include a note that says “CSS”.
Members of the Sonora Springs Exploration Group performing a spring assessment on Cuenca de los Ojos’ property Rancho San Bernardino, Sonora.
The Wildlife Tracking Squad documenting a bobcat roadkill site on Highway 14 in Sonora.
After a biological inventory in the Sierra Los Ajos, Bavispe, Sonora.
Borderlands Restoration Network
presents an evening with
Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities
EXCLUSIVE BOOK SIGNING EVENT
FOOD · DRINKS · MUSIC
under the Tucson Evening Sky
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th, 5:30–7:30 P.M.
946 W Mission Ln, Tucson, AZ 85745
Suggested Donation $20 at the door
R.S.V.P. requested by September 24th: info@BorderlandsRestoration.org or (520) 216 – 4148
Join Borderlands Restoration Network, a nonprofit located in Patagonia, AZ dedicated to building a regional restoration-based economy in the Arizona – Sonora borderlands, for an evening with author and famed ethnobiologist, Gary Nabhan. Copies of his newly released book Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands & Communities will be available for purchase and signing.
Borderlands Restoration Network 501c3
…working together to reconnect wildlife, land and people by promoting a restoration economy in our unique Arizona/Sonora borderlands region…
Nicole Luna describes her final week of work with the BECY 2018 crew.
Five weeks in and BECY only gets better and hotter! I am so proud of the group’s work ethic, as each week passes we only get closer and more comfortable with one another. We even play jokes on each other, which makes the hard-hot sweating working days go by quick and filled with laughter. As the week begins we start by going to Ash Springs where we removed horehound a small, invasive herb that comes from a member of the mint family. After removing all the horehound, we placed a few native plants in moist areas for the following day.
Then we had our special visitor, Rebekah, a wildlife biologist who introduced herself and talked about the exciting things she gets to do in her job as we break for lunch. She had so many fascinating stories, specifically one that caught everyone’s attention was when she had the experience to hold a bear cup, where she and a crew went inside a cave and changed the monitor around the bear’s neck as they tranquilized it. Having Rebekah, a very outgoing person with very positive and energetic attitude made the group more interested in wildlife and open minded to the different things there is to do for wildlife and make an impact in the future. And as much as we enjoyed listening to her incredible stories we had to pause it for the next day as we headed back to work.
The entire group took turns watering the plants and as we waited for our turn we doubled checked for any horehound we might of missed. With a couple of minutes left on the clock we finished watering all the native plants for the third time and started gathering any tools we brought up and made our way back to the trucks. We finally arrived to the trucks and closed the working day with our usual debrief, where we all shared a rose, bud, and a thorn. For the rest of the evening we just marinated and prepared ourselves for tomorrow.
Tuesday’s chilly morning arrived and one by one we woke up to the sound of our alarms to a very beautiful mountain view at Southwestern Research Station (SWRS). We prepared ourselves and packed all our camping gear to head out to Ash Spring. We had no idea what was waiting for us at Ash Spring but when we arrived we saw the most flawless person I know, which most of the group was looking forward to meet, Caleb aka hippie Jesus. But little did we know we had something bigger waiting for us. As we gathered in a circle, BOOM, there they were sitting behind hippie Jesus truck, more native plants. We had to hike up a very treacherous trail where we barely made it to the ponds. As each of us would carry three to four small plants we had our daredevils Manny and Alan carrying a big plant around 25 to 30 pounds and Ismael and Ben with another. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the ponds, but oh boy let me tell you it was a hike all right. After having breaks in between the hike we had enough energy to arrive.
After that breath-taking hike and a long break at the ponds, we started getting our hands dirty. We began by planting the plants from the day before as Caleb placed the new plants soon to be planted around the rest of the ponds. As we made it through plant we came to an end, and as we took a water break Rebekah and Caleb walked up the watershed and saw pretty bad erosion going on. So, then we split into smaller groups and started working on rock structures. In total we built around nine of them and two stickchera. Every group did an amazing job with the structures but the one rock structure we where most proud off and that could have had a huge impact in the future, was the zuni bowl we all put a hand in by collecting rocks but the work Steph, Ismael, and Caleb did, especially was outstanding and beautiful and well made.
Even though we had a tough hike coming up, overall it was an amazing day. We made each other laugh, and before ending the day with a debrief, Rebekah talked about the different categories you could experience in the forest service and then gave us a land manager’s guide about maintaining and improving habitat for hummingbirds in Arizona and New Mexico. It was so sweet of her, although we were sad that it was the last day she would work with us, but we said our goodbyes and went home since we had Wednesday off for being 4th of July and would work Thursday and Friday.
Thursday and Friday were both similar working days. Starting off with Thursday the group met with Lily and Caleb at the Rucker Canyon camping sight where from there we headed to Hermitage Spring to do some planting. Before we got to work we played an awesome game of capture the flag, a very intense game that woke everybody up to be ready to work. We started working and did the same process for planting as we did on Monday and Tuesday, we each picked a plant and finished very quick. Then we moved on to our next location, Reed Creek, which was so exciting because we were going to plant in the ponds BECY helped to build last year which was a hustle but a very fun experience. So anyways as we arrived the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew was working on some fencing so we minded our own business and started carrying plants to the ponds. It was about noon, when we finished carrying all the plants and broke for lunch. We had about an hour and a half to finish working, so we left most of the planting for Friday.
The group finished planting on Friday and finished the day with our debrief and talked about the work we would be doing the following week. Overall this week was the best week, not only because we took a break from working with rock structures, but because had the chance to work with the ecosystem by planting all these amazing native plants that will help many habitats. Which is a cool thing to work on because while working with erosion control for most of the program and spending a whole week planting we were able to learn to I.D. plants that are in the borderlands and the usage these plants have for people as much as for wildlife.
As each year passes BECY only gets better, and having a team as amazing as this year’s is even better. I only hope it continues to expand and help restore wildlife as much as we can.
The BRN Native Plant Materials program is so excited about some new projects we're cooking up related to herbalism and bilingual native plant education in the Borderlands-- This video is part of our application to the Mountain Rose Herbs Giving Project, which we hope helps to fund these projects. Thank you so much to Mountain Rose Herbs for supporting important native plant work!
Duke Norton, Patagonia BECY Crew reflects on the importance of perseverance and repetition to restoration work in his last week with the 2018 BECY Program.
For the last week of our BECY experience we worked doing a number of things with a bitter-sweet feeling in us as we reflected on our work with the program. To begin the week we started out working at the Santa Fe Ranch alongside Dean Fish, the Ranch Manager, pulling weeds and building rock structures. This day was memorable for so many reasons: we got to get our hands dirty with the creative writing master’s students from the University of Arizona who joined us in our work, our perception of bees changed from a 'run on sight' to a 'just keep pulling the weeds, they won't hurt you', and we played in the massive sprinkler in the field before meeting the downpour of monsoon.
Next we worked at Francesca Claverie's house building a grey water system water filter, and transplanting plants. The best part about this was that Francesca is just simply someone everybody loves, and her passion for plants is infectious. Working with the nursery plants is always very interesting, knowing that they are native plants, but when you have someone like Francesca there who has what seems like an abundance of information on the plants it puts your excitement in high gear and floors it.
Another day we worked at Dirty Girl Farmette with Summer Lewton, the farm owner and founder. I personally really looked forward to working here because I had worked there three years previously. Before it had been just a tiny sectioned off part of her yard that was much like a regular house garden, and I remember her discussing potentially buying the acreage behind her to expand, and guess what.... she did! Now she is kicking butt, selling produce to whole foods stores in our community and surrounding areas, and empowering youth by giving them days like this to work alongside her and admire her success as a small town farmer. That's most of what I took away from the day, and I think many others did as well.
The last day!!!! The last day was a trip out to Harris Heritage where we worked with Denise Purvis doing... can you guess? That's it! Pulling more weeds! In all seriousness, as redundant as much of our work seems it's insanely rewarding at the end of the day. Regardless of your attention span the work that you may feel you are doing over and over again is something that is valid, and necessary. It's pretty gratifying to know that you, some group of kids, are working in the heat of an Arizona summer, doing the same thing almost every day because it takes a whole lot of doing the same thing to fix what it is you're trying to restore. Not many can say that their perseverance was for more than themselves, and essentially that is what it is we do in BECY. We work day-to-day getting caked with dust, sun, and bees to make a better environment for more than just ourselves. What I'm really getting at here is that when we pulled up to the farm just to start pulling some more weeds you better believe we put on our music full blast and our hoes in those roots. What better way to remember the program then to finish it off with all those things that resonate like weeding, some jams, and the good ol' sun.