by Janine Higgins
Walt Anderson writes an eloquent tribute to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in “A Sense of Place.” We’ll begin today’s Notes with the first scene in the essay. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
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Among Friends 5 May 2021. Spring is Galloping toward Summer, by Walt Anderson
“To truly develop a sense of place, you need to listen to the conversations going on out there. You can learn to read between the lines, to marvel at the very existence of these ancient rocks that formed deep beneath the ground and now stand revealed to experience the seasons of wind, sun, frost, raven claw, and hiking boot. There is also recent history, more comprehensible to us short-lived creatures: the long tenancy of Native Americans, the arrival of settlers that changed everything, the decades of cattle grazing, the establishment of the refuge to protect the endangered Masked Bobwhite Quail and general biodiversity, and the impacts of a border wall and political divisions.”
“I hope that we can learn to love our homeland for what it is and for what it could be. I want to celebrate here some of the life of this very special state and also to urge us to be wise in how we manage our incredible landscapes. We need to protect what we love. There are things whose values transcend commodity, whose worth is not measured in economic terms. Ironically, protecting those intrinsic values can incidentally offer financial benefits to a community in addition to the esthetic ones. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure for all people, and it pays to have Friends!”
Walt’s complete essay can be found here.
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Brown Canyon Study Hikes
We hope that Brown Canyon will be open for hikes in November. Thanks again to the hard working, enthusiastic volunteers who maintained the trails there this Spring.
Friends of BANWR plan to offer study hikes in addition to the regular hikes. Study hikes will have a Naturalist along to give a presentation on some aspect of life in Brown Canyon: flora, fauna, geology, history and more.
To start the series, Roseann and Jonathan Hanson have offered to lead an animal tracking hike.
Roseann and Jonathan are naturalists-explorers extraordinaire! They lead expeditions, write books and field guides, and make it all come alive! Their company is www.exploringoverland.com.
You may want to practice your tracking skills before the hike. Here is Roseann’s tutorial “Animal Tracking 101:” https://www.exploringoverland.com/field-arts-tutorials-list/2021/5/22/tracking.
The recording is at the top, just click on “Field Arts Workshop: Animal Tracking 101” to begin.
This tutorial is lighthearted and informative. There are also tips for sketching tracks that you find on the refuge, or in your backyard!
National Wildlife Refuge Executive Summary
Walt Anderson mentioned the economic benefits the National Wildlife Refuges bring to their neighboring areas.
Here is an official report from he NWR System regarding those benefits:
“The National Wildlife Refuge System plays an essential role in providing outdoor recreation opportunities to the American public and the associated economic benefits to local communities. In FY 2019, over 59 million visitors to wildlife refuges hunted, fished, observed or photographed wildlife, or participated in environmental education or interpretation. The most popular visitor activities were use of trails, wildlife auto routes, and wildlife observation programs. According to the Service’s latest Banking on Nature report, FY 2017 spending by recreational visits to wildlife refuges generated $3.2 billion of economic output in local economies. As this spending flowed through the economy, it supported over 41,000 jobs and generated about $1.1 billion in employment income. Recreational spending at wildlife refuges generated about $229 million in tax revenue at the local, county, and State levels.”
Coming up soon
In the next Outreach Notes, we’ll focus on plant life on the refuge, including grasses! Pinau Merlin writes about grasslands in different biomes. It will be interesting to compare our desert grassland with other grasslands.
Welcome to our new members: Jerry Breecher from Massachusetts, Donald Meaders from New Mexico, Alan Sturges from Illinois and Brant Keeney, Kyle Thompson and Paula Redinger, all from Arizona!
A membership in the Friends of BANWR is a special Fathers Day gift! www.friendsofbanwr.com/join-us.
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Closing thoughts of appreciation from Walt Anderson:
“All of this lovely life occurs at Buenos Aires NWR, a refuge in every sense of the word. We are indeed very lucky that people had the foresight to protect and manage this land. Please spread the word and help build an even bigger community of Friends for this special place.”
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Thank you all for being Friends of the magnificent Buenos Aires NWR!
Friends of BANWR