In what seems like another lifetime, I practiced as a veterinary technician. I challenged myself for over a decade working in busy clinics and even more active animal shelters. The days were long and filled with difficult decisions. Sometimes I would wonder if the animals knew we were trying to help them. At times I felt they did, and at other times not so much. As I have gained more life experience and gathered bits of wisdom from here or there, I have concluded that just like humans, some were grateful, and some simply wanted the freedom to make their own choices. One thing that was always clear was that animals celebrated when they got to go home or found a home. With bouncing feet, wagging tails, and sounds of excitement, the cats were a little harder to read, but secretly I knew they were celebrating inside too.
As humans, we love holding space for celebration, and often that celebration revolves around gratitude. These celebrations help us solidify meaningful relationships and come together to enjoy being human with food, music, and joyful communication. On November 12, Borderlands Wildlife Preserve managers have a big reason to celebrate and show gratitude to our supporters. In addition to the generous support of donors and partners who made the original land purchase possible. This year we were honored to receive over $1,000,000 in funding from the United States Forest Service Forest Legacy Program and nearly $600,000 from The Nature Conservancy to help protect an additional 480 acres in partnership with the Town of Patagonia. This funding pays off all the remaining debt from the original 1100-acre purchase, allowing us to progress towards an additional proposal to the Forest Legacy Program to protect more land.
These donations and the endless support of exceptional people and private donors has led to the protection of what is now the 1800-acre and growing Borderlands Wildlife Preserve that is protecting the last remaining unobstructed wildlife corridor connecting the Huachuca and Santa Rita Mountain ranges. We express tremendous gratitude to all our supporters in the spirit of celebration. Everyone who has worked, volunteered, donated, or liked our social media posts in support of the preserve. Thank you for your contributions making this unique protected place possible.
As the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve Coordinator, I have left behind many life and death decisions I made as a veterinary technician. Still, I have not forgotten those dog and cat lessons. I like to believe that wildlife and plants find a reason to celebrate too. Maybe when they find their way to one of our wildlife drinkers or a puddle of water created by our watershed restoration crew or grow a blanket of flowers, they celebrate too. It certainly looks like a celebration to me and with any luck they will call the preserve home.
To honor this milestone and the contributions of all that have made the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve possible, we invite you to public celebration on Saturday, November 12 at 9 AM—located at the AZ Trail Casa Blanca Canyon parking lot in Patagonia, where the AZ Trail connects to the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve. Join us for refreshments and remarks from the Forest Legacy Program, BRN, and Wildlife Corridors, booths from partner organizations including The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Game & Fish, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, and Friends of Sonoita Creek while you enjoy and celebrate the preserve's beauty. Following remarks, join longtime BRN volunteer, birder, and retired biology teacher, John Hughes for a 1-mile, easy to moderate guided nature hike with a special emphasis on birds. Special thanks to Butter my Biscuit for sponsoring this event by providing delicious pastries for attendees!