Growing in 2015
Starting a new conservation group and voice is no easy undertaking, and after two years it’s clear we have had some great successes and some epic failures. If there is one thing we can do to improve our imagine and trustworthiness it is to communicate better with our members.
Here are some of the ways we'll be making our mission clear:
- We will begin to use Wednesday nights as a place for a series to tackle important subjects that we are involved in. Example, starting the second Wednesday in January, we will begin a series on the Game and Fish Departments in our country. We'll be looking at specific states and educating our members about the direct connection of Game and Fish Departments to the destruction of predators, especially wolves.
- We will highlight New Mexico, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Washington, Montana, Alaska and (hopefully!) a lot of success stories.
- Publish a series that takes a hard look at wolf recovery and how some national groups have failed us, and some specific politicians, like Jon Tester of Montana.
- Focus on fossil fuel energy, and how it is destroying the wildness of our earth, and take on public lands grazing in a series on the restoration of lands and waters-the future wild.
Using passion as our guiding light:
While many groups rely on cold, hard science and a disciplined approach, we'll show how our organization is passionate about its beliefs. Used properly, passion can be infectious; it's the foundation of this organization.
Podcasts and video:
Video is a great way for us to convey our feelings and educate members and those looking at issues of conservation importance. We will also include interviews with citizen-warriors that have expertise and insight unique to important issues; it may even include artists or writers--we also hope to interview elected officials this year as well, as those opportunities arise. Perhaps best of all, we hope to help kids show their passion for conservation and wildlife onscreen this year too!
Press events and Op-eds:
We need to look at issues of importance and organize; part of organizing includes press events, publishing op-eds (we only had two this year,) and taking the time to meet with the media to push media in the direction of wildlife and wild land issue recognition.
Our effort this year, will be to explain the politics of an issue; it's our effort to go behind the scenes and make people understand why an issue is moving or losing and perhaps give them advanced information about pending Monuments, legislation or efforts. The same could be done for state issues and legislation if it is pertinent.
There's a great connection between the art world and conservation. To begin this project we'll work on interviews with artists that work on nature or art that speaks to our natural world or give proceeds to wild nature. We have at least three interviews waiting: we welcome others if you have some in mind, including art from youth and interviewing them to relay and support the feelings of the next generation.
Showing the various relationships we have established, while continuing to carve out how we are unique as an organization. We will focus in the coming year on specific campaigns in varying degrees, including:
• Wolves- organizing new coalition, moving it forward and showing a new direction for success;
• Wilderness in New Mexico, Washington and Wisconsin, including expansion of the Apostle Islands;
• Game and Fish Reform. Including an end to the egregious practice of trapping;
• Politics-free Government Agency Reform;
• Protecting North Carolina's shores from oil drilling;
• Work with homeless, Gay and Transgender youth to introduce them to nature;
• Fight public lands grazing;
• Stop the selling off of Western Public Land--the new agenda for a republican controlled congress;
• Highlight Member Outings: Big Bend, Madagascar and a possible outing to the Apostle Islands;
• Passing legislation to ban drones in wilderness, working to end fossil fuel subsidies;
• More ideas to come…….
The bottom line in the coming year is more outreach, communication with members and concrete actions that lead to success; this is just a start, a few ideas to get us all talking!!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM EVERYONE AT BOLD VISIONS CONSERVATION!
The weather has turned cold, even in my stretch of New Mexico; it’s not Wisconsin or Montana cold, but cold. Sure the sun still shines, but the cold evenings and mornings show frost and ice, the mountain is covered in white. My family; that small amount who live in the West are staying in my house. Mom prefers to sleep on the couch near the fire. It burns long and slow and makes a night in front of it a cocoon of warmth.
My aunt stays in the guest room, sometimes sleeping in her robe, the reason it appears is me. For you see, I, even in the coldest weather enjoy sleeping with the door open. Former girlfriends have referred to this as “Stephens meat locker,” I am not really sure why, but it seems the many nights under the stars of my youth, make sleeping indoors feel strangely claustrophobic. The cold air of the evening is refreshing to breath and under layers of down and comforters, makes for the perfect rest. Sometimes in the night I rise to look out the door. This time of year planets can be seen amidst clusters of stars that fill the sky in the 3 am timeline. The cold air bites at my body, my eyes, just awakened; strain to focus on the falling stars and movement of the galaxy.
Inside my home, we have strung lights and symbols of Christmas and the holidays, above my mantle in gold lettering one sees P-E-A-C-E weaving its way, next to ornaments, red, green and blue lights and fresh pine. The table is covered in cloth with images of reindeer and a community in the country, covered in snow. Santa is there also, flying high. This year we have included penguins, snowmen and Santa’s cut from cardboard or pressed paper, they cover tables and greet your arrival in the boot room.
No tree this year, there really was no time, with two cats and three dogs it also would face serious challenges of life and liberty. I have eaten way too much also. For having family, cold weather and colored lights seems to infuse hunger and loss of sanity. Or perhaps one losing their mind simply craves food to fill the void.
With Christmas a week away, plans now go towards a meal which will include my Aunts family and more friends and well, lots of food. There is nothing very environmentally sound about it all, rather it is part of the ritual of life, the celebration of the year, the hope and promise of the coming year.
We will exchange a few gifts, not many as the year has not been easy financially. Also, gifts are not as important as the company, laughs and bread we break together. I hope it will snow for Christmas, but so far it looks like it may be a day off.
I will build a large fire, which will make the room too hot with so many people. I will find a way to Miss Mass again, something that like my open door seems strangely liberating.
We will have our friends gather in the late afternoon, on a hopefully snowy day, cold and brisk at the very least. They will be greeted by a chorus of barking, yelping and jumping. Some will rejoice in the madness, others will enter quickly with a glance of fear. Music will fill the air and the perfume of juniper and pinon, and spoils of the kitchen will mix with timelessness of the holiday.
In the mountains nearby, coyotes will be on the move, the trails perhaps quieter with the dawning of morning. The small black bears of the Sandias may be resting if the snow is falling. Down in the Gila country, the wolves are moving, looking for elk that may have a damaged leg, from a fall. Some hikers will soak in the hot springs on Christmas day, feeling very lucky to be far away from family and the gouging of food and drink, in the heart of wildness.
We rush to slow down, we spend and rush, and suddenly finding the clock stopping for a few precious days, the phones and emails go quite, as the mind and the belly rest and inhale the last of the holidays. Some argue that they hate Christmas and all the commercialism that comes with it.
Some avoid the true meaning of giving; it’s just not part of their soul. I can only do what comes naturally, that is to share and celebrate with those I love. I think of my animal friends in the wild and pray for their lives and work towards their protection.
As the snow flies and the morning comes…….. Take the time to connect, share and to slow down and listen. For the land and its creatures will celebrate another day of life, the families they have created, the gift of food, and the luxury of warmth, the very things that which we celebrate each Christmas day.
Happy holidays to you and yours….From all of us at Bold Visions Conservation.
by Stephen Capra
As we approach the solstice, one senses the change in the mood of the land. In the broad expanse of land and sky, the cold air of winter, defines a new cycle of survival. In the Boundary Waters Country of northern Minnesota, the lakes are thick with ice; one can hear the strain as the ice thickens and moans with the light of the late morning touching its nascent development.
The deer seek shelter in the thick expanse of forest, but stand on guard, as the wolves now relish their advantage. While the older animals will push for one more winter to guide them to spring, they will face danger as they search for food, and stand against the cold winds that allow little freedom.
In Yellowstone, the bison move in the meadows, twisting their heads back and forth across the surface, digging deeper, to find the grass which the heavy snows bury and incase for spring. Crossing a road or being startled by a snowmobile can cause the bison to fall, and often break a leg, or a body part essential to their survival. As a herd moves across an opening in the Lamer Valley, the bison whose leg is broken struggles to keep up with the herd. Limping and losing balance, becoming exhausted as the clod steam of his sweat rises into the air, snow crystalizing on his face.
On a rock outcropping above, the pack watches and begins to sense opportunity, as the raven barks out into the empty valley below. The land is white and windswept, the thermals allowing steam to rise along the banks of the Lamar River, ice covering it in places, otters, rising and swimming as the evanescent light touches land and sky, while the bear dreams of a coming spring.
In the Gila country the snow has touched some peaks, the weather is cold and rain has fallen several times. The gunshots and bows of autumn have gone silent. With the sun low in the sky the light touches the open meadows and diffuses in the canopy of ponderosa pines. Much of the land has burned in recent years, and after a wet summer, the growth of regeneration climbs skyward. In this land, ranchers still keep cattle on the range and hope for snows to keep the rivers alive as we move towards summer. When it rains, the Gila River, a place that remains wild begins a trickle, then a flow. The river that has been free, prepares for a winter, knowing that the Bureau of Reclamation is beginning to plan for the occlusion that will choke it off and destroy that natural rhythm that has occurred in this conduit of mountain and desert.
In the night one listens for the owl whose hoots, begin the evening as does the full moon, large and vivid, beginning to rise and cast shadow across the forest. The Mexican wolves are waking up and the excitement is real, the night is before them. Like an athlete there is much fanfaronade as the pack comes together yelping with the energy of life as they begin to patrol the land, as they have for millennium, their prints in the muddy trail are but an imprint of their soul.
It is winter, the land speaks a new language, it sheds its skin in a blanket of snow, its animals, like its people slow down and rest, the chilblain of season, demand much of our energy, the darkness ask for reflection.
For me, it is a time for a good fire. To chop wood, and let the early evenings absorb my thinking. To make a hardy soup and to take the time to read the books that summer and spring allowed me to put down.
It is a time to put on my skis and go into the forest, across the valley to listen for the wolf, or simply hike before the snows truly fall. Winter is here.
Winter is here. Winter is a fine time of year.
by Stephen Capra
I awoke early this morning, with my mind running from the dream I just had experienced. Yes, experienced, for there are no other words for the sense of running with 200,000 bison on an open plain, or sliding down a snowy embankment with a grizzly, or wrestling with the pack, as my wolf family rejoices from a fresh kill. For in my dreams all animals are wild and free, they have land to roam, and rivers to swim, families to create, and battles to be waged. In a dream state, things can be free and joyous, scary and intense, but sadly for the wildlife that I and so many love and respect; life is not a dream, and the reality can be cruel and foolish, driven by those void of heart, and intellect.
In our modern world of oil derricks and spills, of housing developments and mines, leaking nuclear power plants and plastic filled oceans, we have allowed our priorities to devolve. Nowhere is that more apparent, then in the plight of wildlife, the world over. So many heartbreaking stories of destroyed innocence, cruelty, and tradition that leaves animals the losers to people who themselves are losers. If I see one more image of a killed giraffe in Africa, or a young girl proudly holding a dead wolf pup she killed with an arrow, I may myself go nuclear!
Which takes me to Wyoming and the cancer that is Game and Fish Departments across this country and something Bold Visions Conservation has for so long written about and worked in New Mexico to reform. This past week, I received an email from Richard Spratley, who informed me of the latest act of outright unexplainable actions taken by the bloodthirsty and corrupt organization known as Wyoming Game and Fish. You could remove the word Wyoming and easily insert Montana, Idaho, New Mexico or Nevada, or go east and say South Carolina. There are 50 states and 50 departments like this that generally live in a 19th century mindset as it relates to predators and conservation in general.
The latest and cruelest example involves a 4 year old grizzly, whose only crime was being too comfortable around humans. This was a Grand Teton National park study bear (760), I prefer to call him Moccasin, because I hate calling animals by numbers, that alone are designed to remove feeling. As a sub-adult, Moccasin showed up near an inhabited area. The park, fearful of an incident, moved him to an area with the highest concentration of grizzlies in the Yellowstone-Teton region. Being a sub-adult he had virtually no chance of survival at this location.
With no resources or food, Moccasin wandered looking for food and trying to establish his new territory. Over time he came out to the sage flats around Clark, Wyoming where he discovered unsecured and low hanging deer carcasses a hunter put in a tree and instinctively claimed it for his own. When the property owner saw this occurring, he called Wyoming Game and Fish. You know the rest of the story. With little thought or planning Game and Fish snared the bear and euthanized him. This occurred less than three weeks after the bear was tranquilized and moved from the park, where he had displayed no aggressive behavior. The bear had no strikes against him, yet Game and Fish as they do with wolves and any predator jumped at the chance to kill!
This is not action in the best interest of wildlife. It reflects people with an agenda to appease hunters, to make game in the wild resemble deer and elk farms, and for Moccasin, that meant a death sentence without a jury, without common sense. Many people are angered by this. Richard Spratley has set up a petition and we are asking that you sign it and to speak out about the continued ignorance of Game and Fish departments across this nation who are supposedly a friend of wildlife; but in reality are simply stooges for ranching and oil and gas interests, not to mention the pawns for those who kill for pleasure.
Wildlife is perhaps our greatest gift. Animals will one day be given the status as equals on our planet, but the question is how much are we prepared to lose? To kill a grizzly is an act of such cruelty that it defies our moral consciousness. Some will say it was a matter of time before the bear charged a person. For me, Moccasin was a victim of an agency and a society that is lost, one that needs to stop all aspects of the word war. For when we allow war to be waged, it penetrates our soul. Such war is waged daily not just in Afghanistan, but in the lives of animals across the world. We cannot save everyone or punish each person responsible for such maladies. But we can take a stand for the bear we call Moccasin. This beautiful bear was trying to live in a world not focused on human needs and too busy battling Black Fridays to allow room for the life of such a special creature to co-exist. It is simply shameful.
Do your part to fight this stupidity and let Wyoming Game and Fish know that killing any bear is simply not acceptable and please sign the petition today!
Bold Visions Conservation