This is our first newsletter. It is being written about El Coronado Ranch - a US property part of a migratory corridor that makes the flyway connection between the US and Mexico and is consequently of importance to CLO.
This morning, Turkeys like silent shadows floated by my windows and landed next to the pond. The deers browsing nearby timidly made their way towards my porch. Coffee cup in hand, I decided to walk up to the forest, thinking as I went. On the path, I saw the tracks of three bears who walking in tandem that had passed during the night. Going home, I came face to face with a lion. Rarely seen at this time of the day, the lion was stretched out sunning himself by my kitchen window. These animal signs made me keenly aware of a problem I had been wrestling with for some time: how to protect this place in the future?
Thirty years ago, when I came to El Coronado Ranch, the hills were barren and rocky. During the course of those years, we built over 20,000 rock dams on the slopes to control erosion and capture water. As a result, the hills have become sponges that literally weep water after the rainy season. Native grasses have taken hold on the steepest slopes. This place has become an oasis, a refuge for birds and animals. Some are residents but the majority use the mountains as migratory corridor. The Chiricahua are part of a chain of mountains that connect the Rockys in the U.S. to the Sierra Madres in Mexico. This area of Southern Arizona is of high biodiversity value. It is recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA). According to E.O Wilson this Chihuahuan Pine Oak forest is one of four most endangered ecosystem in Northern America.
I am thinking of retiring from El Coronado and spending more time on the foundation work in Mexico. I would like to get feedback from those of you who have been following Cuenca Los Ojos' work over the years and may have suggestions as to how best to protect this place. For those of you who would like to know more about us, this is an introduction.
Anna Valer Clark
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