Sunday, September 27, 2009

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve — Leopold/Lone Star Land Steward Award

by David Baxter.

The following article was published in this September's issue of Texas Wildlife Association magazine. I know that very few of you who read my blog will receive this magazine, so I would like to share the article with you. I visited my brother in Oklahoma this week, so in using this article it gives me more time to prepare next week's posting!

—J. David

©2009 Texas Wildlife. Originally printed in Texas Wildlife magazine, September 2009, pp. 18-20. Reproduced with permission.

“Come on, Campers!”
Eighty-one-year-old J. David Bamberger urged on a scramble of biologists, reporters and other usually sedentary folk up a rocky hillside on his 5,500-acre Blanco County ranch. Reaching the top, without so much as pausing to catch his breath, the octogenarian apostle of conservation launched into an explanation of the latest low-tech way he is working to capture every raindrop that falls on his ranch, Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve. The rest of us, at least two or three decades younger, struggled to keep up with him and it would be a while before we had breath enough to ask a question that would sound like more than a wheeze.

It’s this tireless, persistent evangelism that earned Bamberger and the Selah Ranch staff the 2009 Leopold Conservation Award from the Sand County Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, part of TPWD’s Lone Star Land Steward Awards. Your TWA and the H. Yturria Land and Cattle Company are among the award’s major sponsors.

What we heard this day – Bamberger’s sermon on the mount – was the outline of an ambitious project that will take 15 years to complete and thousands of volunteer hours to move by hand tons of rock to shape some 28 miles of berms and 12 miles of water pans.

The 81-year-old J. David Bamberger with his latest water-conserving project: simple rock berms that snake along the hill’ s contours to slow rainfall and trap sediment. Some 28 miles of berms are under construction – all by hand. Photo by Chase Fountain, TPWD.

The berms are low rock terraces that snake around the hillsides like contour lines on a quad map. When it rains, the berms slow the water’s downhill rush, and trap sediment. On top of the hill is what Bamberger calls a water pan – really nothing more than a shallow trench several feet wide, edged with rock. The idea is to hold rainfall and let it percolate into the porous Hill Country limestone.

All of the work is done by hand: by the hands of Bamberger and the Selah staff and scores of volunteers such as members of the Central Texas Trail Tamers in nearby Austin. Using heavy equipment such as bulldozers would be hazardous on Selah’s steep hills, and tear up valuable grass.

“This is nothing new, folks,” said Bamberger. “Ancient civilizations were doing much the same 5,000 years ago.”

Bamberger’s project is a little more recent, unveiled in October 2008 in response to nearly two years of little rain – 14 inches total in 2008 – and his concern that such weather patterns forecast things to come in Central Texas.

“The limestone hills of the Edwards Plateau are dotted with ‘perched aquifers,’” said Bamberger. “These are pockets of water perched above the main aquifer, usually on a hill top or hill side, separated from the main aquifer by a layer of rock that water can’t penetrate. Water from these little aquifers flows out in the form of hillside springs.

“After a recent heavy rain our first hilltop water pan filled with water. Within 48 hours, water flow in the nearest downhill spring box increased by a quart per minute – not much, but it adds up.”

Bamberger is quick to point out that all the ranch’s water needs are fed by two springs

“There are no working wells on Selah,” he said. “Two springs supply water for four full-time resident families and some 3,500 visitors a year. And, we don’t use pumps to move the water; it’s all by gravity flow.”

Atop a Selah Ranch hill, Bamberger has water pans – shallow trenches edged with rock – to hold rainfall and let it percolate into the ground. Twelve miles of water pans are being built. Photo by Chase Fountain, TPWD.

Bamberger’s current project of berms and water pans is the latest in 40 years of work to make the most of every raindrop that falls on his Blanco County ranch. What he did with “the sorriest piece of land in Blanco County” has become legend in the annals of private lands stewardship.

“In 1969, when I bought the place, we started drilling wells, but came up with little or nothing. In hindsight, we were drilling right past the perched aquifers. But, we also aggressively cleared cedar [Ashe juniper] by whatever means we could – axe, chain saw, loppers.

“Seven years later two creeks started to flow again; then 11 springs started running – not a huge flow, about a gallon per minute, but that’s 1,440 gallons of water a day. Our ranch families and visitors use about 50 gallons per day (our goal is 25 gallons/day/person); adequate, but far less than what the average American uses [some 80 to 100 gallons/day/person].

The long-term benefits of removing high-water-consumption trees such as Hill Country cedar and salt cedar is well known to TWAers. It’s not enough to remove a tree and its water use, but it must be replaced on the landscape with native grasses such as bluestem.

Bamberger has a demonstration he puts on for most all Selah visitors, and our group was no exception. It’s a “rain machine,” a demonstration – comparison actually – of how two landscapes react to a simulated rainfall. It’s a concept familiar to most [of] our members but, according to Bamberger, an eye-opener to urban visitors, especially school kids.

Conservationist as evangelist: Bamberger with a favorite native grass in front of a “rain machine” demonstration that shows differences in how rain moves across landscapes covered with such grasses compared to those with only cedar, Ashe juniper. Photo courtesy Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve.

“We pour water – ‘rain’ — into two pans,” he said. “One side showers a small cedar tree planted in a pan of otherwise bare ground. The other side has bluestem. Below each is a pair of glass containers: one marked ‘run-off’ the other marked ‘groundwater.’”

Bamberger’s rain produces immediate results on the cedar side: silty water starts flowing into the run-off container — nothing percolates through the bare ground and into the ground water container.

On the bluestem side things are pretty quiet until well after all water is poured into the rain machine. Only much later does the bluestem release a trickle of clean water into the ground water container – barely a drop goes into the run-off container.

On the right side of the rain machine, with Ashe juniper, silty water quickly runs into the “Runoff” jar, little into the “Ground H2O” jar. On the left of machine, the native grass side, water slowly trickles into the “Ground H2O” jar with little in the “Runoff” jar. Photo courtesy Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve.

“I love this plant,” said Bamberger, clutching a bluestem root ball to his bosom. “In one square yard of bluestem there are 25 miles of roots. Not only that, we measured summer temperature differences between the cedar and bluestem demonstration pans – it was 17 degrees cooler on the bluestem side.

“Among the many mistakes I made 40 years ago was thinking that I could buy all the native grass seed I needed to reseed the hillsides cleared of cedar. I spent $20,000 on seed; I cornered the market on native seed that year. It’s not something I would recommend to any landowner, regardless of their finances.”

Instead, Bamberger urges landowners attending his stewardship workshops to patrol highway rights-of-way and gather native seeds. Better yet, clear cedar in patches, leave downed boughs and leaves as mulch and let native grass infiltrate on its own.

“It doesn’t take lots of cash to be a good land steward,” he said. “But it does take hard work and dedication. Do what you can with what you have. Most of the landowners attending our workshops own less than 100 acres – 10- or 20-acre spreads.

“That trend towards smaller landownership, fragmentation, is typical of what’s happening in Blanco County. When I bought Selah in 1969, the ranch ranked 17th in overall size of county private lands. Today, it ranks number-three in the county, not because of acquiring additional land, but because other ranches have been broken up.”

On top of the ridge with the water pan, Bamberger spreads his arms wide and extols his visitors to go down and do the good work of conservation.

“Conservation is not just for the rich,” he said. “Anyone can do it, and they must. Water issues are bearing down on us; they will be the defining issues of our lives.”

Even in a two-year drought, Selah lakes have water in them, captured through aggressive rainfall management. Photo courtesy Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve.

Even at 81, I’m betting J. David Bamberger will be around 15 years hence, when his network of berms and water pans is finished, collecting raindrops a few at a time, funneling them into the Hill Country limestone, trickling into perched aquifers, flowing out as springs, into creeks and finally into the Colorado River as it heads downstream to urban dwellers who use far more than 50 gallons a day.

Interesting Facts

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve: 2341 Blue Ridge Drive, Johnson City, TX 78636; (830) 868-2630;;

Bamberger Ranch is a working ranch with active cow-calf operations and hunting leases for white-tailed deer and turkey.

The scimitar-horned oryx: an endangered species no longer found in its native African countries of Niger and Chad. Bamberger Ranch has an active breeding program for the antelope; there have been as many as 120 animals on the ranch, currently there are 60.

Texas Snowbell: (see Texas Wildlife magazine, September 2008.) Bamberger holds a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect seeds of the endangered plant, propagate in the ranch greenhouse facility, and restore to their respective watersheds on the Devils and Nueces rivers.

The Chiroptorium or “Bamberger’s Folly”: A manmade cave built on the ranch as a nursery shelter for Mexican free-tailed bats. Number of bats varies, estimated as many as 200,000 some years. There are about 50,000 bats this year.

The ranch hosts some 2,000 school children and area landowners each year in:

  • Land Stewardship Workshops;
  • Teacher Workshops and Training;
  • Birding and Wildflower Field Days;
  • Children Discovering Nature, and
  • Informal Science Education.

The ranch has a 12-member volunteer board of directors and five fulltime staffers. In 2008, 40 volunteers served 1,100 hours. Visitors to Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve are primarily from the Central Texas area, as well as from the Houston and Dallas school districts.

Margaret Bamberger, J. David’s wife, died March 6, 2009. Margaret was responsible for much of the work at Selah, especially its education and outreach, and would have been especially pleased with this latest award. She is buried on Selah.

Selah: from the Hebrew, “to pause and reflect,” used frequently in the Psalms.

The late Margaret Bamberger was a driving
force on ranch education and outreach.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Exclosure – (ex-clo’-sure) n. – an area protected by various devices against the entrance of animals and insect pests – from Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary.

Photograph taken by Lew Hunnicutt.

In February of 2000 Dr. Lew Hunnicutt, who was then in charge of Stewardship, Education and Research for us, set into motion on Selah a research project quite ambitious for a small staff and operation such as Bamberger Ranch Preserve. The project in Lew’s own words was to “Monitor Range Condition and Trend.” It was long range, a minimum of 5 years but our expectations were 10, maybe even 20 years! In 2001 and 2002 Lew, assisted by Margaret Bamberger and a very capable volunteer, Patrick Garnett, monitored and photographed the existing exclosures. As a result of their efforts, a very good baseline set of records exist. Unfortunately, in 2003 Dr. Lew left us to return to his roots, college level teaching. The regular monitoring required of the project soon escaped our attention.

I have admonished everyone here over and over, “Never initiate an action that you are unable to sustain,” whether it is a business, a marriage, a trail or a research project. Without Lew Hunnicutt, we did not have the time or knowledge to sustain the project; although Margaret led newly hired Ranch Biologist, Steven Fulton, to the exclosures and together they recorded observations and took photographs. However before the next scheduled visits, Margaret was diagnosed with cancer and her involvement was no longer possible.

Before moving to 2009, let me describe for you just what and how and for what purpose the exclosures were installed. Once again, in Dr. Lew’s own words excerpted from his plan:

“The condition of rangeland (i.e. excellent, good, fair, or poor) is a direct result of the management practices imposed on it. Determining condition alone is not enough; we must also monitor the direction of change in condition over time (rangeland trend). Trend can be upward (positive), stable (positive or negative), or downward (negative). This dictates to us whether or not our animal management program is beneficial or detrimental to a particular range, site, pasture, etc. If detrimental (downward trend), changes can be implemented to move a site back toward an upward trend.

In order to monitor condition and trend on the ranch, 13 exclosures (more to be added in the future) were constructed in February of 2000. Each exclosure was constructed using 2, 20-foot cattle panels pulled into a circle with the overlapping ends wired together. Each exclosure was then wired to 3 t-posts driven into the ground for support. The 13 exclosures were divided among 5 different range sites (a classification of land based on soil type and properties) across the ranch in areas determined to be important from an animal use standpoint. The purpose of each exclosure is to keep out large ungulates (cattle, deer, and goats), while still allowing use by small animals (rabbits, quail, etc.). Baseline date (i.e. species composition, extent of cover versus bare ground, height of vegetation, etc.) was documented at each exclosure. A permanent photo point was also placed at each exclosure site. This photo point was simply another t-post driven into the ground in close proximity to the exclosure. To collect photo point data, a camera is placed on the top of the post with the lens pointed in the direction of the “tail-of-the-t” of the t-post. The picture is taken then the camera is turned 180 degrees to capture a photo in the opposite direction. This insures that the same areas will be photographed during each data collection period. The purpose of photo points is to look at changes in the land over time. Photos can be compared with previous years to determine the trend (upward, downward, stable) of the site. The key to using photo points is to not get in a hurry. It is impossible to draw conclusions after only a few years. It takes a minimum of 5 years and it is even better with more years worth of photo data before conclusions are drawn about the trend.

We will visit each exclosure at least twice (more as needed) during the year to document species composition, forage quantity inside and outside each exclosure, and to take photo point photos. The visits will occur during the growing (May/June) and dormant (Jan/Feb) seasons for many of the plant species found on the ranch that are of major importance to large ungulates. This data will allow us to monitor condition and trend over time. This is a long term study, basically never-ending, project.”

Over the past 5 years while rounding up cattle or guiding a hunter, Scott Grote, Ranch Operations Manager, made a few casual observations of the exclosures. Nothing was recorded.

Now fast forward through 2004-2005-2006-2007 and 2008. In late August 2009 Steven Fulton, Ranch Biologist, with me and my dog, Cory, tagging along visited, inventoried and photographed all exclosures.

Like tree rings divulge age and weather, the exclosures, along with our weather and livestock records give us valuable information.

Photograph taken by J. David in June of 2009.

See what may occur if rangeland is not managed. Grazing cattle or browsing deer are management tools. Inside the exclosure, woody species have essentially taken over. The tall plant is a Hackberry tree which will eventually provide bird food. Primary vegetation is Greenbriar, a preferred plant for deer, but currently over represented throughout the ranch. There is also a very large spreading Agarita which I would describe as somewhat invasive. There were 3 forbs: Orange Zexmania, Vetch Sp, and Shepherds Purse; some Texas Wintergrass; and K.R. Bluestem, but overall the cover inside was 65% woody with 156” height; while outside the exclosure under managed (grazed) conditions, the cover was grass.

Photograph taken by J. David.

Here on this adobe site there is not much difference inside or outside our exclosure. The ground cover is 45% inside and out of the exclousre with grass cover 6 to 8 inches inside. The grasses are primarily Seep Muhly, Little Bluestem and Tall Dropseed. Steven indentified two forbs, Queen’s Delight and Navaho Tea, and a succulent, Twisted Leaf Yucca, which hadn’t been recorded in those first three years.

Photograph taken by J. David.

Grass cover was estimated at 95% and 10 to 12 inches tall within this exclosure with K.R. Bluestem being most abundant followed by Little Bluestem, Silver Bluestem, Side Oats Grama and some Tall Dropseed. One forb, Vetch Sp, was noted as well as Greenbriar, a woody. It appeared that grass production was beginning to mulch itself.

Photograph taken by J. David.

This is on our Redlands Range site. A small, perhaps a 50 acre area in which Post and Blackjack Oak dominate. There are very few other oaks in this area. 85% cover, 6 to 8 inches high and mostly grass was identified within the exclosure. They being K.R. Bluestem, Little Bluestem and smaller amount of Sideoats and Indiangrass. There were no identifiable forbs, outside the exclosure grazing and hoof action had hampered our ability to identify anything. We noted that in 2003 this location held a nice diversity of grasses and forbs. Please read on through the next exclosure for comments about this as well as other thoughts on our exclosure project.

Photograph taken by J. David.

I was unable to identify which exclosure this was so I passed the question to Steven Fulton, our Ranch Biologist, with the comment, “Tell me about this one.” The following is Steven’s written reply:

“My first impression of this pasture as I approached this exclosure was that it is overgrazed. However, when our 30 inch deficit in rainfall of the past two years is thrown into the equation the condition of this pasture begins to make more sense. The physiological response of many of our native plants is to retreat into a state of dormancy when faced with severe drought. Our seemingly dead grass is only dead above ground; the life of the plant persists in the roots. Cattle removing dead grass blades and stems should not change the species composition of this grass community. Inside the exclosure, the dominant species is Little Bluestem. To determine the degree of overgrazing (if any) in this pasture, a return visit after a wet period is warranted. I expect to see the pasture composed mostly of Little Bluestem, meaning that overgrazing has not occurred. However, if the grass community shifts to less desirable species (threeawns) then overgrazing has occurred. Let’s pray for a wet fall and spring so I can answer this question about overgrazing.”

I’m not pleased with this, my first report on the exclosures. However I am enthusiastic about the project. It was very interesting to see the changes at each site and to look at Lew Hunnicutt and his volunteers’ comments and inventory of the plants. Now that we are back and involved with this research, I expect to be much more thorough when monitoring and collecting data. . . . . What can we say about all of this at this time?

  • Well, we could tell which sites cattle preferred.

  • It was wrong to conclude any site was overgrazed due to poor management since we had two serious drought years with no water in 4 pastures. So, in spite of reducing our cattle herd by 60%, cattle had to be grazed in pastures that had water.

  • There was a lot of dormant grass that has begun to green up since recent rains.

  • Rangeland unmanaged will result in woody species that begin taking over.

  • As a precursor to climate change, we may learn which plants can adapt.

  • It would be more valuable if we had checked our project in a more normal climate year, but what really is normal?

As Lew Hunnicutt said – “the project has more value if extended 20 years,” and it’s our goal to do just that.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Vision for Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

To all of you who have followed my blog and new viewers alike,

The shingles have brought me excruciating pain. The drugs to control the pain have not only kept me from work or enjoyment of the ranch and friends, but have kept me stoned all day! Six weeks of this is enough. After six weeks, it seems to be easing up.

The content of this week’s blog was written to our Board of Directors in 2003. I never intended it to be in circulation around the world. Since it is so long we’re going to leave it posted for two weeks. By then, the shingles should be letting up and I should be able to bring you more about the ranch. I have added the pictures from our files. They were not part of the original vision statement to the Board.


J. David Bamberger, 12/16/2003

Photograph taken by J. David.


My purpose in creating an entity that could hold SELAH together and continue it’s mission in perpetuity was to support a strong belief of mine that Mother Nature needed help ~ some relief and protection from humans and the thoughtless destruction caused by an exploding population that had more money than any past generations and a desire to have a piece of land in the Hill Country. I felt it important that larger tracts such as the 5500 acres of SELAH, which was purchased in 1969, be set aside, forever protected from development or fragmentation. Thus BRP was born in 2002.

West side view of Selah. Photo by Margaret Bamberger.
Madrone Lake invites Cory dog. Photo by Margaret Bamberger.

Believing that governments, at all levels, would not devote enough of their budgets to set aside and manage such lands, and also thinking that conservation organizations and land trusts still could not do their tasks due to money and time, it became apparent to me that without the commitment of private landowners to take action, Mother Nature, as we have always known her, was threatened. A favorite statement of mine by William Beebe, a scientist and explorer, (which I have paraphrased), was “A work of art or the scroll of a symphony can be lost, but it can be resurrected. But when a species is lost, another heaven and another earth must form before it could live again.” Incidentally, he said that 65 years ago!

Scimitar horned Oryx – Endangered species. Photo by Chris W. Johnson.
Texas Snowbell – Endangered Species. Photo by Margaret Bamberger.

As my vision developed, I realized that the economics of most private landowners would mean financial sacrifice that they would be unwilling to handle, even though they loved and respected their land. It therefore should rightly fall on the shoulders of society in general and to those who had the love, foresight, and resources to do it.

The Center – sleeps 48; conference 100. Photo by Chase Fountain.
The Center's Patio – seats 200. Photo by J. David.

Some people get religion, others develop interests in art, education or hunger, and other humanitarian issues, and they dedicate their accumulated wealth to these causes. I have found myself involved in conservation, the environment and education of others about these issues. As my experience and knowledge developed, and debate and controversy over environmental issues continued, I began to see how SELAH could serve as a model of conservation for landowners as well as provide a neutral site for both sides of the environmental debates. In the early 1980’s “The Center” was built to help facilitate this mission.

Summer science camp for kids. Photo by Dixie Gadna.
Landowner Tour Group. Photo by Colleen Gardner.


In 1994 Margaret came into my life. She is truly the best overall naturalist I had ever known. She also is a wonderful teacher, and a very good program designer. Up to that point SELAH was a conference center and a place for me to more or less “show and tell.”

Selah staff and family. Photo by Chase Fountain.
Annual Family Picnic. Photo by Amanda Fulton.

Margaret added a whole new dimension to that which I had practiced. She initiated tours, workshops for landowners and teachers, and school programs designed to meet the needs of teachers, including programs that weren’t available anywhere else. What had been accomplished at SELAH drew the attention of the media. Articles appeared in state and national magazines and on television. More and more we were called upon to speak and to bring our experiences to interested groups. I developed a political agenda designed to promote parks and the environment. We initiated, by demand, a consultation service. None of these things required advertising as they all came about through publicity and referral.

From the reaction of the many visitors who have had the opportunity to visit SELAH, I have received encouragement and applause. Through my business experience and volunteer assignments with government agencies, and many conservation organizations, I have gotten the insights about parks, sanctuaries and “set aside” lands from which the vision I have for SELAH developed.

Deep Canyon Trail. Photo by Chase Fountain.
Aldo Leopold Trail Bridge. Photo by Chase Fountain.

I wanted the ranch left mostly as it is today, to be a place that, first of all, preserves and protects plants and animals and all living things, a place for educating others now and for the benefit of future generations. I wanted to create the entity now and give it financing and direction so that we could enjoy watching its progress while we are present to do so.


Northeast view of Selah. Photo by Chase Fountain.
Jacob’s Ladder with 20 year old Cypress trees. Photo by Chase Fountain.

What will parks and sanctuaries look like in the future? Will they glorify nature? Will they provide refuge for wild things both animal and plant? Will the visitor be in the natural world, or one contrived or exploited with gift shops, restaurants, vending machines, vapor lights, cell phone towers, paved parking lots, signs, overused picnic areas and garbage dumpsters? Will they be developed with buildings and machines, offices, computers and large staffs? My vision, desire and belief are the opposite. I truly believe that within 20 years there will be few if any publicly accessible parks or natural areas in America that will not have most all of these things. There will be no places left that exclude all these signs of civilization except SELAH, and with this “civilizing” of the natural world Mother Nature suffers.

It is so easy to initiate programs or actions, but it is more difficult to sustain them. One reason of course is the money it requires. I recall Jane Goodall’s visit here when she said during her talk to the group assembled to hear her, “Whenever you are thinking of acquiring something new, ask yourself this question, ‘Can I get along without this?’” She was referring to purchases of material things that consume natural resources. I’m thinking of the fact that in the quest to acquire more – more buildings, more equipment, and more staff – one looses the focus of one’s mission. More businesses have gone bankrupt because they expanded too fast, and didn’t take good stock of just what resources they had that made them successful in the first place.

My thinking is not to negate progress or to stop necessary construction or needed capital expenditures. I know that times and circumstances change and those who don’t adapt to change go extinct. So there is room for this adapting, but only after considering the cost and consequences, and after thoughtful debate should the Preserve venture out. What development SELAH feels today was carefully considered and planned. Roads, attractions, trees, and buildings all have space and separation. I have planned everything to fit in with the land, to make sure nothing gives the impression of affluence or ostentatiousness. This is all so very important as I wanted this image to support the ranch programs and viewpoint and not have a negative impact on nature.

Bat emergence from Chiroptorium, Selah’s man made cave. Photo by Lois Sturm.
Chiroptorium has become a maternity cave. Lighter colors are baby bats. They bunch up to 500 per square foot. Photo by Tom Kunz.

I see the future of SELAH as being just what it is today – a place that glorifies Mother Nature and shares it simply and cleanly with all others that visit. I see this as minimally developed land continuing to serve as an inspiration and model for others, and as a place where those who work there, the volunteers and directors all personify the name, “SELAH”. The staff and its volunteers should continue the outreach programs and nurture our reputation so that our example will inspire and motivate others to open the natural world to young people, to motivate other landowners to do the same as we have today, and to inspire philanthropy to support their efforts.

In all the years of operating the ranch it has never shown a profit, in fact, far from it. Some years the losses were over $200,000. None of the losses were caused from frivolous or unnecessary spending but rather from ranch operations, depreciations and conservation practices. Try as I could, I was never able to cut the annual losses below $70,000.

There are ways to reverse or stop this financial drain, but all methods I’m aware of either have a negative impact on the land and Mother Nature, require more buildings and staff (and therefore expenses), or they begin taking away the very thing that sets SELAH apart and maintains the uncivilized naturalness. Raising prices to come here has some potential, if discriminatory, but no organized group, particularly the young, should be left behind because of lack of a few dollars. I don’t believe we can pass on our overhead or mistakes to those who need the SELAH experience.

By changing my attitude about money and inheritance, I have made provisions for a respectable endowment. However my own projections still show a need for contributions and grants to support on-going operations. This will require assistance from staff and directors.

In inviting like-minded individuals to work at and direct the BRP, I ask that you follow these wishes and intents, that you perpetuate yourselves with those of similar beliefs, and that you ask anyone to leave your ranks, no matter who they may be, nor how well they perform otherwise, should they not support the above written philosophy.

J. David and my dog, Cory. Photo by Chase Fountain.

Please help us preserve this large open space and to continue the programs for children and landowners that inspire and instill a respect for the natural world and all living things, like us, who need it. We are a 501c3 private operating foundation so contributions to Bamberger Ranch Preserve are tax deductible as permitted by law.