Monday, June 21, 2010

Building an Institution

Institution as defined in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary – “an organization having a social, educational or religious purpose, as a school, church, hospital, etc.”

In modern day practice we think of an institution as some thing that’s been around a long time, such as a university, a museum, or perhaps even a restaurant. An institution also has to be recognized as delivering a dependable product or service and as a respected source of information.

We’re building an institution here at Selah. Although 41 years is not a long time, the ranch has been legally set aside in perpetuity for the natural world, education and research. Photograph taken by J. David.

Photograph taken by Margaret Bamberger.

Our Institution’s Goals

To maintain Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve in a natural state of grasslands and wooded canyons, which provide healthy habitat for native and endangered species as well as domestic plants and animals, and to protect it from development.

To demonstrate through a working example of grass-based agriculture the practices of good conservation and their value to the entire ecosystem.

To educate visitors by providing facilities and programs which enhance the visitor’s experience and encourage appreciation and awareness of Selah’s and their own natural and cultural heritages.

To provide a place where visitors of all ages can experience the beauty of nature, learn the importance of good conservation and land stewardship, and leave with a sense of power that the individual can positively impact his or her environment.

To manage the resources and facilities of Selah in such a way that agriculture, education, recreation, and “People ranching” will come as close as possible to meeting its costs of operation while preserving it for future generations of people, plants and animals.

Statement of Philosophy

We honor and respect the natural world and its biological heritage.

We recognize that good stewardship maintains a diversity of healthy habitats, and therefore the diversity of plants and animals that are able to exist in them.

Good land management provides clean water in greater amounts than in poorly managed land. In the Hill Country’s climate and type of land it is extremely important to maximize water conservation (both surface and underground), because with population growth we experience increasing demand on limited resources.

Integrating human needs into the natural world involves:

  • teaching the public about the importance of good stewardship,

  • providing a place to experience the importance of good stewardship,

  • teaching conservation of resources,

  • and instilling a love and appreciation of the natural world in children and adults so that the desire abundant healthy water, land and habitats around them.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Bamberger Ranch Preserve is to protect the 5,500 acres of land, keep it in good health and balance, and educate the public about stewardship of the land, as well as awakening and nourishing a passion for learning about nature in both children and adults.

Here at Selah we spend so much time “people ranching” - (that’s the education part of our mission) – that the true ranching activities of Selah are overlooked. . . . We believe that a well-managed ranch can have cattle, horses, sheep and or goats and still be a protector of all species, large and small, flora or fauna.

Photograph by J. David.

Photograph by J. David.

Photograph by J. David.

Because of a nice cold winter with good rains we were able to harvest surplus grass . . . hay . . . It’s been a few years since this was possible. This harvest has always been among my favorite times. To walk the field behind the hay baler as the evening sun goes down, picking up the bales and taking them to the barn. There’s a nostalgia to this. I’m too old now to do the lifting, but I can walk, see and smell and enjoy this harvest that some call work!

If you believe as I do that all of the things I’ve talked about on this and past blogs are important for the future health of our nation won’t you please help us build this institution?

There are so many, many good causes that need financial help. Preserving the earth itself is important. So, if you would like to help us with a donation, we are a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation and gifts are deductible to the extent of the law. You can send your contributions to: Bamberger Ranch Preserve, 2341 Blue Ridge Drive, Johnson City, TX 78636.

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