Sunday, April 11, 2010

“No One Does it Alone” – Part III

What human characteristic is it that drives one to hold on to power? We witness this so frequently in third world countries when leaders and dictators refuse to step down when someone is duly elected to replace them. We see it frequently in our corporations when CEO’s outlive their usefulness and many times this is detrimental to the stockholders. I can attest that it is detrimental to many in an organization when opportunity to move up is blocked. All organizations whether a civic club, church or business need new blood to stay healthy. Without manpower movement there isn’t room for new blood. There are restraints to manpower movement in a small entity such as Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve. Some, of course, are financial, but the bigger is the protection of this land, the habitat for Mother Nature. This is foremost as to why I have given this 5,500 acres away. So, how do you reconcile the two – opportunity for others and preservation?

My personal philosophy is that it is my obligation to mentor, nurture and develop every employee to such knowledge and skills level that they are worth more to some other organization, than I am able to pay them. Thus, they move on and up leaving an opportunity for new blood to move in! Makes sense, doesn’t it? . . There is one problem however, that is the quality of life that comes with living on 5,500 acres of a natural area. A place to raise your kids unlike any in Texas. A place respected for its clean, clear message that it brings to thousands each year. A place that is recognized as a model of land stewardship. . . . So one becomes passionately connected, weighs the values and sticks around. . . . It’s not all about money!

No, I haven’t done it alone – It’s because of the skills, knowledge and above all, the passion for Selah that all these other people have that makes it all possible.

Colleen Gardner, our Executive Director, does not sit in an office. She walks the talk by participating in all education programs. Here she shows and tells the kids about life in the water. Photograph taken by Kathy Wilson.

Scott Grote is Ranch Operations Manager, but here he is with the kids talking about goats and the role they play on the ranch. Photograph taken by Colleen Gardner.

Steven Fulton, Ranch Biologist, is holding a small rough green tree snake which he has captured so that the kids can learn more about snakes. Photograph taken by Colleen Gardner.

Lois Sturm, pictured here in the “Work Room”- (I refuse to call it an office, as I gave that life up long ago). Lois not only handles my personal business affairs, but is a back-up for Colleen with the education programs and communications. Sometimes I think we would fold up without her to find things. Photograph taken by J. David.

“Poncho” Coronado, on the left, has been working here for 28 years. He helps Scott Grote work the cattle and goats. “Poncho” has mended more fence, lifted more hay bales and cut more firewood than the rest of us put together. Photograph taken by Colleen Gardner.

Ann Cook, Anne Donovan, Colleen Gardner and Susan Evans at our Family Picnic, our only fundraiser. Photograph taken by Kathy Wilson.

Susan Sander is an Education Advisor to the BRP. She is, however, more than that as she has volunteered here for years. She is also a most passionate environmentalist. Photograph taken by J. David.

Deborah Mann, one of our Education Advisors, is a Science teacher at Waldorf, a private school in Austin. Every year Deborah takes the entire twelfth grade for a week of living at Selah as part of her Ecology class where the students perform research projects, learn the practices of land restoration, and also do nature writing in conjunction with Waldorf’s Humanities Department. Photograph taken by Colleen Gardner.

Gary McCracken, center, is Science Department Head at the University of Tennessee. He is an Advisory Director of our Preserve and is known nationally for his research on bats. He was very helpful in the design and construction of our chiroptorium. Gary is pictured here with the students from Boston University who spend the summer here doing a census of our bat population. Photograph taken J. David.

Fred Smeins, far right, serves us as a Scientific Advisor. Fred, a professor of Ecology at Texas A&M University is pictured here at the ranch with a small group of graduate students. Photograph taken by J. David.

Nobody Does It Alone – and while these and many other volunteers, donors and foundations are helping to support our Preserve we can’t raise the needed money alone. We need your help. . . . If, before my death, we can build an endowment, those who carry on here will be free to continue the education programs and preserve the habitat for the benefit of all living things.

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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