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Not all heroes wear capes, but they probably should. Both for fun and for the purpose of being more easily identifiable as awesome. Anyhow, I give you one of my favorite superheroes, Woods. He wears capes, and is awesome. And if the lessons being passed down from his parents and grandpa Duke are any indicator, Woods and Hayes are on track to become some of the most mightiest of our conservation super heroes in the decades to come.
Maybe this is what was meant, maybe not. The order of things. our grasp. the love affair that is letting go. Language never needed so many words
Duke and I bounce down the road, straddling the ruts, not talking now. Some words better seen than said. The prairie around us shifts, a pastel mirage through dirty glass. Faded yellows into rich golds. We scan the horizon for silhouettes. I still can’t time travel. sometimes when we see certain things though I think we can. maybe now we do. bison trailing a long dusty line across our view. The sun will be gone soon, the mountains all agree. I press the shutter button repeatedly, a metronome of seconds ticked away. Try to hold on to a few. Try to see see what is out there, not just in here. Try to listen, to remember, to speak without breaking silence. Put the camera down and watch now for a spell.
“As we slowly move this herd through the chutes, we make physical contact, touching them even. I looked into this cow’s eye less than a foot away wishing I could see what these eyes have seen through the ages: dinosaurs? Saber tooth tigers? Horsemen in pursuit with spears and arrows? Images I can barely even imagine, yet more vivid than looking into a fire. How they moved through the eons, helping create the great high plains of North America, endless herds that historical accounts document stopping trains for up to 9 days. Fertilizing, recycling organic matter into the soil, feeding the inhabitants of the prairie. I get lost trying to see all the things she has seen. The least we can do is attempt to live with them and learn.” - Ranchlands founder Duke Phillips III @dukephillipslll @ranchlands
Heading for the polls like 👾 •
Just kidding. A week ago I walked/ran to the polls to vote on a sleepy Tuesday afternoon in the rural NC. Dad and I looked over a sample ballot together and talked about different candidates and our hopes for our community and country. Among many issues that are important to us on both a local and national level, we both agreed we share a sense of responsibility to use our voting power to advocate for more elected officials who recognize the urgency of climate change and take action on behalf of what will hopefully be many generations to come. Walking into the polling station I was the youngest voter by thirty years - out of the dozen or so other early voters I saw. Now more than ever we need young folks engaging politically and advocating for the future we want to live in. Have fun voting today, or if you already did 🙌🙌🙌
Duke III and his grandson Hayes, Zapata Ranch, 2017. “Conservation isn’t about plants,” Duke explains in his quiet way, looking out across the valley towards a dark slow moving mass. Some thousand head of wild bison dwarfed by the sprawling high desert grassland of the San Luis valley and Sangre de Cristo mountains beyond. “It’s about people.” I nod. spend the next few days flipping those words around in my head. It’s not that he doesn’t care about plants. He does. And animals too. As a third generation rancher he understands the complexity of the interplay within the ecosystems he stewards. But the idea that conservation is something reserved for socially estranged nature lovers doesn’t hold up in these times. Conservation is for all of us, in every sense, and the choices we make to engage in evolving the conversation and practices around conserving wild spaces and species will shape not only the land that our children and grandchildren will inherit, but every aspect of their future existence on earth and that of all the generations to follow. // @ranchlands @dukephillipslll
Sangres at Ranchlands Zapata Ranch
sometimes I write things I feel need to be said, regardless of whether they ever get read. others I remember it’s better for me, to sit with the quiet. watch. listen. try and see. at Ranchlands Zapata Ranch
Looking forward to spending the next few days documenting and learning alongside the @ranchlands crew as they conduct the annual bison roundup here at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Southern CO • “The abundance of the Great Plains up until the nineteenth century was equaled only by the Serengeti, Masai Mara, or the veld of South Africa. Teeming with bison, wolves, pronghorn, elk, and coyotes, North American grasslands hosted one of the planet’s greatest wildlife spectacles at a scale that is today almost beyond comprehension. This ancient ecology that evolved over thousands of years had reached some sort of equilibrium that balanced vegetative production, grazer populations, and predation, including by native peoples •
That long-refined system was thrown into disarray with the arrival of white settlers, whose hunting and land use practices radically reduced the range of native wildlife. Bison in particular, confronted with a lethal combination of drought, massive demand for their furs, competition for food and water from new herds of wild horses, and likely foreign diseases introduced by Old World livestock, were nearly wiped from the landscape entirely •
Today we’re at a point of recalibration. While bison as a species have rebounded to safe levels, only a small fraction of the animals alive today are wild. The herd we manage in conjunction with @nature_org is considered a conservation herd, meaning we manage the herd to be as wild as possible. This week is the only time all year these animals will be handled, being otherwise left alone to roam and live their natural bison lives.”
- @ranchlands at Ranchlands Zapata Ranch
This is my little brother Canyon and our friend Chloe Maxmin. They are 25 and 26 years old and together they are changing the face of politics in Maine’s district 88 - the most rural district in the most rural state in the country. It is neat, they are neat, the word neat is neat, and relatively speaking, politics are neat. If you are still reading this, I think you are neat too, cause you care at least a little bit. Here’s something else that’s neat: their youthful, empathic and engaged style of organizing -coupled with a rooted appreciation of rural America and the issues at stake - is serving to bridge long standing partisan gaps and create common ground in communities that have been left behind across America (and around the world). Chloe and Canyon’s model of campaigning and reaching people has been remarkably successful on a local level (they won the primary with record smashing %80) and has also been gaining national media attention + an endorsement from famous kite boarder and former prez @barackobama. young folks are needed more than ever in politics. If you are an older(ish) person (like me) you probably would agree, and if you are a young person like Chloe and Canyon, I just wanted to share this with you to show you that there are other people like you who care and are making a difference and your voices DO matter. . "Our campaign in District 88 is more than just a small House race. It is an opportunity to pioneer new ways of restoring faith in politics, fighting for our overlooked communities, and listening to all perspectives. Our political system may fail us. We may be disillusioned. But everything that we care about circles back to politics. Our individual well-being revolves around our collective responsibility to hold our politicians accountable. We simply cannot afford to give up on politics." - Chloe Maxmin + Canyon Woodward .
link in bio + story to full article, interested to hear what you guys think about their story + rural and/or local politics in your communities
Wherein one is presented a fair dinkum story about a kangaroo who knew too much, a treasure that is not made out of money, and a promise to fear less and live more @wereallgoingto @stefan_hunt @doss_y’s #thighs @monsterchildren #fearlesslivemore
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