Cache Valley • Entered by Hilary Shughart on March 11, 2021
Intro to WALTS Leader Call
March 12, 2021
Participants and Hours
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Key Issue: Multiple apply
Activity Type: Trainings (WALTS, CAREs/GLOWs, research, conferences, workshops, etc.)
Key Partners: Anne Dal Vera, South San Juan Broadband
Short Description of Activity
40 minute Broadband Leader Call
I had a delightful and informative conversation with Anne Dal Vera, retired Wilderness Ranger and experienced Broadband Leader with the South San Juan Broadband. Her impressive background includes some familiarity with my new hometown, as she attended Utah State University, graduating in 1974 with a degree in Recreation Education. Anne recalled her first impression of Cache Valley’s beauty, flanked by the Wasatch Mountains to the east and the Wellsville Mountains to the west. I was surprised to learn that Durango, Colorado has such an impressive member roster (300-400), given the relatively small population around 20,000, but even so the reality being that a good meeting has about 20 participants. We chatted for 40 minutes and the main takeaways include the value of COMMUNITY MAPPING to assess who is already doing what, and also acknowledging the value of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness reporting – she emphasized that it helps both the national organization and chapters to secure grant funding, and I shared that it helps me appreciate progress, as I tend to be forward-looking, and can forget all that has been accomplished.
I particularly appreciated Anne’s wisdom in suggesting to approach organizations asking “what do you need, how can we help you?”, which resonates with the HCN article relating to the complaint of TRANSACTIONAL relationships rather than collaborative ones “You guys are a transactional organization. …You come in, take what you want, leave, then come back when you need something else.”, High Country News article: “How conservation groups confront distrust from communities of color”, Eric Siegel, 10/29/2020.
Anne shared some wonderful ideas for Earth Day activities, including a Scavenger Hunt and Bingo Cards with entries such as “go to park and pick up all the trash”. In addition to providing guidelines for safe trash pick up, there were locally solicited prizes and a certificate of completion. They also invited people to submit short videos about the environment, and made a point to engage diverse speakers from the Hispanic and Indigenous communities. I suggested that even asking them to sketch two differently shaped leaves would help them become more observant.
I asked about book suggestions for a Broads Book Group and Anne suggested Eager, the surprising, secret life of Beavers and why they Matter, by Ben Goldfarb, which thrilled me as the Bridgerland Audubon Society had hosted him when the book came out in 2018. I wondered if she had read The Cougar Conundrum by Mark Elbroch, which she had not – I shared that Cougars feed more mammals and birds than any other predator because the large prey carcasses host carrion beetles.**
Ann shared the South San Juan Broadband Library List, and I love the way it is organized into categories: Durango Area, Desert, Mining, Bears Ears, Geology/Natural History, guide Books, Grazing, West West – Non-Fiction, The West – Fiction, Adventure/Exploration.
**The Cougar Conundrum: Sharing the World with a Successful Predator – Mark Elbroch 8/13/2020 ($30 paperback)
article:Mountain Lions as Ecosystem Engineers
[…]Mountain lions create more large carcasses than other predators (for example, wolves tend to dismantle prey into many small chunks), which recent research has shown is more important to ecosystem health. They feed more mammals and birds than any other predator, increasing the number of animal interactions (e.g. links in food webs) so essential to maintaining ecosystem resilience. And they are ecosystem engineers on top of this as well.” […]