How we Accomplish our Mission: Private Land Restoration
The first Biophilia project, and one of our largest, is the Pritzlaff Ranch. This 3,300 acre ranch, located just north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, was purchased in 1934 by Richard Pritzlaff. After Mr. Pritzlaff passed away in 1997, his wish that the land and its natural resources would be restored and preserved was one of the reasons for the formation of the Biophilia Foundation. This ranch will soon become part of the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge through a bargain sale to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Foundation has also purchased large parcels of land in Maryland and Virginia, successfully restoring and preserving wildlife habitat, and then reselling the land with easements protecting the restored natural assets. These efforts have been successful due in large part to our collaboration with Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage (CWH). CWH is the only nonprofit conservation organization in the area working daily as a third party provider linking private landowners with under-utilized Farm Bill conservation programs.
We have recently partnered with Wildlife Corridors, LLC to purchase a 1200 acre platted subdivision in Patagonia, AZ. This subdivision was slated to add 197 homes in one of the most critical wildlife corridors in the Southwest. Instead, the Foundation is working with Wildlife Corridors to purchase and retire the development rights to preserve the corridor, only allowing for up to 25 homes sites, clustered well away from the preserved wildlife corridor.
Two Examples of Farm Restoration Projects
Two projects utilizing Farm Bill Conservation Programs, in particular the Conservation Reserve Enhanced Program (CREP), which have been particularly successful as a result of the Foundation’s partnership with CWH, are Riverbend Farm in Cambridge, Maryland, and Rash Farm in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. These projects demonstrate that landowners can manage their property for wildlife and water quality, maintain their farm income, and have a return on their investment. The CREP management plan at Riverbend Farm restored 80 acres of nontidal wetlands, established 40 acres of wooded buffers, and created 20 acres of warm season grasses, all at no cost to the landowner. Similarly, the CREP management plan at Rash Farm restored a significant area of wildlife habitat: 120 acres, which should not have been ditched and drained for production in the first place, were taken out of crop production and restored back to wetlands, warm season grass meadows and buffers. These include 15 acres of Delmarva Bays, a unique and declining habitat type especially important to rare plants and amphibians. The financial benefit to the Rash family by allowing CWH and Biophilia to install and protect these practices was an increase in farm income while maintaining their best soils in agriculture.
In addition to managing our own projects, The Biophilia Foundation supports the efforts of other organizations and individuals that conserve and restore biodiversity. The work we support varies given the opportunities that we discover or that are brought to our attention.
For example, after issuing a national RFP, the Foundation partnered with Defenders of Wildlife to create the Living Lands Project. This pilot project sought to improve the effectiveness of land trusts in restoring and protecting habitat on private agricultural and forest land nationwide, and to challenge land trusts to do more than simply protecting scenic and open space values.
In a completely different approach, we are currently working with a production company to finish the filming, post production, and distribution of a feature length documentary, American Dream, The Movie. This movie explores the origin of the myth of the American dream, and the social and ecological consequences of the materialism that has resulted from the successful marketing and messaging that created the myth. American Dream, The Movie
Likewise the Foundation has worked with other partners to retire several hundred thousand acres of grazing rights on public lands across the Southwest. Other projects have been funded which will protect and expand habitat corridors, as well as defend threatened and endangered species from encroachment by economic and political interests hostile to their recovery.
The worst thing that can happen…is not energy depletion, economic collapse, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in the 1980s that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly that our descendants are least likely to forgive us.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
The landscape of any farm is the owner’s portrait of himself.
I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run that outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Animals are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time.
For every walk in nature one takes away more than one seeks.
Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen.
There can be no purpose more inspiriting than to begin the age of restoration, reweaving the wondrous diversity of life that still surrounds us.
Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.
The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.
It is not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
The only progress that counts is on the actual landscape of the back forty.
Applied ecology is difficult, but not impossible. Action has to be taken… solutions will require intellectual and empirical depth well beyond what is now available, as well as commitment, money, organization, and work. Most significantly, applied ecology requires rethinking the basis of how ecological problems and their solutions are approached. It is almost too late to start, but tomorrow is even later.
Creative minds always have been known to survive any kind of bad training.
Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day.
So often doing good involves a kind of grimness. To assault evil, even small evil, with mischief, cleverness, merriment, and laughter – that takes genius few of us have but which, when it is found, graces the human scene and makes progress both possible and palatable.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone… and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.
Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.
We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.
Love the animals, love the plants, love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better everyday. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
The mirror of nature reflects my inner world, the essence of humanity, and the great, all-embracing expanse of life itself. Only when we connect to nature, engaged with nature, are we truly alive and vigorous. To really be alive, one must be under the sun, the moon, the shining stars and surrounded by the beautiful greenery and pure waters of the natural world.
And the King shall answer…inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music is its roar. I love not man the less, but nature more.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
So-called “global warming” is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable. Don’t let them get away with it!
The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wildness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.
I only went for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.
If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.
Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.