Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 17 (Day 137) - Off the grid, info on The Conservation Fund

Hi all! It's Sonia again. Dorian asked that I post to his blog tonight since he is officially off the grid with zero internet access. My contact with him over the past several days has been extremely limited since he is located in some very remote areas with little phone connection, but he did manage to get a single bar on his phone earlier today to give me a quick call. Today he climbed some higher elevations which is how he was able to get a cell connection. I won't spoil all the news from the day since I'm sure he'll write about it tomorrow, but he did want me to let you all know that he is safe and well. I got him to snap a couple photos and send via email so you all can see where he was today.

Selfie from the top of the peak

The Mountain Bike he used for the day in order to make the climb 
(loaned by a couple friends who are with him at the moment)

Since I have your ears (or eyes, rather) I thought it might also be a good time to talk about the organizations that Dorian is raising money for this year. As you know, 100% of the proceeds raised are going to two outstanding organizations: The Conservation Fund and the American Birding Association (ABA). Since the readership of this blog is likely birder heavy, most of you are probably pretty familiar with the ABA. Therefore, I thought I might focus a little more on what The Conservation Fund is and what they do. I'm basically pulling some fun facts from their website, so if you are curious and want to learn more just click on the links I provide and/or browse through 

The Conservation Fund has been around since 1985 and they have protected 7 million acres of land in all 50 states (yes, ALL!). Since Dorian is currently in Arizona, I thought it might be fun to focus on some of the successes they've had in this state, where they have impressively helped preserve 974,993 acres of land! One of the more recent projects was with the Petrified Forest Naitonal Park. Between 2011 and 2013 The Conservation Fund worked together with the National Park Conservation Association to help expand the protected area by more than 30,000 acres. I've been fortunate enough to have visited this National Park when I was younger and to this day it has left such a huge impression on me. I remember hiking trails with my family through these painted areas where hundreds of stone-like petrified trees literally sat in front of my eyes. It is absolutely spectacular. In addition to the petrified wood, there have also been some pretty cool paleontological discoveries. In the area protected by The Conservation Fund in 2013, a 2 foot long phytosaur skull was discovered (an ancestor to the crocodile). If you want to read more just go here:

 A sample of the petrified wood you can 
see in this National Park

Other projects completed by The Conservation Fund in AZ include the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where they worked with the Grand Canyon Trust to help purchase The Kane Ranch and Two Mile Ranch. This was the largest conservation project, in terms of acres, in the Fund's history. These once privately owned ranches connected 3 national monuments, 2 national recreation areas and 8 wilderness areas. Perhaps more importantly, they controlled grazing permits for nearly 900,000 acres of adjacent federal lands. Through this purchase they have not only been able to protect the wildlife areas and national monuments, but they have also been able to maintain the ranching integrity in these lands. They are now being run and operated by a third-generation rancher and the livestock is being grazed in the most ecologically responsible manner possible. Again, you can read more about it here:

Kane and Two Mile Ranch

Hopefully this will help give a little more perspective on some of the other projects this organization has done. If you're hungry for more, check out the video below. It provides some other basic information about The Conservation Fund, what they do and why.

If you like what you see and believe in what Dorian is doing, please do consider donating to the cause. There's a big green box in the upper right hand corner of this screen that will direct you to the right place (please make sure to click there so the funds go to the specific projects for which Dorian is raising money). 

Alright, that's all for now. Your regular Biking For Birds broadcast will return tomorrow (hopefully) when Dorian is back in internet territory. Until then...

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