Ron Pulliam
Ron Pulliam

Must citizens wait for government aid if they wish to preserve the historic and environmental richness of their surroundings?

Ron Pulliam, one of America’s finest ecosystem scientists, doesn’t think so. Instead of counting on government aid, he established Borderlands Restoration, L3C, which uses private sector funding for habitat restoration while providing a small return to investors. It works through  the Borderland Habitat Restoration Initiative, a nonprofit citizen participation partnership that he also created.  His innovative approach offers new ways for ranchers to keep ranching and avoid subdivision of large tracts and for habitats and streams to be simultaneously restored.

Pulliam will be the keynote speaker Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 13) at the second session of this year’s annual Sustainability Seminars at Academy Village, an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East.

A Patagonia resident and former Science Advisor to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Pulliam’s talk is entitled “Restoration Ecology: Sparrow, Jaguar, Chinese Grain Speculation.” He will join  these disparate elements together into an “ecosystem whole,” showing how each affects the others. He will describe restoration success stories (and challenges) secured so far and others in process, working with ranchers, conservation organizations, and Borderlands Restoration L3C and the Habitat Restoration Initiative.

Pulliam returned to Arizona after his distinguished research work at the University of Georgia and his government service in the Department of the Interior.  But he didn’t stop “working.”  He turned his insights and experience to the borderland habitats between Interstate-10 and the Mexican border in southeastern Arizona, realized they were in tough shape, and determined to make a difference.

His first task was to establish the Borderland Habitat Restoration Initiative to restore habitats and riparian areas and to work out new ways of rapidly propagating native plant materials, all through working with ranchers, scientists, and The Nature Conservancy.  Borderlands Restoration, L3C came next.

He’ll describe how it all came together in a 90-minute talk set to begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Room of the Arizona Senior Academy, on the campus of the Academy Village.

The 2013 Sustainability Seminars will conclude on Feb. 20 when Bob Sharp will discuss “Humans in the Borderlands: How Light is Our Footprint?” Sharp is a photographer, author of “Eight Valleys: A Linked Landscape” and a native of the Sharp Ranch (now a state park) in the San Rafael Valley.

Submitted by Ted Hullar, Academy Village Volunteer

Ranchers Restore Ripraians: Feb. 2013