Bob SharpArizona’s borderlands south of I-10 stretch from the Baboquivari Mountains to New Mexico.  Seemingly limitless, largely absent of people, they seem “forever.”  But, they’re not.

They’re challenged by small communities spreading outward, ranchers converting their spreads to subdivisions, decreasing water along rivers and streams.  The future is anything but secure.

Bob Sharp – rancher, writer, photographer and environmental designer – knows it’s impossible to halt the influx of new people to the borderlands, but like so many of his neighbors, he’s determined not to let settlement simply spread where it may.

As the third and final speaker in this year’s annual Arizona Senior Academy Sustainability Seminars, Sharp will offer insights and solutions that provide for people but keep the sweep and scale and character of this natural landscape secure into the future.  He believes that left unchecked,  settlement will  diminish open space, crowd out the solitude, and change the grasslands environment that folks appreciate.  He believes a good way to the future is to sensibly cluster settlement into smaller spaces and leave the vast amount of the grasslands and sky islands whole, in extent and quality.

Bob Sharp – rancher, writer, photographer and environmental designer – presents the challenge of conservation and use of these borderlands, and he offers perspectives on what ranchers and residents can do to conserve, preserve, and use their lands into the future.

Sharp will give his seminar in the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room at Academy Village on Wednesday (Feb. 20) from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Academy Village is an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East.

Having grown up on the Sharp Ranch in the San Rafael Valley, Sharp knows the joy and work of ranching and its value for the land.  He also knows the challenges today: making a living in a tough environment; dealing with economic pressures to subdivide and sell; knowing that dividing the land means losing many of the central qualities for nature, heritage and people.

An environmental designer,  he also knows what has to be done to save the land for its people and future generations.  He believes environmental design principles can win the day.  The question, he says, is whether we have the will to act on them.

Sharp’s talk takes a fresh look at the borderlands, a region he calls “Eight Valleys – A Linked Landscape.”  He uses the design principles that shape his thinking to understand the trends that threaten the borderlands and find ways to protect the ranching heritage he loves. His observations will be flavored by his wide-format photos.

Submitted by Ted Hullar, Academy Village Volunteer

Rancher Works To Conserve Borderlands: Feb. 2013
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