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FE3.9 - Goatwalker: Saguaro Juniper (Part 3)
Episode 97th July 2021 • Future Ecologies • Future Ecologies
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Having finished his work in the Sanctuary Movement, Jim Corbett allowed his focus to broaden, bringing his system of ethics to the land itself. Jim had gathered many people around him throughout the Sanctuary days: a group that shared a deep, abiding love for the more-than-human world. Together they would establish a herding community – a herd in which they would all be members – grounded in a practice of ‘pastoral symbiotics’, and guided by a prescient ecological covenant: a bill of rights for the land.

From Future Ecologies, this is Goatwalker, Part Three: Saguaro Juniper

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Before this episode, we suggest you start with Part One of this series 

And then listen to Part Two

---

Get in touch with the community at Saguaro Juniper

As of August 2021, Jim Corbett’s "Goatwalking" has been re-issued in a new 2nd edition. You can purchase a hard copy or an e-book here

A 2nd edition of "Sanctuary for All Life" is also now available from Cascabel Books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

– – –

For musical credits, citations, and more, click here.

Support the show and join our Patreon community

Transcripts

Introduction Voiceover:

You're listening to season three of

Introduction Voiceover:

Future Ecologies.

Mendel Skulski:

Hi folks, if you're joining us for the first

Mendel Skulski:

time, you've found yourself three episodes deep into a four

Mendel Skulski:

part series. If before we get started, you'd prefer a bit more

Mendel Skulski:

background, I recommend you scroll back in the Future

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

On Errantry" and part two,

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

"Sanctuary". We've got links to both in the show notes. Over

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

those two episodes, we met Jim Corbett, a goat erd, philosopher

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

and catalyst of the Sanctuary Movement, a modern day

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

Underground Railroad, transporting Central American

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

refugees into the United States during the 1980s. Throughout his

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

years milking goats and smuggling refugees, Corbett had

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

drawn together a remarkable community who shared a deep,

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

abiding love for the more than human world. This episode begins

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

with two of those individuals. My co-host, Adam will take it

Ecologies feed to "Goatwalker:

:

from here.

Adam Huggins:

Up until this point, in this series, we've

Adam Huggins:

discussed the life of Jim Corbett, his philosophy of

Adam Huggins:

errantry, and the start of the Sanctuary Movement. Now though,

Adam Huggins:

I'd like to talk for a few minutes about cacti. Every year,

Adam Huggins:

Nancy Ferguson and Tom Orum trek out to Saguaro National Park to

Adam Huggins:

administer a census for cacti. If you were to ask them why,

Adam Huggins:

this is what they'd say:

Nancy Ferguson:

We inherited the study –

Tom Orum:

It was an accident.

Adam Huggins:

The story behind this annual ritual is a study

Adam Huggins:

that dates back to before the Second World War.

Tom Orum:

In 1939, the Saguaros out at Saguaro National Park

Tom Orum:

were tall and huge and beautiful. And they had started

Tom Orum:

to die. And the initial conclusion was it was bacterial

Tom Orum:

necrosis or bacterial rot.

Adam Huggins:

At the time, the University of Arizona had some

Adam Huggins:

land directly adjacent to the park, which was still a national

Adam Huggins:

monument.

Tom Orum:

And so they devoted an entire square mile of that area

Tom Orum:

for Saguaro research. In the fall of '41, they actually

Tom Orum:

surveyed the area, and they put a wooden stake by every single

Tom Orum:

Saguaro in the square mile, and there were 15,000 of them. So it

Tom Orum:

was a huge area, and they divided it into half, and the

Tom Orum:

northern half was their control, and the southern half every

Tom Orum:

Saguaro that was showing the black ooze of rot – of bacterial

Tom Orum:

necrosis – they cut down, chopped into pieces, and buried

Tom Orum:

in big pits.

Adam Huggins:

After all of this effort, it turned out there

Adam Huggins:

actually wasn't much difference in response between the treated

Adam Huggins:

area in the south and the control area in the north.

Tom Orum:

So then they said, "Well, we can't keep up

Tom Orum:

monitoring all 15,000 plants. But what we'll do is we'll pick

Tom Orum:

six 10 acre plots, and we'll keep following those three in

Tom Orum:

the north half and three in the south half". And those then were

Tom Orum:

followed every year.

Adam Huggins:

Tom and Nancy first started helping out with

Adam Huggins:

the study in 1979, under a plant pathologist named Stan Alcorn.

Adam Huggins:

When Alcorn passed away in 1999, they had inherited one of the

Adam Huggins:

longest running Natural History studies in North America. For

Adam Huggins:

the uninitiated, saguaros, species epithet Carnegiea

Adam Huggins:

gigantea, are the iconic columnar cactus of the US

Adam Huggins:

Southwest.

Nancy Ferguson:

So rather than short and fat, they're a column

Nancy Ferguson:

that gets taller and taller – 30 feet high eventually. And as

Nancy Ferguson:

they age, they put out arms, and at the very top of the column

Nancy Ferguson:

and at the tip of the arms is where they produce the flowers

Nancy Ferguson:

and the seeds.

Tom Orum:

So the way they look they look like a person with

Tom Orum:

their hands up signaling like a –

Nancy Ferguson:

It's just a feeling

Tom Orum:

– field goal in football or something like that.

Tom Orum:

So all of the vocabulary ends up being like anthropomorphized. So

Tom Orum:

you're talking about the arms rather than the branches, and

Tom Orum:

you're talking about the ribs.

Nancy Ferguson:

And it's corrugated so that when it's a

Nancy Ferguson:

drought, they sort of shrivel in and lose diameter, and those

Nancy Ferguson:

sections sort of compress a little. And then a good rain

Nancy Ferguson:

comes and they get rehydrated and it can swell up and become

Nancy Ferguson:

rather smooth around the outside.

Adam Huggins:

Saguaros are the giant green churros of the

Adam Huggins:

desert. You've almost certainly seen them depicted somewhere in

Adam Huggins:

popular culture, perhaps as the backdrop for Wile E. Coyote's

Adam Huggins:

fruitless pursuit of the Roadrunner in Looney Tunes.

Adam Huggins:

Capable of living over 150 years, they are the

Adam Huggins:

characteristic species of the Sonoran Desert, which spans

Adam Huggins:

southeastern California through much of southern Arizona.

Tom Orum:

What's special about the Sonoran Desert is we have

Tom Orum:

two rainy seasons. It's not like the Mojave – winter rain. Not

Tom Orum:

like the Chihuahua – summer rains. But it's in between and

Tom Orum:

getting both. And that's rather crucial to Saguaro germination

Tom Orum:

and establishment and making through the first two or three

Tom Orum:

years. The first couple of years are really tough because they

Tom Orum:

don't have that water storage tissue developed.

Adam Huggins:

Over the years, scientists studying saguaros

Adam Huggins:

have learned a lot about their role in ecosystems. They're

Adam Huggins:

considered to be a keystone species. For example, much like

Adam Huggins:

trees in a forest, the Saguaro is a magnet for woodpeckers and

Adam Huggins:

flickers. These industrious birds excavate holes in the

Adam Huggins:

cactus

Tom Orum:

Then the Saguaro reacts by forming callus

Tom Orum:

tissues, so that it forms what we call a boot. And all sorts of

Tom Orum:

birds use those holes for nesting and habitat, and so

Tom Orum:

forth.

Adam Huggins:

Many desert species pollinate so wild

Adam Huggins:

flowers and eat sawara fruit. But the white winged dove is

Adam Huggins:

among the most important the doves will make their nests in

Adam Huggins:

Palo Verde trees, near Saguaros.

Tom Orum:

And then when they lay their eggs and the chicks come

Tom Orum:

out, just about the time the Saguaro fruit is ripe. And so

Tom Orum:

the white winged does eat this Saguaro fruit with the seeds,

Tom Orum:

and then they regurgitate and feed their squabs the seed, but

Tom Orum:

they're sloppy feeders.

Adam Huggins:

Those regurgitated seeds of the Saguaro fruit, land

Adam Huggins:

in the soil around the Palo Verde, and find an ideal habitat

Adam Huggins:

for germination. In fact, Palo Verdes and other leguminous

Adam Huggins:

trees, like mesquite, are considered to be nurse plants

Adam Huggins:

for the Saguaro. Meaning that a Saguaro growing up under one of

Adam Huggins:

these trees has a much better chance of surviving its first

Adam Huggins:

few years than one growing out in the open. Even after they're

Adam Huggins:

dead, Saguaros continue to support the ecosystem, much like

Adam Huggins:

fallen logs in a forest.

Nancy Ferguson:

When you walk up to it, you're just enveloped

Nancy Ferguson:

with the smell of the decomposition. And it's unlike

Nancy Ferguson:

anything that I've ever smelled before. And the whole thing is

Nancy Ferguson:

humming. But it doesn't actually move. I didn't see that. But you

Nancy Ferguson:

know, there's such a hum of the, all the insect activity inside

Nancy Ferguson:

that it's, it's alive in a very different way.

Adam Huggins:

The annual Saguaro census has had a number of

Adam Huggins:

focuses over the years. But the questions Tom and Nancy are

Adam Huggins:

trying to answer have a lot to do with something botanists call

Adam Huggins:

recruitment.

Adam Huggins:

Which is a fancy way of talking about the next generation of

Adam Huggins:

cacti. New recruits are plants that have germinated and

Adam Huggins:

survived those tough first years to become part of the Saguaro

Adam Huggins:

population. The reason Tom and Nancy are so focused on this

Adam Huggins:

issue is that since 1993, only five new Saguaro plants have

Adam Huggins:

become established in the entire study area.

Tom Orum:

We found one last spring, the one before that was

Tom Orum:

in 2015. And then there were just one or two in the last

Tom Orum:

decade. We're not seeing them, we're not seeing the little

Tom Orum:

ones.

Adam Huggins:

This might sound alarming, and it might be

Adam Huggins:

alarming. But the great thing about long term studies is that

Adam Huggins:

they give us perspective. In the first decades of the study, the

Adam Huggins:

1940s and 1950s, there was similarly very low recruitment,

Adam Huggins:

just like after 1993. But between the 1960s and the 1990s,

Adam Huggins:

there was a huge population boom, possibly because those

Adam Huggins:

years tended to be wetter than average. And because Saguaros

Adam Huggins:

are so long lived, they can weather long droughts, both in

Adam Huggins:

terms of water and recruitment.

Tom Orum:

I think they're gonna be all right. What they have

Tom Orum:

going for them is their long age, so they can span long

Tom Orum:

periods of drought, and then expand that. Who knows, you

Tom Orum:

know, one doesn't know what climate change is gonna mean.

Tom Orum:

That's, that's the big thing.

Adam Huggins:

And so, Tom and Nancy continue to volunteer

Adam Huggins:

their time to check in on the Saguaros every year, and to

Adam Huggins:

document them as they live and die and are hopefully, born

Adam Huggins:

again

Adam Huggins:

For a podcast called Future Ecologies. We haven't really

Adam Huggins:

spoken very much about ecology in this series up until now. Tom

Adam Huggins:

and Nancy's work with Saguaros might feel far removed from Jim

Adam Huggins:

Corbett and goatwalking and Sanctuary. But as I've said, I

Adam Huggins:

don't think it's a coincidence that so many of the people

Adam Huggins:

involved in Sanctuary also maintain deep relationships with

Adam Huggins:

the more-than-human world. Tom and Nancy devoted their careers

Adam Huggins:

and now their retirement to working with plants. John Fife

Adam Huggins:

is a consummate hunter and outdoorsman. Ann Russell became

Adam Huggins:

a marine biologist, and Gary Paul Nabhan, would become the

Adam Huggins:

preeminent ethnobotanist for the Southwest, as well as a

Adam Huggins:

celebrated author and activist. And these are just some of the

Adam Huggins:

people I spoke to.

Adam Huggins:

In the years after Sanctuary wound down, Jim and Los Cabreros

Adam Huggins:

Andantes would pivot from refugee smuggling, to applying

Adam Huggins:

the principles of sanctuary and Jim's developing philosophy of

Adam Huggins:

pastoral synbiotics to the land itself. They would create their

Adam Huggins:

own sanctuary in the land where Saguaros grew up under the shade

Adam Huggins:

of Juniper trees. What they created there persists to this

Adam Huggins:

day, and provides a refuge for those who seek the enduring

Adam Huggins:

stillness of the desert.

Adam Huggins:

But can this community survived the challenges ahead and keep

Adam Huggins:

the promises that they've made to one another and to the land.

Adam Huggins:

In other words, will they be able to support the next

Adam Huggins:

generation of herders, the new recruits for Jim's vision of a

Adam Huggins:

sanctuary for all life.

Adam Huggins:

From Future Ecologies This is Goatwalker, Part Three: Saguaro

Adam Huggins:

Juniper.

Adam Huggins:

On our second day in Arizona, our friend Teresa dropped

Adam Huggins:

associate producer Ilana Fonariov and I off at the start

Adam Huggins:

of a rough dirt road in the small town of Cascabel Arizona.

Adam Huggins:

Susan Tollefson and her pickup truck where they're waiting for

Adam Huggins:

us. Susan has been the keeper of the Hermitage at the Cascabel

Adam Huggins:

Conservation Association for a number of years now, although

Adam Huggins:

Jim passed away long before she arrived. We packed into her

Adam Huggins:

truck and she started slowly down the dirt road leading to

Adam Huggins:

the Hermitage. The land was stunning, rolling hills dotted

Adam Huggins:

with Saguaros and ocotillos, interrupted by dry washes. We

Adam Huggins:

entered through a cattle gate next to a grove of contorted

Adam Huggins:

mesquite trees and an old windmill. Unloading our gear, we

Adam Huggins:

were welcomed into a small handsome shelter with a bed and

Adam Huggins:

a desk inside. On the desk was Pat Corbett's personal copy of a

Adam Huggins:

book I've been desperately trying to get my hands on for a

Adam Huggins:

couple of years. Jim's swan song entitled: 'Sanctuary for All

Adam Huggins:

Life'. With the book in hand, we settled in for a few days of

Adam Huggins:

reading and sojourning in the desert stillness, trying to get

Adam Huggins:

to know the place – and Jim's ghost – a little better.

Adam Huggins:

As journalist Miriam Davidson was wrapping up interviews with

Adam Huggins:

Jim for her own book, 'Convictions of the Heart'. She

Adam Huggins:

asked him what he thought he would do after Sanctuary.

Jim Corbett:

I think that some of the things we're doing with

Jim Corbett:

regard to land redemption. Well, the current work we're doing in

Jim Corbett:

that direction may or may not come to fruition are pretty

Jim Corbett:

important. And so I probably will continue to pursue that.

Adam Huggins:

This cryptic response prompted a follow up

Adam Huggins:

question. What did he mean by "land redemption"?

Ann Russell:

Well, this, this has to do with efforts to get a

Ann Russell:

group together to buy a ranch, which would permit individual

Ann Russell:

participants to have their own acreage within this system, that

Ann Russell:

would be their private property. At the same time, having

Ann Russell:

considerable common management of other aspects of land use,

Ann Russell:

develop a bill of rights for the land, that would protect the

Ann Russell:

community of plants and animals already there as this other

Ann Russell:

community settles in and would work out particularly ways for

Ann Russell:

human beings to be part of a wildland community without

Ann Russell:

destroying or or seriously altering it – where their

Ann Russell:

livelihood could be integrated in a harmonious way, rather than

Ann Russell:

being an intervention, and a destructive force

Adam Huggins:

With the conclusion of the Sanctuary

Adam Huggins:

trial, Jim would finally get the opportunity to try and put these

Adam Huggins:

ideas into practice. Pat and Jim relocated from Tucson, to this

Adam Huggins:

small town of Cascabel to the east, in the San Pedro River

Adam Huggins:

Valley. They bought a piece of fertile Riverside land, where

Adam Huggins:

Pat could keep horses and Jim could keep his goats. They

Adam Huggins:

immediately recognized that the desert wild lands in and around

Adam Huggins:

Cascabel were special.

Pat Corbett:

We saw the land out there. And then Jim started to

Pat Corbett:

think about how can he manage to get this land preserved. And

Pat Corbett:

then he started talking to Tom and Nancy, because Tom has kind

Pat Corbett:

of the brilliant, how-to-make-it-happen-financially

Pat Corbett:

man, alongst with Nancy.

Adam Huggins:

Tom and Nancy had kept a low profile during the

Adam Huggins:

Sanctuary years, with Tom acting as the debt coordinator for Pat

Adam Huggins:

and Jim's refugee smuggling efforts.

Pat Corbett:

They're just incredible people who do an

Pat Corbett:

incredible job of quietly making things happen. So he told them

Pat Corbett:

about taking a hike up one of the ridges here, where you can

Pat Corbett:

see a Saguar was growing under a Juniper tree, with the Juniper

Pat Corbett:

being the nurse tree for the Saguaro. And Nancy was just

Pat Corbett:

enthralled with this, and she said later that was all it took

Pat Corbett:

to get her involved.

Nancy Ferguson:

And one of the things I had said to him early

Nancy Ferguson:

on was that, you know, if we get some land, I'm really interested

Nancy Ferguson:

in having it be a place that has Saguaros. And so sure enough,

Nancy Ferguson:

some time later, he came in and said, I found a place that not

Nancy Ferguson:

only has Saguaros, but they're growing under Juniper trees. And

Nancy Ferguson:

those are usually very separate ecosystems. It was like, whoa,

Nancy Ferguson:

that's really different. And within a month's time, we were

Nancy Ferguson:

out in Cascabel of looking at this place where sure enough,

Nancy Ferguson:

there were Saguaros and Juniper trees acting as the nurse trees

Nancy Ferguson:

for Saguaros. Then we went and put together Saguaro Juniper as

Nancy Ferguson:

a way to start buying land in Cascabel.

Adam Huggins:

This was the birth of the Saguaro Juniper

Adam Huggins:

Corporation.

Pat Corbett:

And Jim and Tom and Nancy were able to get a pretty

Pat Corbett:

good sized group of people together to come up with the

Pat Corbett:

money to purchase a parcel of deeded land, and that became

Pat Corbett:

Saguaro Juniper.

Tom Orum:

The first purchase was in '88. And that was just 135

Tom Orum:

acres with 16 people.

Adam Huggins:

Those 135 acres included the beautiful

Adam Huggins:

Hotsprings Canyon, a tributary of the San Pedro River. And this

Adam Huggins:

small acreage was only the beginning. From Jim's years of

Adam Huggins:

goatwalking, he'd become convinced that the best way to

Adam Huggins:

live in a symbiotic, non-violent partnership with the

Adam Huggins:

more-than-human world was as a herder: as an integral part of a

Adam Huggins:

herd. And to his mind, the only way to recreate a nomadic

Adam Huggins:

herding community in modern day North America was to secure

Adam Huggins:

enough land to support the herd and the herders without causing

Adam Huggins:

ecological damage. In the arid West, this meant somehow

Adam Huggins:

acquiring a lot of land, because it takes a huge area to support

Adam Huggins:

even a small herd sustainably. 135 acres simply wasn't enough.

Adam Huggins:

It was around this time that Jim would leave goats behind,

Adam Huggins:

transitioning instead to cow herding.

Pat Corbett:

Well, we came down here with goats. And, well,

Pat Corbett:

let's see... the lions ate some of them. And then both of us

Pat Corbett:

were getting to the point where we felt like we needed to skim

Pat Corbett:

the cream off the milk. Well, it's a lot easier to skim the

Pat Corbett:

cream off cow's milk, because it rises much more quickly, and

Pat Corbett:

it's more visible, and so it's easier to skim. And so we

Pat Corbett:

decided we'd start drinking cow's milk, we kind of retired

Pat Corbett:

the goats. And we - finally we got down to a man goat and the

Pat Corbett:

poor thing was so lonesome, so we decided to turn her up with

Pat Corbett:

the horses so that she'd have some companionship, and we did.

Pat Corbett:

But unfortunately, eventually after we'd done that for a while

Pat Corbett:

a lion got her, but at least she had company in her last years.

Adam Huggins:

There were other reasons for this transition as

Adam Huggins:

well. For one, as Jim would write in Sanctuary for All Life:

Sanctuary for All Life:

Personally, I'm also more inclined to favor

Sanctuary for All Life:

cows now, since the cow has become the West's most commonly

Sanctuary for All Life:

denounced animal pariah.

Adam Huggins:

In addition to the sense of kinship that Jim felt

Adam Huggins:

with the maligned animals, this transition from goat to cow

Adam Huggins:

reflected Jim's shift in focus from personal to collective

Adam Huggins:

errantry. In fact, due to its Judeo-Christian mysticism, and

Adam Huggins:

preoccupation with cows, Sanctuary for All Life is

Adam Huggins:

affectionately subtitled "The Cowbalah of Jim Corbett".

Sanctuary for All Life:

Sanctuary for All Life continues the

Sanctuary for All Life:

exploration of pastoral symbiotics that Goatwalking

Sanctuary for All Life:

initiated. Where goatwalking is primarily a form of personal

Sanctuary for All Life:

errantry, the focus of Sanctuary for All Life is wildland

Sanctuary for All Life:

stewardship, by a covenant formed community, specifically,

Sanctuary for All Life:

stewardship on Saguaro Juniper range land by Saguaro Juniper

Sanctuary for All Life:

herders.

Adam Huggins:

And those herders were herding cows, because of

Adam Huggins:

all of the advantages cows had over goats, the greatest of all

Adam Huggins:

was their unique ability – socio-politically – to unlock

Adam Huggins:

enough public land for a small herding community to support

Adam Huggins:

itself.

Tom Orum:

When they switched from goats, the cows that – it

Tom Orum:

was both good and bad. I mean, he could just get out with his

Tom Orum:

goats and, and go, but you can't quite do that with cows. But on

Tom Orum:

the other hand, you have to have cows in order to have the lease.

Adam Huggins:

Let me explain that last part. The vast

Adam Huggins:

majority of the land in the arid west of the United States is

Adam Huggins:

public land, administered by the US Bureau of Land Management,

Adam Huggins:

the Forest Service, or another governmental entity. But that

Adam Huggins:

doesn't mean that this land is protected. Far from it. Across

Adam Huggins:

much of this area, extending from the Borderlands of the

Adam Huggins:

Sonoran Desert, North throughout the Great Basin to the border

Adam Huggins:

with Canada, livestock grazing isn't just allowed, it's

Adam Huggins:

mandated.

Tom Orum:

In order to hold a lease, you have to have a brand

Tom Orum:

and you have to have cattle, and you're supposed to graze it.

Adam Huggins:

According to the Center for Biological Diversity,

Adam Huggins:

livestock grazing is promoted, protected and supported by

Adam Huggins:

federal agencies on approximately 270 million acres

Adam Huggins:

of public land in the 11 Western states. Ranchers lease huge

Adam Huggins:

amounts of land by paying modest fees at below market rates. In

Adam Huggins:

other words, ranching on public lands in the arid West is highly

Adam Huggins:

subsidized. And while many ranchers have adopted practices

Adam Huggins:

to mitigate the harm that cattle can cause to wild lands, they

Adam Huggins:

represent the minority. Throughout the history of the

Adam Huggins:

United States, poor grazing practices have predominated,

Adam Huggins:

resulting in ecological damage and degradation at a massive

Adam Huggins:

scale. Despite this damage, the heavy subsidization, the

Adam Huggins:

marginal amount of actual production involved, and the

Adam Huggins:

fact that most ranchers can barely make enough money to keep

Adam Huggins:

ahead of their debts, this system remains largely in place

Adam Huggins:

to this day. But Jim and the Saguaro Juniper associates

Adam Huggins:

recognized an opportunity in this dysfunctional state of

Adam Huggins:

affairs.

Adam Huggins:

With a herd of cattle, a little bit of capital and the promise

Adam Huggins:

to graze, they could lease the public lands surrounding the 135

Adam Huggins:

acres Saguaro Juniper plot, and steward it collectively. Jim

Adam Huggins:

would be able to apply his philosophy of pastoral

Adam Huggins:

synbiotics at a landscape scale.

Sanctuary for All Life:

Grazing use that is in harmony with the

Sanctuary for All Life:

untamed biotic community, and that displaces injurious

Sanctuary for All Life:

commercial grazing is therefore the key to the redemption of

Sanctuary for All Life:

these lands.

Adam Huggins:

So when Jim Corbett spoke of land

Adam Huggins:

redemption, he was proposing nothing less than the

Adam Huggins:

restoration of the wild lands of the arid West, through covenant

Adam Huggins:

community and cow human symbiosis. And with 1000s of

Adam Huggins:

acres in and around Hotsprings Canyon now at his disposal, he

Adam Huggins:

set out to see if it could be done.

Adam Huggins:

On the second day of our retreat, Ilana and I set out

Adam Huggins:

from the Hermitage to explore Hotsprings Canyon. It was a

Adam Huggins:

cloudless day, and the canyon walls stood in stark relief

Adam Huggins:

against the open skies. It didn't take me long to realize

Adam Huggins:

that the Sonoran Desert is a botanist's dream. what looks

Adam Huggins:

like a tangle of dry brush at a distance opens up into a world

Adam Huggins:

of plucky barrel cacti, stoic Agaves, trailing wild grapes,

Adam Huggins:

elegant Daturas, and gregarious jojobas, and wild flowers of

Adam Huggins:

breathtaking variety and color. Raptors, songbirds, toads,

Adam Huggins:

scorpions, grasshoppers, rattlesnakes, and even a desert

Adam Huggins:

tortoise greeted us on the trail as we made our way up the wash.

Adam Huggins:

And after a couple of dry miles, we heard the siren song of all

desert travelers:

the trickle of a creek.

desert travelers:

The cool water was a welcome reprieve to the increasing heat

desert travelers:

of the day. And I couldn't help but notice the quality of the

desert travelers:

riparian vegetation, and the water, and just the ecosystem in

desert travelers:

general. Honestly, it was hard to believe that Saguaro Juniper

desert travelers:

runs a herd of cattle and these lands. But clearly they take

desert travelers:

great care to avoid inflicting damage on the riparian zones. If

desert travelers:

there were scars from grazing, my eyes just weren't trained

desert travelers:

enough to spot them. The entire Canyon pulsed with life under a

desert travelers:

canopy of Ash, Sycamore, and Acacia trees – sheltering us

desert travelers:

beneath the desert sun. We began climbing the walls of the

desert travelers:

canyon, and it didn't take us long before we found what we

desert travelers:

were looking for. There, overlooking the canyon below,

desert travelers:

was a Saguaro and a Juniper growing side by side.

desert travelers:

In the late 1980s, Jim's approach to wildland

desert travelers:

conservation through cattle grazing was ahead of its time.

desert travelers:

Allan Savory was just beginning to preach his gospel of Holistic

desert travelers:

Management, and it would take years for his ideas to become

desert travelers:

popularized. Saguaro Juniper was a novel experiment for its time,

desert travelers:

and the grazing aspect wasn't the only unique feature. Jim and

desert travelers:

the Saguaro Juniper community also wrote up and adopted a bill

desert travelers:

of rights for the land, formerly known as the Saguaro Juniper

desert travelers:

covenant.

Sanctuary for All Life:

The Saguaro Juniper covenant

principles:

a bill of rights for the land.

One:

the land has a right to be free of human activity that

One:

accelerates erosion.

Two:

native plants and animals on the land have a right to life

Two:

with a minimum of human disturbance.

Three:

the land has the right to evolve its own character from

Three:

its own elements without scarring from construction, or

Three:

the importation of foreign objects dominating the scene.

Four:

the land has a preeminent right to the preservation of its

Four:

unique and rare constituents and features.

Five:

the land, its water, rocks, and minerals, its plants

Five:

and animals, and their fruits and harvest have a right never

Five:

to be rented, sold, extracted, or exported as mere commodities.

Five:

In acquiring governance of the land, we agree to cherish its

Five:

Earth, waters, plants, and animals in a way that promotes

Five:

the health, stability and diversity of the whole

Five:

community. This entails attentive stillness to meet and

Five:

know the land is an active presence. It entails study,

Five:

observation, shared reflection, and cumulative experience to

Five:

increase and bequeath our understanding of ecosystem

Five:

health, stability and diversity. It entails symbiotic

Five:

naturalization into the land community – a communion of

Five:

actual nurture and shelter.

Five:

As elaborated by these entailments, fully accountable

Five:

governance – stewardship – is the distinctly human way of

Five:

bonding into one society with all who share in the land's

Five:

life, which is the foundation for instituting a bio-centric

Five:

ethic among humankind.

Adam Huggins:

This is a remarkable document for its

Adam Huggins:

time. The idea that non-human species and the more-than-human

Adam Huggins:

world in general, have rights that human communities must

Adam Huggins:

respect is embedded in most, if not all indigenous cultures. But

Adam Huggins:

in the dominant culture of settler colonialism, the idea

Adam Huggins:

that any rights could or should be extended to nature was and

Adam Huggins:

continues to be a radical notion. The famous

Adam Huggins:

conservationist, Aldo Leopold, entered into this conversation

Adam Huggins:

when he suggested in 1949, that:

Aldo Leopold:

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the

Aldo Leopold:

integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is

Aldo Leopold:

wrong when it tends otherwise.

Adam Huggins:

In the modern era, many point to a seminal article

Adam Huggins:

by USC Professor Christopher Stone, published in 1972, and

Adam Huggins:

entitled "Should Trees Have Standing? Towards legal rights

Adam Huggins:

for natural objects". But it wasn't until the dawn of a new

Adam Huggins:

millennium that a small burrough in Pennsylvania would become the

Adam Huggins:

first jurisdiction in the United States and in the world, to

Adam Huggins:

formally codify rights of nature into law. Shortly thereafter, in

Adam Huggins:

2008, the South American nation of Ecuador would famously become

Adam Huggins:

the first to enshrine the rights of nature into its constitution,

Adam Huggins:

making the Indigenous word Pachamama iconic for the rights

Adam Huggins:

of nature movement.

Adam Huggins:

From 2008 to the present day, there has been a cascade of

Adam Huggins:

similar declarations and laws passed at all levels of

Adam Huggins:

governments around the world, concerning everything from

Adam Huggins:

rivers to whole territories. But in 1991, when the Saguaro

Adam Huggins:

Juniper covenant was adopted, it was a complete anachronism.

Adam Huggins:

Looking back, Jim was so prescient – responding to the

Adam Huggins:

crises of the moment, with solutions that wouldn't enter

Adam Huggins:

the mainstream until long after his own death. Even if Saguaro

Adam Huggins:

Juniper had been an utter failure, the covenant document

Adam Huggins:

alone would represent an incredible contribution to the

Adam Huggins:

evolution of settler thought on the rights of nature. That being

Adam Huggins:

said, Saguaro Juniper was and is anything but a failure, even

Adam Huggins:

though it could probably never have lived up to Jim's

Adam Huggins:

astronomic ideals. After having spent much of the '80s covertly

Adam Huggins:

naturalizing Central American refugees into the United States,

Adam Huggins:

Jim had set out to accomplish nothing short of finding a way

Adam Huggins:

to naturalize entire human communities within wildland

Adam Huggins:

ecosystems.

Adam Huggins:

How exactly would he do this? In Goatwalking, Jim explored

Adam Huggins:

sojourning and human-goats symbiosis as a means of hiding

Adam Huggins:

the world within the world – of escaping, if only for a few

Adam Huggins:

weeks, into a pastoral solitude that opened the way to what he

Adam Huggins:

called errantry. With Saguaro Juniper and Sanctuary For All

Adam Huggins:

Life, Jim explored the covenant-bound community and

Adam Huggins:

cow-human symbiosis as a means of getting the land back to the

Adam Huggins:

land – of finding a way out of dominion and into communion with

Adam Huggins:

wildlands. His assessment of the roots of institutionalized

Adam Huggins:

violence in modern civilization was simple:

Sanctuary for All Life:

Civilizations were born when warriors learned

Sanctuary for All Life:

how to enslave the farmers who had learned how to enslave the

Sanctuary for All Life:

land.

Adam HugginsHis solution:

:

learn to stop enslaving the

Adam HugginsHis solution:

:

land. And though he may have been a Quaker at heart, his

Adam HugginsHis solution:

:

experience with Judeo-Christian congregations during the

Adam HugginsHis solution:

:

Sanctuary Movement led him to embrace a surprising approach:

Adam HugginsHis solution:

:

the observance of the biblical Sabbath. Here's Jim, speaking to

Adam HugginsHis solution:

:

a gathering of Quakers.

Ann Russell:

Have you heard that Cain's punishment for murdering

Ann Russell:

his brother actually consisted of his forgetting the meaning of

Ann Russell:

the Sabbath? That makes sense. Since he was the first tiller of

Ann Russell:

the earth, he probably did value his work so highly, that he

Ann Russell:

forgot, much as we have forgotten. For millennia,

Ann Russell:

Semitic peoples have called wilderness "God's land",

Ann Russell:

distinguishing it from settled areas possessed and remade to

Ann Russell:

fit human plans. The generation that crossed the Jordan was

Ann Russell:

reared in the wilderness in order to assure the integrity of

Ann Russell:

the covenant-formed community's new consciousness. Succeeding

Ann Russell:

generations were given the sabbatical observances as their

Ann Russell:

way to retain this consciousness, and thereby to

Ann Russell:

resist assimilation into societies dedicated to

Ann Russell:

conquering and consuming the creation.

Adam Huggins:

Many of us know that, according to the book of

Adam Huggins:

Genesis, the God of Abraham rested on the seventh day of the

Adam Huggins:

creation, resulting in the occasional inconvenience of

Adam Huggins:

businesses being closed on Sundays. Far fewer are aware

Adam Huggins:

that the biblical Sabbath is a much more radical proposition.

Adam Huggins:

According to the books of Exodus and Leviticus, every Seventh Day

Adam Huggins:

is to be a day of complete rest and sacred assembly. Every

Adam Huggins:

seventh year is to be a Sabbath of rest unto the land itself.

Adam Huggins:

And every 49th year – that's seven times seven for you math

Adam Huggins:

nerds – is to be a jubilee year, when all land should lie fallow,

Adam Huggins:

and be returned to its original owners. Who or what exactly

Adam Huggins:

qualifies as the original owner has been subject to some debate,

Adam Huggins:

to put it mildly. But Jim had his own interpretation. For Jim,

Adam Huggins:

sabbatical practice would be the key to getting the land back to

Adam Huggins:

the land.

Ann Russell:

Sabbath is a time to quit grabbing at the world to

Ann Russell:

rest and to rejoice in the creations goodness. It opens

Ann Russell:

away toward the peaceable kingdom. That is a non-violent

Ann Russell:

alternative to the apocalyptic hopes of revolutionary zealots.

Ann Russell:

Lacking all Sabbath, a people would also lack a gathering

Ann Russell:

place in time from which to hallow the earth.

Adam Huggins:

To live up to its covenant, the Saguaro Juniper

Adam Huggins:

community would need to live sabbatically. Jim saw the

Adam Huggins:

practice of nomadic cattle herding as the best way to do

Adam Huggins:

this in the Arizona desert. In his own words:

Sanctuary for All Life:

God does a bovine form display to those

Sanctuary for All Life:

who live this pastoral way.

Adam Huggins:

In embracing a sabbatical approach to land

Adam Huggins:

redemption and restoration, Jim placed himself firmly in

Adam Huggins:

opposition to Allan Savory's developing practice of Holistic

Range Management:

a herding system based on closely managed

Range Management:

rotational grazing. Jim felt that the herd was to be joined,

Range Management:

not managed. He considered the concept of artificial

Range Management:

enclosures, which are necessary in rotational practices, to be

Range Management:

antithetical to any hope of harmoniously integrating a herd

Range Management:

in wild lands. To Jim, managed herds were abandoned herds.

Sanctuary for All Life:

No amount of cross fencing can fit

Sanctuary for All Life:

an abandoned herd into a wild land harmoniously.

Adam Huggins:

in Jim's estimation, Holistic Range

Adam Huggins:

Management was chiefly concerned with the growth of grass, while

Adam Huggins:

his own practice of pastoral symbiotics was chiefly concerned

Adam Huggins:

with the growth of post-civilized humanity. This is

Adam Huggins:

because at a fundamental level, Jim believed that human beings

Adam Huggins:

can't know enough to manage life on earth. And so, in the final

Adam Huggins:

decade of his life, Jim would resist the management paradigm.

Adam Huggins:

Land redemption, giving the land back to the land, would begin

Adam Huggins:

with the rejection of goal-oriented thinking. It would

Adam Huggins:

be a process of evolutionary succession, rather than utopian

Adam Huggins:

intervention, characterized by an emphasis on means over ends.

Sanctuary for All Life:

To recognize that management is

Sanctuary for All Life:

itself the problem is to understand that Sabbath

Sanctuary for All Life:

observance is the restoration of the world.

Adam Huggins:

Jim's steadfast commitment to his principles is

Adam Huggins:

nothing if not admirable. But as you may have already guessed, it

Adam Huggins:

wasn't always easy to live up to, or even to live with. Here's

Adam Huggins:

Pat.

Pat Corbett:

It was difficult sometimes, you know and

Pat Corbett:

sometimes in our relationship, it was like the irresistible

Pat Corbett:

force met the immovable object, and then we would just have to

Pat Corbett:

stop and back up and see if we could find some other compromise

Pat Corbett:

to decide this issue. And so if I decided I was not going to do

Pat Corbett:

something in a particular way, then we would have to have that

Pat Corbett:

discussion. Because otherwise, it could be a little bit like

Pat Corbett:

living with a bulldozer.

Adam Huggins:

Perhaps as a result of Pat's positive

Adam Huggins:

influence on him, Jim did at times seek compromise in order

Adam Huggins:

to create the Saguaro Juniper community.

Nancy Ferguson:

He was very inclusive. You know, when he was

Nancy Ferguson:

thinking up a plan and a project, he really didn't want

Nancy Ferguson:

it to be just him. He wanted it to be, you know, ideas from you

Nancy Ferguson:

know, whoever was participating.

Adam Huggins:

For example, despite Jim's pastoral ethic,

Adam Huggins:

allowance was made within Saguaro Juniper for Tom's love

Adam Huggins:

of gardening.

Nancy Ferguson:

The thing about Jim was that, yeah, well, he

Nancy Ferguson:

wanted to be pre-agriculture and think that way. But knowing that

Nancy Ferguson:

Tom was into gardens, you know, he's writing up the covenant and

Nancy Ferguson:

saying, "Okay, Tom, how can we fit agriculture into this?"

Adam Huggins:

On the other hand, his strict interpretation of the

Adam Huggins:

Saguaro Juniper covenant would exclude one of his closest

Adam Huggins:

friends. Here's John Fife.

John Fife:

When he created the covenant community out there, he

John Fife:

of course, came to me and said, "Okay, we want you in on this".

John Fife:

And I said, "Great, I love that country. I've been out there

John Fife:

again and again and again and the Galiuros, and I think it's,

John Fife:

it's a special place and I'd love to buy it. 'Cause I want to

John Fife:

go hunting out there". And Corbett looks at me and says,

John Fife:

"Oh, you can't hunt". I said, "What do you mean I can't hunt,

John Fife:

I want to be a part of the community. That's what I've

John Fife:

always done out there". And h said, "No, no, that's part of t

John Fife:

e covenant that the par icipants have written into the

covenant understanding:

there w ll be no hunting of deer or othe

covenant understanding:

parts of the ecosystem out the e". And I said, "Well, you know,

covenant understanding:

then I can't buy in". And he s id, "Well, it's really imp

covenant understanding:

In the end, John wouldn't be a part of the grand experiment. So

covenant understanding:

rtant. I really want you to be part of this". I said, "Well, y

covenant understanding:

u've excluded those of us who u derstand hunting as a part of t

covenant understanding:

e whole ecosystem that we're a art of". And he said, "Well, I'

covenant understanding:

sorry". And I said, "Now let me get this right, Jim. You r

covenant understanding:

n cattle on covenant land, righ ?" "Yeah. That's part of

covenant understanding:

the covenant. We're gonna w 're gonna work with herding on

covenant understanding:

the covenant land", said, "a d all those cows are dying of o

covenant understanding:

d age out there, right?" He said "Well, no, no, no, that's not

covenant understanding:

part of the deal". I said, "S you take cattle in to slaughte

covenant understanding:

, and you won't let me hun deer out there? Is that the dea

covenant understanding:

?" He kind of grinned. And the one day I see Pat, you know,

covenant understanding:

we're just talking about what s going on with the ranch and w

covenant understanding:

at's going on land and ever thing like this. And she said, "

covenant understanding:

nd we had a really bad nigh . Recently, mountain lion came i

covenant understanding:

and killed some of our goats" And I said, "Oh, and what Jim

covenant understanding:

o about that?" And Pat said, "H hired a hunter to come and

covenant understanding:

ill the lion". I said, "Really?" So I couldn't wait to see Cor

covenant understanding:

ett. I said, "Corbett, you won t let me be a part of the coven

covenant understanding:

nt out there, and go hunter, b t you hire a hunter to kill a li

covenant understanding:

n who's killed your goats? Is that what you're trying to

covenant understanding:

tell

covenant understanding:

why agriculture and not hunting? It's a puzzling contradiction.

covenant understanding:

And it wasn't the first compromise that would be made.

covenant understanding:

Jim's rejection of the very idea of management would run up

covenant understanding:

against the reality of holding grazing leases.

Tom Orum:

And so as soon as you enter into the contract with the

Tom Orum:

state, to lease the land, then it's not totally free and easy.

Tom Orum:

That begins a sequence of events, which leads to more –

Tom Orum:

more management than one would like.

Adam Huggins:

it would prove impossible, even for Jim, to be

Adam Huggins:

among the animals 100% of the time. And so water systems and

Adam Huggins:

fencing and summer pasture, some kind of management had to be

Adam Huggins:

accepted as part of the system.

Tom Orum:

And then the other part of it, of course, is Jim's

Tom Orum:

philosophy, which is that not just to protect land in a

Tom Orum:

preservationist way, but be part of it and interact with it. And

Tom Orum:

he sort of... well let the cows teach you. And so there's a,

Tom Orum:

there's an element of both conservation from the point of

Tom Orum:

view of just not wanting heavy use on the land, but then the

other side of:

it's wanting to use the land as part of the

other side of:

whole process. So that – that's the tension that always exists

other side of:

between where to graze, how much to graze, and what the limits

other side of:

are in terms of both the land and the people and so forth.

Adam Huggins:

On the final night of our retreat at the Hermitage,

Adam Huggins:

I decided that I was going to try and sleep outside on the

Adam Huggins:

ground without a blanket, just like Jim. I suppose that I

Adam Huggins:

wanted to see what it felt like to live beneath the stars in the

Adam Huggins:

desert, and imagine myself as part of a herd of animals

Adam Huggins:

without recourse to the comforts of civilization. It was chilly

Adam Huggins:

enough in October that I ended up compromising and bringing out

Adam Huggins:

my sleeping bag. Ilana was perfectly happy to sleep inside.

Adam Huggins:

The desert night was incredibly still, and the stars luminous as

Adam Huggins:

I had hoped. But lacking what I imagined to be the reassuring

Adam Huggins:

presence of my fellow herd animals, I felt alone and

Adam Huggins:

exposed in a way that I was not accustomed to, despite years of

Adam Huggins:

backpacking, often solo. Perhaps it was the unfamiliar stillness

Adam Huggins:

of the desert. Or perhaps it was the lack of a tent. But for the

Adam Huggins:

first hour or so, sleep eluded me. My mind was busy – cycling

Adam Huggins:

through the many challenges and contradictions posed by trying

Adam Huggins:

to live as Jim had lived.

Adam Huggins:

At first, I thought I might be imagining the snorts and

Adam Huggins:

stomping emanating from the open wash. But by the time the heavy

Adam Huggins:

footfalls were indenting the dry earth around my head, I realized

Adam Huggins:

that I was laying in the midst of a stampede of totally

Adam Huggins:

unfamiliar, unidentifiable, wild mammals. Frozen in terror, I

Adam Huggins:

curled up inside my sleeping bag and prayed that I wouldn't be

Adam Huggins:

detected. As soon as the group had passed, I unclenched

Adam Huggins:

unzipped and made a beeline towards the Hermitage and the

Adam Huggins:

warm bed waiting within. Somehow, Ilana was unsurprised

Adam Huggins:

to see me returning so soon.

Adam Huggins:

It was only the next day that I realized that I'd been lying

Adam Huggins:

directly in the path of a pack of wild New World pigs, known as

Adam Huggins:

Peccaries, or Javalinas. I had been so caught up in retracing

Adam Huggins:

Jim steps, I'd forgotten to consider that herds can come in

Adam Huggins:

diverse forms.

Adam Huggins:

Today, the Saguaro Juniper faithful continue to manage a

Adam Huggins:

small herd of cattle, fulfilling the covenant and protecting

Adam Huggins:

1000s of acres of land in the San Pedro River watershed.

Pat Corbett:

We're part of a wildlife corridor that stretches

Pat Corbett:

all the way down and across the river. We all think that's

Pat Corbett:

pretty important and want to try and keep it going.

Adam Huggins:

Pat Corbett continues to take an active role

Adam Huggins:

out on the range, on horseback with the herd.

Pat Corbett:

Well, when the cattle are on range, I kind of

Pat Corbett:

act as the range rider, and try and keep track of the cattle,

Pat Corbett:

and the water, and whether the fences is wrapped, and then I

Pat Corbett:

call on somebody else who's younger and healthier than me to

Pat Corbett:

come repair whatever it is that needs to be fixed. Like I say,

Pat Corbett:

getting on the horse is kind of hard. But once I get on the

Pat Corbett:

horse, I can just sit there, and getting off is a little bit

Pat Corbett:

difficult.

Adam Huggins:

Saguaro Juniper maintains a solid base of

Adam Huggins:

community support. On occasion, even Ann Russell is able to make

Adam Huggins:

the trip out from California to help out.

Ann Russell:

Yeah, I got to do that last April, Pat lent me her

Ann Russell:

chaps. And it's just very quiet. We were walking. I was on a

Ann Russell:

horse called Lumpy, short for Lumpen Proletariat.

Adam Huggins:

It's like one big family, at home on the range.

Pat Corbett:

The fact that they're cows and not people, at

Pat Corbett:

a certain point it's not very relevant. You know, we're all

Pat Corbett:

here together.

Adam Huggins:

Of course, it's a nuanced relationship.

Pat Corbett:

You know, I eat our beef. So obviously, you know, we

Pat Corbett:

slaughter livestock. But we have this great commitment to making

Pat Corbett:

sure that they lead a good healthy, in bovine terms, happy

Pat Corbett:

life, contented life. And in the process of doing this, we don't

Pat Corbett:

damage the land where they're being kept.

Adam Huggins:

The Saguaro Juniper approach to conservation

Adam Huggins:

– based on the conviction that humans can be naturalized into

Adam Huggins:

the wildland community – is still uncommon. but is slowly

Adam Huggins:

gaining traction in the environmental community.

Nancy Ferguson:

Thinking and acting as if human beings can

Nancy Ferguson:

actually be a positive part of wildlands is a pretty radical

Nancy Ferguson:

notion. And it's almost more radical to conservationists than

Nancy Ferguson:

it is to farmers and ranchers. And that's the notion that's

really dear to me:

that if if I love Saguaros, I don't have to

really dear to me:

say "people should never go near Saguaros, or the Sonoran Desert

really dear to me:

as a whole" – that there can be a place that we can be part of.

Adam Huggins:

It's largely a labor of love. The beef and

Adam Huggins:

other products from the cows is enough to maintain the

Adam Huggins:

operation, but not enough to provide stable employment for

Adam Huggins:

herders. This means that, while a number of young people have

Adam Huggins:

been attracted to Saguaro Juniper, and its sister

Adam Huggins:

organization, the Cascabel Conservation Association, it's

Adam Huggins:

proven difficult to provide them lasting opportunities to be a

Adam Huggins:

part of the herd.

Pat Corbett:

Well, there are a lot of young folks, I'm sure,

Pat Corbett:

who would really like to. The problem is, you know, this kind

Pat Corbett:

of operation doesn't really bring in enough money to, you

Pat Corbett:

know, keep a lot of people employed. We really struggle to

Pat Corbett:

pay one person, in fact, and we don't get all of that from the

Pat Corbett:

cattle operation. And so it's – it's tended to work out that the

Pat Corbett:

people who can be involved in this are folks who are retired

Pat Corbett:

and still physically active and have an income that allows them

Pat Corbett:

to live here

Adam Huggins:

In this way, Saguaro Juniper is a lot like

Adam Huggins:

many small, community based conservation organizations in

Adam Huggins:

aging communities. It's also a bit like the Saguaros in Tom and

Adam Huggins:

Nancy's study. Saguaro Juniper will only thrive in the long run

Adam Huggins:

if it can seed and support the next generation. In ecology,

Adam Huggins:

"recruitment" is just a fancy word for this process of

Adam Huggins:

welcoming new members into a community, whether they're

Adam Huggins:

cactus sprouts or young herders.

Adam Huggins:

Right now, Saguaro Juniper is welcoming people who want to

Adam Huggins:

pursue a sabbatical life in the desert – carrying on and

Adam Huggins:

adapting the work that Jim, Pat, Nancy, Tom, and others began

Adam Huggins:

several decades ago. They've just published an expanded

Adam Huggins:

second edition of Sanctuary For All Life, and they've been

Adam Huggins:

reviving monthly sabbatical gatherings. They've even started

Adam Huggins:

a Goatwalking group. From my most recent conversations with

Adam Huggins:

community members, they're entering an exciting, uncertain

Adam Huggins:

period – a time of rediscovery, reflection, and hopefully, of

Adam Huggins:

renewal.

Adam Huggins:

So is it possible to create a Sanctuary for All Life in this

Adam Huggins:

place, at this time? for Tom and Nancy, even after all of these

Adam Huggins:

years, there are times when Jim's ideals feel out of reach.

Tom Orum:

To me, it's a bar that I can't achieve. But on the

Tom Orum:

other hand, it's an ideal that I really respect, and look to do

Tom Orum:

what one can, and also enable others who might be interested

Tom Orum:

to try.

Adam Huggins:

When I reflect on Jim's writing, he never fixated

Adam Huggins:

on the goal – just the process, just the journey. And that

Adam Huggins:

journey, by definition, is going to look a little bit different

Adam Huggins:

for everyone.

Nancy Ferguson:

It occurred to me as we were sitting, talking,

Nancy Ferguson:

that the cows and the Saguaros both do the same thing for me.

Nancy Ferguson:

They're both ways that encouraged me to get out and be

Nancy Ferguson:

part of the system myself. The fact that we're out every

Nancy Ferguson:

spring, counting the Saguaros, means that, you know I'm a part

Nancy Ferguson:

of that system and seeing things and understanding that I

Nancy Ferguson:

wouldn't otherwise – and it's true with the cows that keeps me

Nancy Ferguson:

grounded, and in this place.

Adam Huggins:

I finished reading Pat's dog-eared copy of

Adam Huggins:

Sanctuary for All Life on the last morning of our retreat,

Adam Huggins:

shortly before Susan picked us up. For a few moments, I lay

Adam Huggins:

still in the sun, grateful for the opportunity to sojourn on

Adam Huggins:

this redeemed land. Speaking frankly, I don't think that the

Adam Huggins:

pastoral life is for me. The only milk I can stomach is nut

Adam Huggins:

milk, and too much idleness drives me to distraction. But I

Adam Huggins:

do hunger for that stillness that among all of the demands of

Adam Huggins:

civilized life, can be so elusive. I worry that all of my

Adam Huggins:

frantic activity is just kicking up more dust from the parched

Adam Huggins:

earth. And I'm terrified of the possibility that, in working so

Adam Huggins:

hard to restore the earth, I've sacrificed the daily presence

Adam Huggins:

that might allow me to hallow it.

Adam Huggins:

I think that I return again and again to Jim's life and his

Adam Huggins:

writing, not because it agrees with me, but because it

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challenges every part of the person that I've become. It is

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like walking into the desert. Not sure if you're going to come

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out again, searching for a forgotten spring.

Sanctuary for All Life:

And on a desert mountain, amidst the

Sanctuary for All Life:

harsh of soaring granite, I've opened a forgotten spring. The

Sanctuary for All Life:

few who remembered thought it had long ago gone dry, but I

Sanctuary for All Life:

found the hidden place dug down until the stream ran clear and

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cold in the summer sun. So what are epitaphs to me? Still in my

Sanctuary for All Life:

20s I could already write as good a remembrance as any I

could imagine for myself at 90:

:

"He kept a lamb or two from

could imagine for myself at 90:

:

freezing. He found and opened a forgotten spring".

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Jim died in 2001, leaving both the manuscript and

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the project – of creating a Sanctuary for All Life –

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unfinished. In the next and final episode of this series,

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we're going to leave Jim behind, picking up the threads that

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extend from his life to the present day crisis in the

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Borderlands. and to those continuing the work of Sanctuary

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in its many forms. That's next time on the forth and final part

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of Goatwalker.

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Goatwalker is produced by myself, Adam Huggins, and Mendel

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Skulski for Future Ecologies. Ilana Fonariov is the Associate

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Producer for this series. For photos, citations, and more

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information about the people and events described in this

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episode, please visit futureecologies.net

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Okay, I have some exciting news for those of you who've been

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asking about Jim's books. In a coincidence so well timed you'd

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think we'd planned it, as of last month. Sanctuary for All

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Life has been republished by Cascabel books, with a new

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afterword by 13 folks who continue to honor the covenant

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and manage the Hermitage. It's a fascinating read, and it's

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available for a reasonable price on Amazon. You don't have to

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borrow Pat's copy or make a special order from a used

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bookstore in Germany like I did. In equally exciting news, thanks

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to the efforts of a number of dedicated folks, Goatwalking is

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going to be republished in September of this year via

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Kindle Direct Publishing. If you'd like to know when it's

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ready, you can send your name and email address to

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goatwalking2021@gmail.com

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In this episode, you heard Ann Russell, Tom Oram, Nancy

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Ferguson, John Fife, Pat Corbett, Jim Corbett, and Miriam

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Davidson. Narration was by Philip Buller. Music was by

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Satorian, Hidden Sky, and Sunfish Moon Light. The

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ever-evolving Goatwalker theme is by Ryder Thomas White and

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Sunfish Moon Light. Special thanks to Teresa Madison, Susan

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Tollefson, John Fife, Pat Corbett, Nancy Ferguson, Tom

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Orum, Gary Paul Nanhan Gita Bodner, Amanda Howard and the

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University of Arizona, Sadie Couture, Phil Buller, Danny

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Elmes, and Susan L. Newman.

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Future ecologies is an independent production,

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supported by our patrons. To join them, go to

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patreon.com/futureecologies.

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This series was recorded on the territory of the Tohono O’odham,

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and produced on the unceded, shared, and asserted territory

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of the Penelakut, Hwlitsum, Lelum Sar Augh Ta Naogh, and

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other Hul’qumi’num speaking peoples.