What’s an Icon? – Why Desert Bighorns Should Matter to Us
Many animals inspire us, serving as symbols of strength, pride, and future hope. Recently there’s been a recent call to celebrate desert bighorn sheep as a National Petroglyph due to their massive bio-cultural relevance through inscriptions in rock (i.e., petroglyphs). Bighorns today still face obstacles. Landscapes are changing, the human footprint grows, and recreation grows in many forms. Can they adapt?
Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA) and Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) will co-host a National Public Lands Day Celebration on September 23, 2023 from 7pm-8:30pm at James M. Robb Fruita which will include light refreshments, kid-friendly bighorn sheep activities from 7pm-7:30pm and 7:30pm-8:30pm we will have a special talk from wildlife biologist, Joel Berger.
Rocky Mountain PBS KIDS character, Bawby, the bighorn sheep, will make an appearance as well! Bawby’s Adventures Coloring Book will be available for kids and families during the event.
CCA and CNMA work hard to protect our neighboring public lands, McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and Colorado National Monument, which includes a special ecosystem including the iconic desert bighorn sheep. Join us to hear more about these organizations and to celebrate our public lands and the local wildlife within it. Join CNMA and CCA at James R. Robb Park in Fruita for an evening with Joel Berger, senior scientist and research associate for the Smithsonian Institution as well as CCA for activities in the park
JOEL BERGER grew up in Los Angeles but traded surfing for desert and mountain adventures where, yes, he rode dirt bikes. But gradually he was attracted to wildlife and to science, and concentrated on animals larger than a bread box. His first studies were on bighorn sheep, both in North America’s deserts and in British Columbia. There were also iconic species across the next few decades many lesser known but not all: African black rhinos and Tibet’s wild yaks, Patagonia’s huemul, and saiga deep in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. In Alaska and the Russian Arctic, it was muskoxen and interactions with polar bears. As of late, he’s had joint projects in our own backyard – bison, pronghorn, and mountain goats. His current focus also includes desert bighorns with a concentration on prenatal stress during late gestation. Past support has been from the Guggenheim Foundation, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and the National Science Foundation, as well as state and federal agencies. His latest book is ‘Extreme Conservation – Life at the Edges of the World’. Joel is the University Chair in Wildlife Conservation at Colorado State University.
- Event will be held at the Red Rocks Shelter/Group Picnic area
- Park entrance fee or permit is required to enter James R. Robb Park
- Please bring a chair as seating is limited