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Posts Tagged ‘Rio Grande Valley’


honeycomb (two), harvested from the bee hives in our orchard,
October 2008, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



It just dawned on me. My late summer, early fall allergies never transpired. They usually start in August and stick with me until the first freeze. But this year, not an itch in my eyes nor a drip from my nose. How did I manage that?

The culprit is ragweed, a ubiquitious plant in the Rio Grande Valley. Could be that there’s less of the noxious weed here, in our new place, than in our old ‘hood. Ragweed grew like mad up and down the road and on the ditchbank behind our former residence, but it’s not exactly absent around these parts. After all, we only moved about two miles away.

I’m beginning to think it must be the honey. For a couple of years now, I’ve been consuming local honey—that is, honey collected from bee hives within about a five-mile radius of our home. The latest blast of honey came directly from the bee hives in our orchard. Dr. Moses, keeper of those hives, pulled out an entire honeycomb and handed it over as a special treat. It lasted exactly ten days. We ate honey by the spoonfuls, and we even ate most of the soft edible beeswax that made up the comb itself.

According to Tom Ogren, author of several books on allergies and how to prevent them, honey contains bits and pieces of pollen from the plants that surround the bee hive. As honey bees zip from plant to plant, they carry with them the pollen from those plants and deposit it into the honeycomb. When we eat that honey, the pollen acts as an immune booster, especially when taken in small amounts consistently over time prior to the onset of the allergy season.


It may seem odd that straight exposure to pollen often triggers allergies but that exposure to pollen in the honey usually has the opposite effect. But this is typically what we see. In honey the allergens are delivered in small, manageable doses and the effect over time is very much like that from undergoing a whole series of allergy immunology injections. The major difference though is that the honey is a lot easier to take and it is certainly a lot less expensive. I am always surprised that this powerful health benefit of local honey is not more widely understood, as it is simple, easy, and often surprisingly effective.

                                                           ~Tom Ogren







Allergies run in our family. Before he succumbed to a battery of allergy shots taken over many years, Dad always carried with him a sinus inhaler, a small white tube that fit into the nostril. I cringed in church whenever I saw him pull out the tube and then watch it disappear up his nose. That was the height of embarrassment for a kid aged 8-11, before I learned about all the other things my parents did that would eventually embarrass me.

My own allergies made their first appearance when I was 17. I worked as a hostess at a famous restaurant in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. One night my allergies got so bad that I crouched behind the reception counter, sopping up the drips from my nose with a cloth napkin. I couldn’t find a box of tissues, and I was wearing a spaghetti strap dress, else I would have used my sleeve. I could hardly move from behind the counter given that my nose and eyes were running profusely. I finally had to go home.

It’s been a blessing not worrying about allergies this year. Usually I buy over-the-counter Claritin and take a dose on the worst days when my allergies hit. But this year I’m letting the honey do its magic.

I feel like someone who’s stumbled upon the best-kept secret in the world. What could be better than honey as preventitive medicine? It’s relatively inexpensive compared to Claritin and/or allergy shots, plus it tastes fabulous!

I just wish honey worked for the flu, too. Alas, I don’t think it’s that powerful. But, the good news is, I already got my flu shot—a week ago today—and even though it made me feel achy and sick for two days, I’m now ready for the onslaught of germs that always descend on our family when the weather gets cold.

Here’s to clear lungs, drip-free noses, and strong stomachs all winter long! And to the bees!



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The first weekend of May is a special time in the sleepy village where I live.

(A side note on villages: Aren’t they always sleepy? That’s what makes them villages. Not cities; not even towns. Ours truly is a village, incorporated as such in 1971. Hence, it is known as The Village of Corrales, and there has been since I can recall a sign that says something to the effect of “Drive slow and see our animals, drive fast and see our judge.” I know, it’s not the most grammatically correct sign. But what do you expect from a village?)

May 1 and 2 are the days when many of the artists and craftspeople who call Corrales “home” open up their studios and galleries and invite the public to visit.


Corrales Art Studio Tour, poster © 2010 by Krysteen Wazask. All rights reserved.




I am participating in the Corrales Art Studio Tour with two other artists, in a centuries-old former dance hall — now a creative space called Movement Studios — that sits in the center of Corrales.

(A side note on the center of Corrales: You know you’re there when you see a road sign warning Congested Area. Whenever Jim and I approach the sign he coughs and sniffles, at which point I, having forgotten that he does this every time we drive through the village, ask, “Something wrong?” He points to the sign, clears his throat, and says, “Congested Area.”)

Although I am quietly panicking over the fact that I’m behind on making art, I am deeply grateful to be spending the weekend with two talented artists who are also kind and lovely individuals. I’ve known them for only a short while yet I am honored to share this experience with them both.

(A side note on artists: I stand in awe of most simply because I’m blown away by their talent. But not all artists are likable, and there are some I probably wouldn’t choose to get to know. Well, these two artists are people I want to know better. Seeing their art and learning what moves them makes me want to know more about their lives, past and present. They are creative and authentic. Buena gente, as we say in Spanish.)

Here is a bit about them, starting with the one I met first.



_________________________________________________________________________________________________

john toomey





Working Memory-Resurrection-Fern and Working Memory-Hymn-Recording, 30″ x 24″ mixed media paintings, images © 2010 by John Toomey. All rights reserved.



My art is communion with natural form. My imagery, which stems from both observation and improvisation, is born from dreaming upon the horizon, both drifting towards sky and descending into soil. My work is a contemplation of forces that shape, veil, reveal, and reshape forms of nature. It is a dialogue between abstraction and representation, cause and effect, growth and decay.


WORKING MEMORY


I am an artist, arts educator, and twenty-year resident of New Mexico. I teach art to pre-school and elementary aged children at Cottonwood School in Corrales. I make landscape-based abstractions, mostly mixed media paintings on paper. And although I have a profound love for my New Mexico home, it is the landscape of rural west Tennessee that set me on a path towards becoming an artist.

I spent most of my childhood outdoors, roaming and exploring the fields and woods that surrounded my home. As a teen I began to realize an interest for drawing and painting, finding my primary source of inspiration and imagery out in those familiar places. In those fields I dug a well that continues to provide, regardless of where I put down roots.

This is especially true with respect to my current body of work entitled “Working Memory,” a series of paintings in progress that return me to home and deal with the loss of that home. These are mixed-media works on paper, made with acrylic, pastel, watercolor, and bits of organic debris, pressed flowers, leaves, and soil. Most importantly though, this series deals with the ever so gradual loss of my mother as a result of Alzheimer’s disease.

My mom’s greatest love was taking care of our home, gardening and tending to the flowers, trees, and birds. I know her greatest desire was to live out her days in that beautiful place, but sadly she no longer recognizes her family or remembers her flowers.

“Working Memory” is about a boy paying homage to his mother, remembering the gifts that she instilled within him — a deep love of nature and a purposeful connection to place.

I dedicate this work to my mom but also to all who have experienced loss as a result of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.



_________________________________________________________________________________________________

mary hobbs




Bahamas, photo © 2010 by Mary Hobbs. All rights reserved.





I carry my camera with me all the time, photographing my young children and their friends at the grocery store, dentist’s office, just before bed. Watching them at play or in repose, I am compelled to take pictures. This practice is a way for me to discover something profound in everyday mundaneness, to recall events from my own past and explore a child’s emotional landscapes.

I am especially intrigued by how our psychological world can be so different from the physical space we inhabit, how different each child’s experience can be in the same moment — one joyful, the other stressed, another bored.

In a poolside snapshot of a little girl, the traditional touchstones of a carefree childhood — a Popsicle on a sunny day, being wrapped in a warm towel after exiting the pool — are missing. Instead she is surrounded by oversized sneakers, a barrel trash can and rough blades of brass. This image is not so much a photograph of a happy child at the pool, but something more complicated. It is this complication, this juxtaposition of objects in a child’s physical space and the child’s response to this juxtaposition that fascinates me.



_________________________________________________________________________________________________



I hope you will come and visit with us on May 1 and 2, in the center of the sleepy village of Corrales. Our address is 4605 Corrales Road (#25, #26, and #27 on the studio tour map). You can see more of John’s and Mary’s art, and my own. You can learn about Movement Studios and the classes that happen there when we’re not inhabiting the space.

We’d love to see friends and strangers, talk about coyotes and snakes and the trials and tribulations of making art and making a living. And just hang. And, well, maybe sell a piece or two.

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his and her wellies

his and her wellies


These are the boots we wear to irrigate. Mine are cream colored with koi fish designs. And Jim’s? Well, his are basic black.

This weekend Jim taught me the ropes of flood irrigating our land. It’s no easy task. I have a new admiration for the work he does.

And gratitude.






easter tulips

easter tulips

It never was my intent to learn how to irrigate. I have many passions as it is. I love the land, but its care and feeding—that’s my husband’s domain.

But something happened. The Saturday morning before Easter, I heard Jim calling for me from the bedroom. I opened the door and found Jim collapsed on the bed. Minutes later, three paramedics and two ambulance attendants were in our home.








serenity

serenity (for jim)


Jim is fine. He is alive and better than ever. He had blockages in his heart, which have been opened. He has more energy than he’s had for a very long time.

But it’s going to take him and me both some time before we stop thinking about how fragile life is. Although, perhaps that’s something we don’t ever want to take for granted again anyway.







Postscript: Jim is fortunate. He didn’t have a heart attack on the Saturday before Easter, but he did have a close call. The medical staff at the hospital were savvy enough to know that Jim needed to be treated. They kept him in the hospital over the weekend then first thing on Monday performed an angioplasty and inserted two stents. A main artery was almost completely closed, with only half the heart functioning. There was no damage to the heart. Jim’s healthy lifestyle likely contributed to the fact that he is still here today.

Jim is a tender soul and a genuinely humble man. He told the cardiologist who did the procedure, “Thank you for saving my life.” As Jim now tells the story, the doctor smiled and said, “It was my pleasure.”





acequia

wagon at dawn


jim and rafael

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spying the crane through the grass

I Spy A Crane, February 2010, photo © 2010 by Jim. All rights reserved.









[insert your haiku here]










_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: Jim took this photo of two cranes in the field near the house. I liked how the photo came out, soft around the edges. One of the cranes is hard to see; it’s behind branches. I wanted to write a haiku but didn’t have time. I invite anyone else out there to write a haiku, or a caption, or anything you want, inspired by the cranes.

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patrick dougherty masks (one)

Here’s Looking at You, Patrick Dougherty installation at Bosque School,
Albuquerque, October 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
One evening last week I went to see North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty give a talk to an audience of parents, students, faculty and staff of Bosque School, plus a few members of the broader Albuquerque community. The turnout was solid. All seats were filled, yet I couldn’t help but lament how tucked away this globally recognized, soft-spoken artist was—how very hidden his presence in our city was to the public at large. And just how much they were missing by not being here.
 
Dougherty was guest artist at the independent Bosque School (grades 6-12) from October 5-23. According to the multi-arts organization collaborative LAND/ART, which sponsored the sculptor, Dougherty was here to create “a site-specific work on the grounds of the school adjoining the Rio Grande Valley State Park, using willow saplings harvested from the site and involving the students and teachers in the process.” (Bosque School is known for the way it incorporates study of the adjacent cottonwood forest—also known as “the bosque“—and river into its Science curriculum.)
 
This was Dougherty’s first time working with students this age. He’s done installations at museums, university and college campuses, and on sites of all types, from Ireland to France, Connecticut to California—over 200 works in the US, Asia, and Europe over the past two-plus decades.

He wasn’t in New Mexico to create art in a highly visible public space. His primary job was to work with students and teachers. The installation was open to the public most days and weekends during his stay, and many people took advantage of visiting hours. But still, hearing him speak on a late afternoon in October was like stumbling upon the city’s best kept art secret.
 
 
 
 
 

patrick dougherty (the man)        patrick dougherty land art 3

Patrick Dougherty poses for a shot after his talk (left), building the installation
required scaffolding (right), which visitors were sometimes allowed to climb,
October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
Drawing with sticks
 
Dougherty began his talk by walking the audience through a slideshow, starting with images of the log cabin home he built by hand, then moving to samples of his installations. He was funny and charming and deep in an unassuming way. He told us that he thinks about sticks as drawing material. “Consider the stick as a line,” he suggested, talking to us as if we were fellow artists.

His favorite piece, which he said he liked precisely because of its good lines, was “Tension Zones,” installed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1995 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. (Unfortunately, the only image I found was in a hard-to-read archived article from the Milwaukee Sentinel.)
 
He went on to talk about his work in three ways, showing examples of each:

  1. Architecture: Many of his installations have an interplay with buildings. Stick sculptures climb walls, cap towers, or lean into buildings.
  2. Trees: Dougherty often uses trees as “a matrix.” He might make use of the limbs, trunks, or the canopy of the tree, building his installation in relation to one or all of those parts. He showed us pieces that seemed to sprout leaves in spring and shed them in winter.
  3. No thing: Many of his installations, he said, were built in “just space,” indoors or outdoors. 
     

After the talk, members of the audience had many questions. “How did the students catch on?” someone asked. “Great,” Dougherty said, “we know all about sticks; it’s the Hunter-Gatherer in our blood.” He reminded us that the stick is a universal play thing for all children. They use sticks to draw in the dirt, as instruments, building material, weapons, and utensils.
 
 
 
 
 

drawing with sticks (two)    drawing with sticks (one)

Drawing-with-sticks details from the Bosque School installation,
October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
Two Years and Three Weeks
 
Dougherty’s pieces generally have the same lifespan as that of a stick, which is about two years. After two years, most installations come down.

In an interview (date unknown) on Don’t Panic Online, Dougherty talked about the temporary nature of his work:
 
 

I think that part of my work’s allure is its impermanence, the life cycle that is built into the growth and decay of saplings. My focus has always been the process of building a work and allowing those who pass to enjoy the daily changes or drama of building a sculpture as well as the final product. However, the line between trash and treasure is thin, and the sculptures, like the sticks they are made from, begin to fade after two years.  Often the public imagines that a work of art should be made to last, but I believe that a sculpture, like a good flower bed, has its season.

 
Other highlights from Dougherty’s talk include (italics direct quotes; the rest paraphrased):
 

  • On Art and Being an Artist: The art world is not a wall; it’s a loose-knit group of people. Artists are just normal people who are looking for their place in the world.
  •  

  • On finding that Place in the world: Hysteria rides on the shoulder of every creative person.
  •  

  • On building his own house, a log cabin: He wanted to build a house that was functional, with no maintenance once it was done. That way he could live and work there when the money wasn’t rolling in.
  •  

  • On living in North Carolina: Lots of maples in North Carolina, and the stones there have color. Some places have a lot of stones, but they’re not different colors like they are in North Carolina.
  •  

  • On using willows to build art: Every time you cut the base of the willow, you get twice as many sticks that grow back. (Which was good to hear, given that my daughter was worried that nature was being sacrified for art. It wasn’t.)
  •  

  • On how long it takes: Dougherty stays for about three weeks in each locale, which, he joked, is about the maximum amount of time before his hosts get sick of him.
  •  

  • On climbing the pieces: Please don’t. Even though the structures are solid due to the layers and layers of sticks, as well as the stick foundations that gird them, climbing tends to destroy the surface over time. However, people (drunk adults, especially!) love to climb the sculptures.
  • On whether the students liked it: They loved it, although they felt at times constrained by doing things the way Dougherty wanted. In order to give the kids some freedom, there were three experimental installations where the students could do whatever they wanted.


 
 
 
 

patrick dougherty land art 4   experimentation with patrick dougherty

Long view of the installation (left), and looking out from inside an experimental
sculpture, October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





Brown meets Green

After the talk we were invited to go outside to see the installation and walk around and inside of it. The piece is made up of three two-sided heads, like masks with eyes and noses, which, according to Dougherty, are a combination kachina and Green Man, who often can be seen adorning ancient cathedrals.

The masks were much larger than I had expected. I’d seen them just a few days before during an admissions open house at the school, but my viewing was brief plus I was distracted by the other goings-on. In my mind’s eye, the sculptures were about twice as large as a person. Wrong! They are many times taller than the average person, as you can see by the photo below, which shows someone standing in the doorway/mouth of one of the masks.

The best part of the event was watching people of all ages marvel at the creations. Inside, outside, peeking around corners. A father dressed in a suit and tie (he must have come straight from work) played a sort of hide-and-seek tag with his two daughters, running in and out of each structure. I walked slowly into the giant heads, looking at elegant lines of the willows and taking in the most wondrous fragrance of sage and willow. One woman turned to me and exclaimed, “If only we could bottle that smell!”

The sun was sinking as the visitors scattered. I went over to the experimental installations. The sticks were not nearly as tightly layered as in the giant masks, but they had shape and structure. What an opportunity to learn with a master. Art in the Schools like it’s never been done before.




patrick dougherty masks (three)







More information on Patrick Dougherty


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sony ♥ grass (four)
sony ♥ grass (four), Sony frolicking in the pasture on apple-picking day two weekends ago, October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Summer ended with a splash Tuesday afternoon in this part of the Rio Grande Valley. A clap of thunder, and then boom, pouring down rain. For 24 hours the clouds socked us in. We went from thin sock (or no sock) season to thick socks, and for a day we yearned for the amber glow of a fire in the fireplace.

Of course, summer officially ended a month ago, but just this weekend we sat in bleachers with the bright sun on our faces. I have a tan from three hours watching a tennis tournament, and for the past week I’ve worn short sleeves and sweated through 80-degree afternoons.

Yesterday I felt moody, an emotional achiness. I wanted to drink hot tea all day and curl up on a couch with a good book or a movie, a stew bubbling on the stove. It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago we were frolicking in what we thought was fall, not knowing all along they were the dogs days of summer.




sony ♥ grass (one) sony ♥ grass (three) sony ♥ grass (two)






By evening the rain had thinned to the point where I only need the intermittent wipers on the windshield. The sun tried burning through the clouds. Last night the temperature dipped to the high 30s. This morning is cold.

Time to bring in the geraniums.

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Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved

Bat photos provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande
Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved.

 
 
 
There is a cycle in our community that has to do with the seasons at dusk. It begins when our Rio Grande Valley evenings start to warm in spring, pulling us out onto the patio. We look into the purple-orange sky and notice a black flicker here, another there, appearing in herky-jerky fashion. By fall, the air becomes dewy and cool at sunset, and the dancing black flashes are few until finally, they’re gone. This is the coming and going of bats.

Yes, bats. Mice with wings. Strange little critters that frighten some but delight many, including us. They live—or, perhaps the proper term is hang out—on our (ybonesy’s) property in two bat houses that sit on long poles out on the grounds, a sort of summer residence for bats.

Maybe it’s the season, or perhaps fueled by a desire to not take our bat companions for granted, we decided to learn more about these amazing flying mammals. We sent our questions to bat guru Michelle McCaulley, director of the bat program that set up our bat houses and many more like them. Michelle shed light on these nocturnal creatures.
 
 
 
 
 

Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved

 



Fifteen Questions with Michelle McCaulley



Q. You have a pretty unconventional job; can you describe your role as it pertains to bats in the community?

A. I see myself as a biologist—that is actually what my degree is in—and an educator and conservationist, not only when it comes to bats in my community but other animals as well.


Q. How did you get involved in this program?

A. My father, Jim McCaulley, had started the Corrales Bat Habitat Program, installing 30 houses with a small grant from US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Partners Program in 2002. When he passed away in 2005, I was thrilled and honored to continue with this mission. It was also a chance to do what I love, which is to study animals—in this case, bats.


Q. How long has the program been in existence, and how has it been received in the community?

A. The Corrales Bat Habitat Program began in 2002 with 30 houses. In 2006, the name was changed to Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, and it became a non-profit 501 (3)(c) tax-exempt organization. To date there are over 60 sponsored bat houses, primarily in the Village of Corrales but also around the rest of New Mexico. The Village of Corrales passed a resolution about eight years ago in support of the program. Residents have been enthusiastic and very supportive ever since. I usually have a waiting list of willing sponsors who would like to enroll in the Rio Grande Basin Bat Habitat Expansion Program.




Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved






Q. Bats are extremely beneficial, which is, I assume, large part of why this program exists. Can you expand on the benefits of bats in a community?

A. Not only do bats consume half of their body weight a night eating insects, they are primary pollinators of some plants. If you like tequila, thank a bat. Bats pollinate the agave from which tequila is derived. Bats are also a good biological indicator for healthy communities. Spraying of insecticides and pesticides is very harmful to bats because the chemicals are stored in a bat’s fat reserves, which could affect how well that bat survives the winter to live another year. The bats that live in NM are insectivorous bats meaning they only eat insects.


Q. We understand that bat season is winding down. What exactly do bats do as the weather gets cooler?

A. There is not a lot known about exactly when and where bats go for winter. We know migrating birds follow the same route each winter and back each summer, but this is not clear for bats. Many species of bats take up winter residence in caves, some in trees and rock crevices. For our bats in Corrales, they could be wintering as close as the Sandia Mountains. They hibernate like many other mammal species, and the weight they have gained in the summer sustains them through the winter. If disturbed during hibernation, bats use more energy and may not have enough reserves to make it through this time. In the end the disturbance could cost the bat its life.


Q. What is the general state of bats in the area? Are they thriving?

A. It is difficult to tell just by the data I have collected from bats using our artificial bat habitat. There would be other ongoing factors to consider, as well more information about bat behavior in our area. I have not compiled the information gathered from this year, but in the past three years, the use of the houses has increased from ~50% to 74% by 2008. The increase could indicate a temperature preference for the artificial habitat or a loss of preferred nature habitat, for example.


Q. We understand there are some pretty major threats to bats in other parts of the world, and that large populations of bats are dying out as a result. Is there a risk that New Mexico bats will be affected?

A. In the past, the pet trade, loss of habitat, and indiscriminate killing of bats have all been threats. However, an even larger threat to cave bats has emerged, especially in the Northeast. Bats are dying from White Nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS was named such because of the white fungus around the noses of bats found emaciated, flying (not hibernating) and dying during winter months. The fungus was also on their wings and other body parts. It is unclear how the fungus is affecting the bats or whether it is the cause of the deaths or a symptom of some larger ailment. At this time WNS has not been documented in NM.




Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved






Q. As we head toward Halloween, we’re reminded about the way bats are always associated with this holiday. Is that a plus or minus, in your opinion?

A. I think it’s a plus. The Halloween season is an opportune time to educate people about bats and help dispel some the myths in the process.


Q. What time of year will we see the bats active again?

A. They will return sometime in May. They typically follow the hummingbirds, so when you have a hummer you mostly likely will see bats.


Q. Tell us a little bit about the mating and communal habits of bats?

A. Typically bats mate in the fall but delay ovulation and fertilization. The egg does not release from the female’s ovary to unite with the sperm for fertilization until the following spring. Both sexes congregate for hibernation. In the spring most females bear and raise the young together until the young are furred and ready to fly. Females usually bear one offspring.


Q. Can you talk about bats and disease? I think there’s a fear that bats carry disease, such as Rabies, and that bats can be dangerous. Do bats carry many diseases or is this a myth?

A. Bats, like any other mammal can contract rabies from another infected animal. Only ½ of one percent of bats contract rabies. The best protection from being bitten by any wild animal is to not handle the animal and call a professional for help. Always vaccinate your pets as well. Bats are good combatants again West Nile Virus (WNV) as some of their diet is made up of mosquitoes when this prey is available. Bats will not become infected by WNV by eating an infected mosquito but may be if bitten by a mosquito. Bats are considered a dead end host for WNV because the infected bat will not transmit the disease to humans or any other animal. I am a certified bat rehabilitator in NM, by the way, and so I can be called in when bats are found sick and/or hurt.




Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved






Q. Are there similar bat programs in other communities that you know of?

A. To the best of my knowledge, the Rio Grande Basin Bat Project is not only the largest community bat project; according to Bat Conservation International (BCI) we are the only program of our kind. The complied data from each bat year is submitted to BCI and to the USFWS Partners Program. Corrales should be very proud, this is a great honor and a testament to village motto for being animal friendly.


Q. Any resources you’d like to highlight for anyone interested in more information on bats?

A. Yes, please visit my website for more information about bats, bat houses, and our mission. We also offer several gifts that are sure to please the bat lover in your life!

In addition, I work with and am Secretary for Bat World Sanctuary, located in Mineral Wells, Texas. They are largest bat sanctuary, as well as a teaching facility for rehabilitators of insectivorous bats. They care for hundreds of insectivorous and fruit bats rescued each year from inhumane conditions or sometimes from the pet trade.


Q. What is your favorite bat fact or bat story that you can share with our readers?

A. I can’t pick a favorite because everything about bats is remarkable to me. After you get to know a bat, you’ll see that they, too, have their own personalities and are very kind creatures.


Q. Anything else you’d like to share about bats?

A. This is only a tidbit of bat information. I encourage everyone to learn more, not only bats, but all of the other wonderful animals that share your community, state, and planet. Each one is incredible in its own way, worth appreciating and certainly worth protecting. If everyone would play a small part, even in their own community, our planet would certainly be a better place.





Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved







Michelle McCaulley runs the Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, which was created by her late father, Jim McCaulley. Michelle planted the idea for the project when, as she recounts on her website, In 1999, I built my parents a nursery style bat house. They installed the house beside the 1/4 acre pond on their property. Their house was occupied the very first spring with over 150 insect munching bats. The house is a successful nursery. The prosperity of this house sparked an unusual idea.

So in January of 2001, my father Jim McCaulley, drafted a preliminary plan for a pilot project to build about 30 bat houses to be installed within the Village of Corrales. The goal was to provide an natural alternative to insect control rather than spraying insecticides, while also providing additional habitat. The plan was reviewed, approved and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) under the auspices of the Partners for Wildlife program.

Michelle continues the program today, a bat evangelist spreading the truth about the benefits of bats and other wildlife. Thank you, Michelle, for your dedication, energy, and passion to and for these wonderful creatures. We love them!

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