Julie St. John

Julie pictureHow fortunate I am to live in the Sonoran Desert! To have this amazing backdrop of mountains, plants and wildlife always so accessible to me — whether I’m looking out the window (I can see the Catalinas from my home office), driving through town (oh how the perspective changes when you venture out of your normal routes!), or best of all, feeling the sloshy 2-liter thud as my pack swings onto my back and I start walking into my homescape.

It was love at first sight for me and the Sonoran Desert. After a couple of years, I discovered and began working in Tucson’s environmental community, diving headfirst into national and international issues. But something kept tugging at me and I finally realized it was that I wanted to give back to the sense of place and community that evolves in your life when you’re where you belong. Your homescape.

I’d belonged to a homescape before — the woods and creek of my childhood home in Ohio were (and still are!) pretty much untouched. And I think that’s what allowed me to recognize almost instantly just how special, how timeless, the Sonoran Desert is. That the creosotes outside of my house on Water Street were probably clones of clones of clones from hundreds of years before; that the former wash outside my midtown front yard had already been paying direct tributes to the Rillito for thousands of years when my house was built in 1948. These moments of awareness allow my imagination to step outside of my day-to-day reality and take a much-needed deep breath.

Ahhhhh. Mountains. Saguaros. Hawks. Javelinas. Bobcats. Snakes. Even the danged wait-a-minute bushes and shindaggers. Ahhhh. They are my neighbors, my fellow beings, they are the true, natural-born choir of the Church of Mesquitey and I feel hallelujahs rise in my heart every time I breathe it all in.

It’s not just the plants and critters that need the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection to be the catalyst behind open space preservation, habitat conservation planning, and wildlife linkages… WE ALL DO.

It’s not just the tree huggers and the greens who need the Coalition to gather and motivate our political leaders for state trust land reform and water resources policy planning… WE ALL DO.

It’s not just the air we breathe and the water we drink (plus the myriad of biological processes we are not even aware of that we need to survive) which need the Coalition to give voice to the real consequences from the proposed Rosemont Mine and other short-sighted get-rich-quick schemes… WE ALL DO.

And it’s not just me and the rest of the choir who need to give monthly support to help the Coalition protect our homescape… WE ALL DO. The Coalition’s work is essential and effective and its staff is tirelessly (and inspiringly) can-do. The steady stream of individuals’ funding for its day-to-day work allows the Coalition the flexibility to move forward strategically when opportunities present themselves. I have seen so many changes in my almost quarter of a century here, and I cannot tell you how relieved I am to know that the Coalition is here to make sure the Sonoran Desert has a voice. You all have my eternal thanks and support for all you do.

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