"So T Bought a Hat..."
One of my favorite quotes in reporting on this series came from Lucinda Cole. She and her husband, AT, are the owners of the ranch near Silver City where Randy Jennings took me looking for Chiracahua Leopard frogs.
When the Coles retired to this ranch, it was with the intention of restoring native habitat that could support endangered species like the Leopard frog and Gila topminnow. But they did not enter the scene naively:
"We didn't want to move in and be environmentalists...we had bumper stickers all over our Subaru when we first came here and we took those all off, and we just want to get along. And so (AT) bought a hat..."
Meaning, a cowboy hat (you can see him sporting it here). And now, she says, "I think our neighbors all know (that we're environmentalists). But by the time we settled in after nine years, they like us now...so no matter what we do here I think we're ok."
That's saying something in an area where it's not uncommon to see trucks with bumper stickers declaring "save a rancher, kill a wolf." While the Coles are purposely choosing not to tread into the hot coals of the wolf issue (sticking, instead, with birds, fish and amphibians), I love the idea that the recovery of endangered plants and animals could just be a matter of a few people buying hats and being nice to their neighbors.