Gardening With Don

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Plant fruit trees and nut trees in your yard for food. Plant fruit trees and nut trees instead of other trees. Imagine if all the trees in Albuquerque were fruit trees and nut trees. Lots of nutritious, fresh fruit and nuts, free! Trees for shade, oxygen and beauty are great! Trees for shade, oxygen, beauty and food are much better yet! Fresh, local, tree-ripened fruit tastes better and is more nutritious than store-bought fruit picked green and shipped hundreds or thousands of miles.

Save much money on groceries—plant apple, peach, fig, apricot, pear, nectarine and nut trees. Get healthier—eat local fresh fruit instead of doughnuts, fry bread, pie, cake, ice cream, soda pop and candy. Long-distance shipping causes global climate change, wars for oil, poisoned air and highways smothering fertile soil.

Grow a food garden in your yard. Imagine if all the yards in Albuquerque were food gardens—vegetables, edible wild greens, healing herbs. Get rid of the grass and lawn mowers. Get exercise, connect with the earth, enjoy nature, save much money on groceries—grow a food garden!

I enjoy growing wild spinach, alfalfa and puncture vine for food. I enjoy harvesting much fruit from our apricot trees and other local fruit trees. I use no poison pesticides on my garden and our trees. I sun-dried hundreds of apricots this summer for me to eat now and into the winter. I air-dried 13 large paper bags of wild spinach. Sun-drying and air-drying (below 105 degrees) are the best ways to preserve plant foods nutritionally and environmentally.

Wild Thing

In Jim Scarantino’s column, “Where the Wild Things Aren’t” [The Real Side, Oct. 25-31], Mr. Scarantino devotes the first few paragraphs to describing UNM Wolf Day on Oct. 17, a part of Wolf Awareness Week in mid-October. As president of UNM Wilderness Alliance, the conservation student group that was the lead organizer for the Oct. 17 event, I’d like to make some clarifications to the column’s statements on our event and on the wolf reintroduction issue.

Mr. Scarantino’s column strains to depict Wolf Awareness Week events as limited to the “liberal heart of the Albuquerque metropolis.” However, Mr. Scarantino neglects to mention that on Oct. 12, Gov. Richardson signed a proclamation designating Oct. 15-19 as “Wolf Awareness Week” for New Mexico. The designation coincides with the national Wolf Awareness Week, observed with events in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York and Wisconsin.

While the column repeats the baseless claims of a pervasive fear and hatred of wolves within the southern New Mexico reintroduction area, actual data reports the opposite. Independent polling studies conducted in 1988 and 1995 displays majority support for Mexican gray wolf recovery both statewide in New Mexico and in the counties affected by the federal reintroduction program. Despite this real data, Mr. Scarantino, an attorney, chooses instead to use unsubstantiated hearsay with glaring logical flaws. According to the column, a 14-year-old boy reported being backed against a tree by a wolf pack. Yet the boy was not harmed in any way? The column also maintains that horses have been killed by wolves in front yards. Who keeps a horse in their front yard?

Regarding Mr. Scarantino’s loaded statement that Wolf Awareness Week represented “easy money for the enviros,” I’d like to clarify that UNM Wilderness Alliance did not collect any donations or admission fees whatsoever during Wolf Awareness Week. Additionally, Defenders of Wildlife did not charge admission for its Oct. 16 event at the Lobo Theatre, the “film and lecture presentations on the ‘spirit’ of the wolf” as described by the column.

While Mr. Scarantino claims that wolf advocates “aren’t willing to take their efforts beyond Albuquerque’s city limits,” UNM Wilderness Alliance led an expedition in March composed of 11 UNM students and four others to the Gila National Forest. For five days, we camped in wolf territory and searched for the animals with no need for the houses, guns and pickups possessed by ranchers in the area. We’re in the midst of planning a repeat of the trip. Check our website ( for this and other wolf advocacy opportunities.

Finally, I would like to point out that the
Alibi printed this opinion piece under a banner reading “News.” While this is likely unintentional, it further highlights the complete lack of objectivity in Mr. Scarantino’s column.

Lobo Spirit

I am not one to rant and rave. I am not one to write scathing articles about things that offend me. But in the case of the wolf article in the Alibi [The Real Side, “Where the Wild Things Aren’t,” Oct. 25-31], I am willing to make an exception.

The ignorance displayed by the author would be enjoyed by such company as Nazis, KKK and other hate groups. We have a war on terror and we have a war on wolves. The hysterical outcry makes it sometimes hard to distinguish the difference.

Since days of old, wolves have been misrepresented, maligned, killed and otherwise misconstrued as to their place in the environment. I am not going to quote figures because those who have made up their minds won’t pay any attention anyway.

I can tell you I have worked with wolves for many years and our society would do well to learn a lesson from how wolves structure their packs. I have no romantic illusion about them. They are feral animals whose role in the ecosystem is as vital as those of the prey herds. Nothing spurs deer, elk, etc. to breed stronger species than the presence of wolves. Survival and all that.

Of course, I may be prejudiced. You see, I am a wolf.

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