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Meet Alice and Jason

Many of the safe homes for wildlife that you help protect are monitored through the year by the Trust’s dedicated volunteers. These caring individuals give generously of their time and energy to help keep wildlife safe, and, each year, we celebrate their crucial role in our shared mission.

For 2016, we are honoring the monitoring team of Alice Henderson and Jason Patnode as our Christy Caswell Volunteers of the Year. Congratulations, Alice and Jason, and we thank you. Once again, your extensive field research and documenting of wildlife on Trust sanctuaries in 2016 are extraordinary contributions to both wildlife and the Trust.

After visiting the Thelma Doelger Wildlife Preserve and Sanctuary in California to record and identify the calls of bats and owls, Alice and Jason embarked on a two-month road trip at the beginning of July. Using special equipment, they recorded ultrasonic calls of bats and audible calls of birds, amphibians, coyotes and other wildlife at each of the other sanctuaries they visited, and at a prospective sanctuary in Tennessee. Enjoy a few of their photos from the field, along with Alice’s notes of memorable moments. These are but a few of the forever homes for wildlife your dedication to the Trust makes possible.

NEW MEXICO Allranch Wildlife Sanctuary

New Mexico is certainly The Land of Enchantment. We were treated to some stunningly fiery sunsets with great, towering thunderheads above. Insects sang in the warm desert night, and we saw scurrying horned lizards, bats and many birds, including a loggerhead shrike. As we recorded bats in the evening, the wind brought with it the fresh scent of creosote bushes, and the stars spanned the dark sky in a glorious arc of glittering lights. I was thrilled to record my dream bat here—the greater bonneted bat. With a two-foot wingspan, this bat enjoys roosting in cliffs and has an echolocation call that’s audible to humans.

                                                                                               Photo by: Jason Patnode, Allranch Wildlife Sanctuary

MONTANA Demetriades Wildlife Sanctuary

At the Demetriades Wildlife Sanctuary, pronghorns browsed in the sagebrush beneath some of the most stunning sunsets we’d ever seen. Carrying a telephoto lens, Jason crawled on his belly through a field for a quarter of a mile to get photos of a sandhill crane family. We also saw eagles, trumpeter swans, badgers and moose, and conducted a bat survey. We did Bortle dark sky tests here and at each of the sanctuaries and found some truly valuable and preserved darkness. Dark skies are another benefit of protecting habitat, as they’re vital to migratory birds who use the stars to navigate.

                                                                                         Photo by: Jason Patnode, Demetriades Wildlife Sanctuary

TEXAS Daisy Wildlife Sanctuary

We saw an incredible variety of dragonflies, armadillos, wild boars and many migratory birds, including the scissor-tailed flycatcher in Texas. While taking photos of the Milky Way, a snuffling sound drew our attention to the ground. Two armadillos meandered by, digging and eating. They returned every night. Our underwater camera picked up charming footage of a smiling red-eared slider who explored the lens. And each time we headed out to the vernal pools to check on our remote cameras and recorders, we happened across the same cottonmouth snake, cooling himself in a little mud wallow he’d staked out as his own.