Range Rover: Jarid Manos in Garden&Gun Magazine 2012

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					                                                       Saving the Wild South

                                         I S L A N D WAT C H E R                                                                                             ON THE PLAINS

                                   Walker Golder                                                                                                        Manos at the Esteban Park
                                                                                                                                                           restoration project
                                                                                                                                                               in Houston.
                                       WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                 rowing up in Wrightsville                                                                          licit career, became a physical
                                                 Beach, North Carolina,                                                                             therapist, and, in 1999, founded
                                                 Walker Golder could look                                                                           the Great Plains Restoration
                                                 across a narrow sound                                                                              Council to advocate for resto-
                                                 and see uninhabited Ma-                                                                            ration of the plains ecosystem,
                                                 sonboro Island sprawling                                                                           setting up operations on the
                            to the east. Nearby, a string of other pristine                                                                         east side of Fort Worth, Texas.
                            barrier islands held redfish and speckled                                                                                Today, the GPRC’s main office
                            trout, ducks and shorebirds, and empty,                                                                                 is in Houston, where Manos re-
                            seemingly endless beaches. “That was my                                                                                 cruits at-risk youth and adults
                            home, my playground, my entire world,” he                                                                               to work on prairie projects
                            says. “And it shaped my life completely.” It’s                                                                          such as the Esteban Park res-
                            a world the forty-nine-year-old biologist now                                                                           toration in South Acres, where
                            works tirelessly to save.                                                                                               his crews removed invasive
                               As deputy director of the National Audu-                                                                             Chinese tallow, poison ivy, and
                            bon Society’s North Carolina State Office,                                                                               thornbushes, built hiking trails
                            Golder oversees the North Carolina Coastal                                                                              and re-created wetlands, and
                            Islands sanctuary system—nineteen fragile                                                                               started an organic community
                            islands scattered along 180 miles of shore.                                                                             garden that they hope to grow
                            These slivers of sand are undeveloped and                                                                               into a full-tilt farm. The city
                            managed specifically to protect the aston-                                                                               projects are precursors to a
                            ishing array of breeding waterbirds that rely                                                                           20,000-acre saltwater prairie
                            on their imperiled sands, including oys-                                                                                restoration in the Trinity River
                            tercatchers, black-crowned night herons,                                                                                estuary through the GPRC’s
                            royal and Sandwich terns, and 40 percent                                                                                Restoration Not Incarceration
                            of North Carolina’s brown pelicans.                                      RANGE ROVER                       program, employing criminal offenders for
                               On any given day, Golder might be in a                                                                  nature-based work therapy.
                            classroom giving a talk on shorebirds, on                           Jarid Manos                              “So much of Texas was where the prairie
                            a barrier island collecting data on days-old                              HOUSTON, TEXAS                   met the sea,” Manos says. But prairies aren’t
                            chicks, or in corporate boardrooms making                                                                  the easiest sell, so he continually points out

                            a pitch for funding. But no matter where he                             wenty years ago, Jarid Manos       the role they play in ecological health. “[The
                            finds himself, he spreads the message that                               picked up the book that changed    prairie] is the original Garden of Eden,
                            the few remaining pristine barrier islands                              his life. Where the Buffalo Roam   where everything was lush and abundant,”
                            deserve a special kind of care and han-                                 chronicled two Rutgers Univer-     he says. “To me, it’s that place where God
                            dling. Empty dunes and beaches are as at-                   sity geographers, Frank and Deborah Pop-       and earth meet. Yet there’s so little left that
                            tractive to shell seekers and Frisbee-chasing               per, who proposed restoring a vast swath of    America averts its eyes from prairies and
                            dogs as they are to breeding birds at the end               American prairie, where buffalo could roam     treats them like something that’s dried up
                            of their arduous migrations. But for so many                once again. “It sort of opened my mind,”       and in the corner.” And while less than 1
                            bird species, there is simply no other place                Manos says. “It represented an idea that       percent of the prairie around Houston re-
                            left to go. “This is not a fight that pits birds             something that was so painful to accept        mains, Manos says bringing it back is do-
                            against people,” Golder says. “It’s about                   could actually be healed.” And it sparked      able, especially when people in need of a
  Golder on one of his      finding balance in a world that has changed                  Manos’s own transformation.                    good shot of Mother Earth get their boots
   many visits to the       dramatically.” —T. Edward Nickens                              A onetime drug dealer, he gave up his il-   on the ground.—Joe Nick Patoski
undeveloped Lea-Hutaff
 Island, off the coast of
    North Carolina.
                                        2. SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN BALD Capping high-elevation mountains in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia, these
                                        alpine grasslands attract vesper sparrows, broad-winged hawks, and happy hikers who ascend to the windswept crests for the best
                                        mountain views in the South. Where to see: Tennessee’s Roan Mountain State Park and Virginia’s Grayson Highlands State Park.

                            Left: photograph by JOSHUA PAUL; right: photograph by JODY HORTON                                                   April | May 2012 GARDENANDGUN.COM 85

Description: Founder of the Ecolgical Health Movement & Great Plains Restoration Council, environmental activist, green leader & published author of Ghetto Plainsman is featured in the latest addition of Garden & Gun Magazine.