Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones is the author of BROKEN: A Love Story, the true tale of her friendship with quadriplegic Northern Arapaho horse gentler and traditional healer Stanford Addison.

Preaching the gospel of ecotourism

Costas Christ has a knack for handling sticky situations. I got a glimpse of this as I was making my way home from an ecotourism conference in Senegal in the early 1990s. Along with a number of other conference participants, I was stuck in the airport in the capital city of Dakar. For some unknown reason, the ticket agents had stalled us, so we were doing what American ecotourists often do when the Third World reveals itself as more than rainforests and beaches — we were freaking out. What kind of government did Senegal have, anyway? Were there jails under …

A writer and farmer tells it like it is

O, environmental writers. The religious scribes of our day. I love them but I fear them too, because of the way self-righteousness can rear up like some suddenly animated pond scum in a Stephen King movie and cover the picnic, the teenagers, everything that was ever fun and alive and moving around. Wait, it’s not that bad. It’s just that I find my environmental angst a lot easier to take when it’s served up with a dose of humor. There’s no cloning this Gene. Photo: Lisa Jones. So when I had an opportunity recently, during a cross-country drive, to stop …

A gardening guru gives new meaning to a golfing green

In a world beset with environmental and economic horrors, a golf course is a disturbing sight. Okay, it’s not as disturbing as an oil slick on Prince William Sound, or the Cuyahoga River bursting into flames, or the coral reefs off Sri Lanka bleaching and dying. Evil green monster (a traditional golf course). But the proliferation of golf courses is symptomatic of the suburbanization of once-rural places, which is disturbing in its own creepy way. Golf courses replace habitat or farmland with sterile, carpet-smooth fairways. They cloister off yet more land for the wealthy. Instead of supporting plants or animals, …

An Iowan causes growing pains for agro-industry

Kamyar Enshayan is a folk music aficionado and a lifelong soccer fan. He lives in a comfortable house on a shady street in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with his four-year-old daughter, Nettie, and his wife, Laura Jackson, a biology professor at the University of Northern Iowa. They have a large vegetable garden. Laura is expecting their second child in December. Enshayan takes a break from causing trouble. Their existence appears somewhat Rockwellian. But it’s a post-feminist, post-Earth Day kind of Rockwellian, what with Jackson researching the impacts of the huge hog farms currently proliferating in Iowa, and with Enshayan’s, er, history. …

This scientist is making quite a buzz

The San Rafael Desert — 500 square miles of rolling gravel broken by an occasional butte or sandstone formation — certainly isn’t the prettiest place in eastern Utah. Dotted with cattle and exploratory oil rigs, it is a living example of the federal government’s policy of multiple use on public lands. For just about anybody driving along its western edge, the desert is an unremarkable preamble to the celebrated, rose-colored canyons of the neighboring San Rafael Swell. Frank Parker, busy as a bee. Photo: Olivia Messinger, USDA Bee Lab, Utah State University, Logan. But entomologist Frank Parker isn’t just anybody. …

Brandi Chastain ain't got nothing on these ladies

Virginia Sutherland sits in her orderly ranch kitchen in Moffat, Colo. She’s drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, and fiddling with a box of recipe cards. But we are not about to discuss the finer points of angel food cake — the recipe cards describe each of her 250 cows that she runs with her daughter, Lynn. “They describe everything,” says Virginia, drawing hard on her cigarette. “If one of them had a calf and went off and left it four times in a row. Oh, here’s one! Gelvie cross — that’s a breed. Lunatic!” She laughs and …

A chiropractor builds a house, but does no harm

I called my friend Nancy Carter the other day to complain about some new complications in my personal/professional/spiritual life. Nancy, as usual, laughed in soft, dry tones and said something I didn’t really understand. Her words lay dormant in my brain until after lunch, when they unfurled as explicitly as a banner outside a Fourth of July sale. She said, “That’s a very interesting crisis. That’s a really good one. Very imaginative. Ha!” I love calling Nancy — the Zen koans she typically doles out beat advice any day of the week. I also love that it’s possible to call …

New Mexican gives new definition to ranch home

Ask any rancher — these days, desperation is a lot more plentiful than grass on the western range. Beset by a lousy beef market and increasing costs, it is virtually impossible to make a cattle ranch pay. Jim Winder in ranch dressing. Jim Winder knows this very well. So this fourth-generation New Mexico rancher has branched out into bird-watching, building homes with low-impact materials like straw bales, and restoring wetlands. These pursuits pay. They pay so well that Winder’s operation is expanding while many ranchers are barely hanging on. He divides his 900 head of cattle between two ranches, and …

Canyonland crusader plays Mother Goose

Skip Edwards is in his yard in rural Crawford, Colo., doing one of his favorite things: crawling behind Chaco, the goose he lives with. This is pretty much his job these days. She waddles. He crawls. He wants to learn her habits from the ground up. Skip and Chaco — or is it Chaco and Skip? When Edwards, a lifelong outdoorsman and recently celebrated environmental activist, drives off from the house, Chaco flies next to his red truck, sometimes with complicated consequences. When Skip and his partner Doreen Dethmers go rafting or kayaking, Chaco comes too, bobbing along in the …

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