Welcome to our Home
in the American Southwest!

One of the most amazing landscapes that captures your imagination;
Where humans, animals, plants and all other elements of nature
function together to create a successful, sustainable reality.

The Southwest is extraordinary because of its diverse open landscapes and the remarkable people whose strength and motivation create successful communities. This can be especially challenging because of the arid and semi-arid environments. Yet, if you truly observe all that is around you, a wonderful display of the remarkable interactions between man and the natural environment can be seen.

In Arizona we have over 6.5 million men, women, and children enjoying the resources our state has to offer. The man-made resources designed to benefit those people include over 150,000 water wells and 580 dams (small to moderate in size) that capture our rainwater or snowmelt and hold it for multiple uses. Residents use water for agricultural uses, recreation, to control prescribed fire, or for private, industrial or municipal use.

Many of the rivers and streams that are dammed create aquatic open space for recreationists and wildlife. Without these developed water sources, most who enjoy living in Arizona could not reside here.

Additionally, management of several million acres of undeveloped government managed lands continues to support complimentary multiple uses, as evidenced in federal lands use records combined with state and federal animal and plant population indices. Public land activities and wildlife can be observed on a single-day drive through Arizona. Management of grazing lands, mining, farming, logging, and restoration activities, are a few examples of man ‘fine-tuning’ the natural environment for the betterment of society on public as well as private lands. A look in your own backyard will likely hold evidence of man’s activities and nature’s creatures in a sustaining relationship.
Through this complimentary connection, humans have experienced beneficial interactions with the natural environment and the elements of nature for 1,000’s of years. There are many examples of the natural environment improving after human intervention. Conversely, consumption by humans and animals, and catastrophic natural events has caused loss of some resources. However, land management practices have improved over time and are designed to ensure extractive opportunities such as agriculture, mining and water use, if managed wisely.

We must remember that animals, plants, insects, and even microbes are also skillful manipulating organisms. There are also abiotic or non-living components in the environment that have an immeasurable influence on environmental change. For example, light; air; climate (tornados, hurricanes, blizzards); drought; radiation; temperature; water (flooding); pressure; sound waves; soil evolution; atmospheric gases and pollution such as that from volcanoes; sunlight; solar flares; wind patterns; and wildfire all contribute to natural environment change.

As always, the determination of natural environment change is relative to the time frame you are studying. Additionally, we must not forget all other variable factors in the natural environment equation that exhibit resilience and persistence.

At times, it seems we must defend nature; her ability to function and produce. Certainly, there are natural events which cause severe devastation to the landscape such as hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and floods. Human activities also have the potential to cause and have caused devastation. Again, the resulting condition is relative to time, natural cycles, and our learned reactions. We see that nature continues to serve all living things in many altered forms, but to what extent and determined by whom?

We depend upon the natural environment for survival; therefore, we must work to keep it healthy and productive. For humans, the family or community unit has demonstrated they are integral to the establishment of an environment with the capacity to ensure survival, through hands-on manipulation and adaptation to changing ecosystems.

The family and community group have carried humans through many hardships, and played a significant role in the inspiration, motivation and ingenuity of many young men and women to seek ways to improve living conditions and our interactions with the natural environment. Inspired by my family, an interest of mine has been to encourage the cooperative spirit of people and to challenge their understanding of nature to encourage further investigation; which is driven by their ingenuity, sense of responsibility, and the primary need to survive. With that comes a passion to understand human history and the natural environment … our habitat, which has sustained us. This has created many challenging pathways to explore.

Those pathways include examining the interactions of organisms; the interrelationships of biological, physical, or chemical factors; biological adaptations; renewable and nonrenewable resources.

As humans experience it, these elements of the natural environment are all interconnected in some way, whether naturally or artificially. As we have learned to expect, disagreements arise concerning the value or necessity of the connections.

Subsequently, man studies and documents his understanding of past, present, and future natural environments. The information available to us from all sources can be nearly limitless. Yet in recent times addressing environmental issues, the words ‘preservation’ and ‘protection’ often overrule logic based in evaluation of nature’s complex systems and compromise that works towards reasonable adaptation or alternatives that benefit all involved – including nature. Many preservationists focus is to let nature do what it will, a hands off, no human intervention situation. Consider the many floods in recent years that changed people’s lives, property, as well as surrounding landscapes. Most would want to clean up the devastation left behind to rebuild their lives, homes, and communities. Additionally, restoration often occurs by replanting lost native plants or other ground stabilizing cover.

Our data, manuscripts and photo documentation are not intended to be an exhaustive treatise of those interconnected things in our natural environment. Rather, an effort to continually provide information that enlightens current knowledge through fieldnotes and perspectives.

Our goal is to provide several intellectual keys to stimulate thought which may have been otherwise stifled by prejudices, misinformation, muddled policy or inappropriate agendas. The objective is to create a path for an intellectual adventure, to map before the reader a route that is wide enough for others of differing thought to join on this path and along the way realize the similarities of each other’s point of view.

Looking forward to sharing the marvel’s of our home – Arizona
Carolyn. E. Eppler

Carolyn Eppler at home in Arizona

Natural Environment Society Southwest

Action Analysis Partners
PO Box 3464
Payson, Arizona 85541

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Serving the Southwest
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