The cameraman on this expedition stood before the two men with lassoes and said with total confidence that he could run past them. “Not a chance you’re catching me,” he declared. Moments later he was tied by hands and feet, two perfect snaps of the rope, and he was locked and spread out in the dust like a prize pig. If only our borders could be just as well contained. And we’re not talking about the arrival of unwanted humans, but invasive species, specifically plants and animals. For the first time this expedition the ambassadors were running in present day, along a river in the midst of an attack. The Russian Olive is growing in abundance, and outperforming the local plants, threatening them with eradication. It’s a common storyline around the world. Humans have found ways to transport themselves across the globe, and in doing so are redistributing other organisms, sometimes causing ecologic imbalances that potentially lead to extinctions. In a small effort to mitigate such an imbalance today the youth ambassadors planted a threatened native species of tree along the Escalante River. Tomorrow our run through time goes backwards again, to the early humans of this region. The ones with some of the strongest connections to the land. Perhaps those with lessons we should relearn.
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