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Serra Hoagland- Owls of Mescalero

Messengers: The Owls of Mescalero

Harbingers of Change: Owls of Mescalero For the Mescalero Apache, the owl is a messen-ger. Often misconstrued as a bad omen, the owls provide a warning that it’s time to pay attention, and that “when the world is changing, we need to listen.” For FFS Wild-life Biologist and Tribal Liaison Serra Hoagland, that warning is a timely one. She’s studying the Mexican Spotted Owl population on the Mescalero Apache reser-vation in New Mexico, a land steeped in cultural signifi-cance and whose tribal forest manage-ment team uses alternative methods to protect their forests from catastrophic wildfire - the biggest threat to the owl and to the environment in the Southwest from a changing cli-mate. Serra sees the owls as harbingers for these changes and an indicator species for forest health.

Serra’s work is highlighted in the new short film, “Messengers: Owls of Mescalero.” In it, filmmaker Janey Fugate explores the role Native American conser-vationists play in protecting wilderness, and how com-bining traditional ecological knowledge with Western science can address one of the most critical challenges facing the world of wildlife management.

In addition to exploring the role of traditional knowledge in forest management, Serra hopes the film inspires another generation of Native American youth to pursue careers in conservation, “so we can continue to protect the resources that sustained our Native communi-ties for generations.”

Photo: Serra Hoagland
Modified: Aug 28, 2019