“Daddy!” Dewa shrieked as i appeared at the threshold of her Kindergarten Classroom, holding my Hall Permit from the staunch Check In personnel at Needham Elementary School,  to pick my daughter up early in order to  assist the 5-generation Durangoan Zink Family in their Mission to restore 50 acres of Animas River Valley to their vital and historic, wetland condition.

We were going to spend our afternoon together planting trees in wetlands.  As i felt my daughter thump into my outstretched arms in front of her entire class and Teachers,  a rush of low self-esteem swept over me…never in my life,  let alone at age 5,  has ilg ever been capable or willing to display such an outwardly embrace of Love.   During our hug, i saw her classmates,  each of them smiling at our embrace.  “Okay…this mOMent alone is enough,” i felt to myself…yet, it was merely the beginning to another miraculously sacred ‘Daddy & Dewa Day Time’…c’mon…a lot of Dharma to follow!

Once again,  Dewachen’s smile says it all…how Go(o)d must it feel to a 5 year-old cellular body to be strongly embraced by your Daddy as you bounce along (“Daddy!  No Seat Belts!!!!”)    on a trailer through wetlands on an eco-adventure to help Mother Earth?    i never felt it…which is why i  and Ananda sacrifice so much to provide a wholistic, conscious upbringing for our Daughter.

“Our goal,” says Patti Zink (Dewachen knows Patti as, ‘Aunti Patti’… both Patti and Ed are an incredible legacy of Durango, “is to create wetlands where bird life, mammals, native fish, and wetland plants can thrive. Our motivation as landowners is to restore wildlife habitat, provide wetland mitigation, improve downstream water quality and to have a beautiful piece of land in the north Animas Valley preserved in a conservation easement as a gift to our family and future generations.   In 1958, when 60 horse power tractors became affordable, the wetlands were converted to hay fields. The intent of the project is to restore the land to its’ historic condition.”

Not only are Ed and Patti the founders of the IRON HORSE BICYCLE CLASSIC each Memorial Day Weekend,  through their endless capacities of energy and investment in local community causes,  they have made the IHBC one of OUTSIDE Magazine’s Top Ten Bucket List of Events You MUST Do.    They contribute unimaginable amounts of personal time, energy, and money (often given ‘anonymously’)  to local environmental and social causes.   Ilg is honored to say that both Patti and Ed are students of the High Performance Yoga® and Wholistic Fitness® Path.  Ilg is honored to speak and present each fall to the inevitable rush of local riders eager to learn how to cycle faster to Silverton each Memorial Day during Ed and Patti’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Training Program here in Durango.  The race itself,  which back in my own early years was nothing more than a local bike race, now sells out internationally within hours of opening for registration on the internet, months before the actual race.

Riding behind the Legend himself…Ed Zink.  getting bounced around on a trailer to go plant wetland trees behind Rancher and Community Leader Ed Zink is PRECISELY why ilg did what it took (including selling my Kawasaki Z100) to get my family back to my chi-ldhood haven of Durango.

When water enters a wetland, much of the suspended sediments drops out and settles to the wetlands floor. A wetland’s natural filtration process can remove excess nutrients before water leaves a wetlands, making it healthier for drinking and supporting plants.  Wetlands are nurseries for native species.  All life in wetlands are interdependent.
In Colorado, wetland impacts are governed by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Animas River Wetlands, LLC will be provide a welcome solution for developers, highway departments and others who received permits to impact wetlands in other locations. The US Government requires anyone who disturbs a wetlands to replace it in the same watershed.

Ed, crankin’ up a generator to divert some Animas River Water to water nearly 2,000 new trees (come on!  you can help ilg plant more Tree Beings over the next month or two!).

“C’m here, Dewa,” Ed says to Dewa as he squats down to her level among the mucky riverbank of one of America’s few remaining wild rivers; the Sacred Animas River…“See those big Cottonwoods across the bank?”

“Yes,” Dewa timidly replies…

“Well,  the trees you and me and your Daddy are planting today,  are one day gonna be as big as those…and they help stabilize the river bank, reduce sediment into the Animas, and provide homes for birds, moose, elk, and deer.  What do you think about that?”

Dewa shifts in her stance…straining a bit to get back into my arms,  “Good,” she says.

Taking this pic killed ilg…you see, the last shot i took of my Father was of her and him planting a Yarrow (my birth plant) in New Mexico.  So,  when Dewa and Ed both squatted down close to Mother Earth to plant a Tree Being together…lemme tell you…it was a mOMent for ilg…aged hands nestled a barely sprouted Tree Being into a mucky hole alongside my daughter’s tiny hands?  you kiddin’ me?!?!   ooooph.  Such is the Stuff that makes New Daddy’s cry…to my Dead Dad “Puggy”;   you first son loves you sooo much.  i still dream about you…thank you for Being Who You Chose To Be For Me…Ayóó ánííníshí

When water enters a wetland, much of the suspended sediments drops out and settles to the wetlands floor. A wetland’s natural filtration process can remove excess nutrients before water leaves a wetlands, making it healthier for drinking and supporting plants.  Most natural wetlands have been converted into fancy home communities and golf courses.

Dewa…prepares to tie a yellow ribbon onto one of the ten Tree Beings we planted today.   the ribbons help Ed know precisely where to water and care.   Behind Dewa is “Black Lightning”  one of her ‘horses.’   She HAD to bring her to our Tree Planting on the Zink Ranch, because, “Well, Daddy…ranches are what horses LOVE most of all!”

feeble teacher ilg does not know when the last time was when you planted 10 Tree Beings into the womb of our ever-giving Mother Earth with your chi-ld…or yourself…yet, what ilg does Know beyond a Buddha’s shadow of a Doubt?   if it’s been a while since you have?

do so.


or;  contribute to Ed and Patti’s Wetland cause for the Karmic Merit.  the ilg clan will be heading out onto those treasured, mucky meadows again and again this spring to give back to Mother Earth please help the Zink’s Noble Cause if you are able:


head bowed,
spirit vowed,

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8 Responses to “(all access) Helping to Save the High Wetlands…one Tree Being at a Time…”

  1. Leferisen John says:

    awes(om)e day spent

  2. Joy Kilpatrick says:

    Type your comment here…

  3. coach says:

    Warrior Leaf!

    How Blessed Are We All to live on/within a plane(t) where there ARE still high wetlands to help save!?!?

  4. coach says:

    looks like this piece left Ananda typeless! 😉

  5. Leslie Hutchinson says:

    Hello EC,
    Thank you, so very much,for this post. It is difficult for many to take the long view. Taking the time to plant young trees in the short view is meaningful and necessary if we are to have an ecosystem that is robust and responsive to what lies ahead. Thank you, for taking the time to look ahead. LH

  6. padma says:

    lOve the photos :)
    Dewa is too precious for words with her focus and intensity.
    and She is Blessed to have a Daddy take her on such special trips!

  7. coach says:

    Most Precious LH!
    feeble ilg bows…still ilg TAF’s about all the sh*t going down on Ma these Kali Yuga days and it is soooooo easy to give into the predictable, oh-WTF attitude of so many (sadly parents). then, corny as it sounds? ilg defaults to that dharma story of a little girl walking along the seashore among a veritable legion of Starfishes (now re-termed; Sea Stars) that had washed up on the shore and now dying in the sun/wind. the little chi-ld kept stopping to toss a Starfish Being back into the ocean. after a while, the mother said, “Oh sweetheart, why do you keep doing that? It can’t possibly make a difference!”

    “Well,” her daughter replied the mOMent before tossing another Starfish into the surf, “It makes a difference to this one!”

    Blessed Be All Beings -regardless of form this time around,

  8. coach says:

    Precious Pahd!
    thank you…
    your Metta and inCourage-ment helps feeble ilg keep making the hard “lose more money now yet be Here Now for Dewa” decisions that cascade through my daily life choices…

    may all parents be Conscious of the need for them to simply, Be There, baby!

    Om Ami Dewa HRI!!!


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