One conservationist’s story

{child_byline}By Shar Porier

shar.porier@myheraldreview.com

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{child_source}Herald/Review Media{/child_source}

TUCSON — It was an eye–opener for former U.S. Army servicewoman Karla Terry as she surveyed the destruction of the desert habitat in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument recently as a member of the Sierra Club’s Military Outdoors Program.

“It was heartbreaking,” Terry said. “The beautiful landscapes which were used by the wildlife long before we got here are gone. It’s a total disregard for the land, water, nature and man. And, we really don’t know the long term impact of taking water from desert aquifers to make the concrete for the walls.”

It was not her first venture into the wilds. She also went to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where the Trump administration has taken aim at a stark wilderness to allow mining and drilling. She did not want to see the landscape disturbed.

She said the bulldozed area at Pipe Organ Cactus National Monument tore at the code of honor and allegiance she took as an Army recruit — to support and defend the Constitution of the U.S. against all enemies, foreign and domestic. To her, this was a domestic attack not just on the wildlife and their environment, but also to those who have served or who are serving in the military and their families. They are paying the price for the border wall in unsafe housing and instructional facilities, schools for the children, health care and more.

“I lived next to the border and I’ve seen how everything works there,” Terry said. “It’s been a natural corridor for wildlife far longer than we have been here. We, the members of the Military Outdoors Club, see this as an opportunity to help and continue to do good works for the common good.”

She served at Fort Campbell in Kentucky and gravely described the World War II buildings which would have undergone demolition or renovation as has been planned for a number of years. Now, those funds for the planned projects have been redirected to a “useless border wall.”

“I think people in positions of government who make the decisions only give lip service to caring about the vets and the returning troops from combat zones,” Terry noted. “This wall policy clearly overrides that. Taking money needed for the installations for the health and safety of the troops for the border wall.”

The funding that would have helped boost morale stationed across the country and overseas who have been waiting so long for the infusions to improve military life and provide support for their families is lost, unless the court decides differently.

She is proud to be a part of this innovative recreation opportunity for military members and their families to continue helping the country they swore to protect and defend.

The program is at the forefront of a national movement to ensure every veteran in America has an opportunity to get outdoors when they return home after service.

It seeks to improve the lives of veterans and their families through connections with the outdoors and inspire members of the military and veteran community to become outspoken champions for environmental conservation and justice.

{child_related_content}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}More Information{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}Sierra Club Military Outdoors Program{/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

SCMO is at the forefront of a national movement to ensure every veteran in America has an opportunity to get outdoors when they return home after service. For many veterans, meaningful connections to the outdoors are a gateway to a new mission and continued service to the lands they swore an oath to protect. SCMO is about more than the healing power of the outdoors; it is also about activating and empowering voices of veterans who are already skilled and inspired to defend America’s lands, water, wildlife and people. Veterans are change agents, enthusiastic to make a difference in their communities. When our veterans thrive, so too does our society. The goal of Military Outdoors is to improve the lives of veterans and their families through connections with the outdoors and inspire members of the military and veteran community to become outspoken champions for environmental conservation and justice.

https://www.sierraclub.org/military-outdoors

https://www.sierraclub.org/arizona

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