Retrospective

Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you…Satchel Paige

Looking back is a luxury that we can rarely afford. Fermata is a consultancy; we live from contract to contract. The good news is that we stay busy. The bad news is that we rarely get the opportunity to look back over our accomplishments.

Monument Rocks, Kansas, by Ted Lee Eubanks
With the year’s end approaching, perhaps we should take the time to consider our work. For example, I am currently helping Kansas develop an ecotourism strategy. Governor Brownback and Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KWPT) Secretary Robin Jennison brought me into the project to facilitate the development of the strategy. This coincides with our work on interpretive plans for the 11 Kansas byways, as well as the writing of an interpretive plan for the state byways as a whole.

This is not our first project where we have worked directly with the governor. Several years ago we developed the Maine ecotourism strategy for then-Governor Baldacci. In Pennsylvania we worked with Governor Tom Ridge, then continued with Governor Ed Rendell. The results of that decade-long collaboration were the Pennsylvania Wilds and another 4 Conservation Landscape Initiatives (CLIs). We began the birding trail craze in Texas with Governor Ann Richards.

Jamaican tody (Todus todus), Windsor Research Centre, Jamaica, by Ted Lee Eubanks
We are also completing the final draft of an interpretive plan for the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway in Nebraska. Our work in Nebraska dates back to the 1990s when we looked at socio-economic benefits of the Platte River for the EPA. Even then I spent time in the Sandhills, one of the iconic American landscapes.

Our interpretive work for the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) has extended across the Caribbean as well. Recently I completed an interpretive strategy for Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Grenada. Last week I worked in Jamaica with the Windsor Research Centre, conducting a workshop on sustainable recreation and tourism as a development alternative. We hope to continue our work on the Caribbean Bird Trail this next year, extending its reach throughout the Basin.

Aguas Blancas, Dominican Republic, by Ted Lee Eubanks
We have also continued our work with URS on the San Antonio River. In the next few months we will look at the value of the lower river as a wildlife corridor that connects the Texas Hill Country with the Gulf of Mexico. The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) is the client, and we are excited to be able to continue our work in this fascinating and little-known region of Texas.

When I started Fermata in 1992 I thought that I would focus on birds and nature. Little did I know where the trail would lead. Now we work in cultural and historical landscapes as much as with nature. Our services now span the interpretive range from planning to products. Yet one trait ties all of these disparate parts together. We are still driven by curiosity, by a simple need to reveal “beautiful truths.”

Ted Lee Eubanks
Founder & President

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