Sunday, May 04, 2014

Wendy Glenn

I don't have a lot  of facts at my fingertips about Wendy, and those who loved her have better things to do than run them down for me today. I don't need them, really.

Wendy was the organizing half of one of the most perfect teams I have ever known. She took care of the schedule and  telephones and later the computer and the business, though I'm sure she would have been happier on a horse.

I first heard about Warner as a houndsman, from some of the lion and bear hunters who still hang on against the odds in my county. He was the second generation in his family to pursue this vocation, one that is probably more expensive to maintain as a pro rather than as an avocation. He and his dogs were spoken of with respect in a society that gives such respect grudgingly; a rare and hard way to make an odd living does not always translate to graciousness. I was intrigued, as I have wanted to hunt lion on horseback since I was about 8. He and I had many mutual friends, including the great western photographer Jay Dusard.

When we met, we hit it off well (as everyone seemed to with the Glenns). Before I could act or write on the subject, Warner struck track on the first verifiable jaguar in the US in decades, and became a public figure. His photos, before he hauled his last hound off by the collar to let the cat run, became legend. He and  Wendy had started the Malpais Borderlands group shortly before that serendipitous find, to act as a sometimes unlikely link between ranchers and conservationists, and the great cat became its symbol. There is a book about it- I even contributed a small part.

They stayed the course, and if they sometimes found various allies a bit odd, they never said. Before the group, they had hosted hunters and outdoorsmen across the political spectrum; I remember Warner's telling me of a time when the most liberal Supreme Court judge visited at the same time as a man who was possibly our most conservative member of the House. I dared not ask if they got along, as Warner was so obviously fond of both. They had no ideological program. The only person I ever heard Wendy speak critically of was the failed lit major Kieran Suckling, founder of the cynically named Center for Biological diversity*, who ate as so many did at their table only to announce, after dinner (class act, Kieran) that although the land could not have had better stewards, he hoped to put them off their land and working "real jobs" soon. I don't have the heart to deconstruct all the stupidity in that.

I see I am speaking of the two, still. They were inseparable. The "Last Mountain Man"-- Jay's phrase-- and the best facilitator I ever knew, the friendly hand that kept more than a few strange allies working in harness, were as close as two rather different people could be. But it is Wendy who could call and get people to DO, or give (sometimes large) sums of money to a necessary end. I wrote to Jay, who said she was the strongest woman he had ever known, that she was a great woman but also... sweet, a rare combination.

If you believe, as I and a few others against all odds still do, that the land is best and finally only preserved with the active participation of those who live on it,  read up on the Malpais Group and the jaguar, raise a glass to Wendy, and donate a buck or two to an organization founded by old- fashioned hunters and Border ranchers that is dedicated to the preservation of real biodiversity, with the hair on.

Photos by Jay Dusard.

*Do NOT confuse Suckling's clueless troublemakers with the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center at the University of Wyoming-- good guys.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have long found Malpais a beacon of hope — that's the way you do it. Thank you.

Jim Cornelius