A Note from Dr. Louis Harveson
Greetings from West Texas.

We sincerely hope that you and your family are safe.

There is no doubt that the reach of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all regions of the globe, including our beloved Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands. Although the Borderlands are some of the least populated regions of the world, we are taking the pandemic very seriously. Our interests are focused on the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and faculty. We are following the recommendations outlined by the Center for Disease Control, Governor of Texas, and Sul Ross State University. 

Our offices are still operational, but the business of BRI is being conducted remotely by our dedicated staff. Office phones have been forwarded to personal cell phones, mail is still fully operational, as is email correspondence. Our faculty are adjusting their delivery methods to accommodate students and provide quality instruction remotely. Our outreach activities, including this enewsletter, will continue, but we do not anticipate having landowner workshops or seminars (including our Seminar Series on Energy Development) for the immediate future. Although field travel has lessened, our research team is focusing on analyzing data, summarizing results, and publishing our research findings.

Please know that we at the Borderlands Research Institute will continue to be committed to Conserving the Last Frontier ! We wish each of you good health and safety during these troubling times.  
Louis A. Harveson, Ph.D.
  Dan Allen Hughes Jr. Endowed Director and Regents’ Professor
The Meadows Foundation Supports BRI with a $100K Grant for Respect Big Bend Effort
T he Meadows Foundation is providing a $100,000 grant to the Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) to support the work of the Respect Big Bend Coalition in West Texas. Respect Big Bend was launched by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation in 2018 to protect the natural resources and unique communities of the greater Big Bend region through a collaboration based on sound science, community outreach and education, landscape-scale planning and economic development.

“We’re honored The Meadows Foundation has elected to support the Borderlands Research Institute through this grant award,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., BRI Endowed Director and Regents’ Professor of Wildlife Management at Sul Ross State University. “Through our Stewardship Services program we will be engaging landowners, community members, and industry partners to ascertain their conservation values for the region. Ultimately, we hope to better prepare West Texas communities for energy development through our participation with the Respect Big Bend Coalition.”

BRI is taking a leadership role in coordinating and implementing the outreach and education aspects of the project. BRI is communicating and meeting with stakeholders through a variety of strategies, from private one-on-one meetings to broader community forums, including a seminar series. Two of the seminars that had been planned for his spring have been pushed to the fall. Details will be forthcoming once re-scheduled dates have been confirmed.
Volunteers Assisted with Grassland Bird Banding Captures This Winter
I n the Marfa grasslands of Far West Texas, volunteers contributed over 1,600 hours toward grassland bird captures this winter. Here are a few of the highlights:
Species caught included sparrows (Baird's (pictured above), grasshopper, Cassin's, Savannah, and Brewer's) and Eastern meadowlark.
One of the most exciting captures was a Sprague's pipit (pictured above), which is a Species of Conservation Concern due to declining habitats across North America.
We had volunteers from all over Texas, and 15 volunteers from Chihuahua, Mexico!
Many thanks to our funders and partners, including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Shield-Ayres Foundation, Dixon Water Foundation, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and Audubon Texas.
Photos by Alejandro Chávez Treviño and Sarah Saenz
 Student Spotlight: Alex Ch á vez
A lex Chávez Treviño has been trying to explain to his family what he studies at school since he first went to college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and Genomics from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León Mexico in 2016. His undergraduate thesis explored genetic diversity markers in grassland sparrows, which led to field technician experience tracking endangered species in the Chihuahuan Desert after he graduated. That led to a job with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, which opened several doors for him, including an introduction to the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University. He enrolled as a graduate student in 2018, and his thesis project is exploring grassland bird survival and response to shrub removal treatment during the wintering season in West Texas.
“I am the black sheep of my family,” said Alex. “My dad is an engineer, and all the rest of my family has studied engineering or business. Before I came to Sul Ross, I had to try and explain what biotechnology and genomics is. Now I have to explain ornithology and why I like to chase birds!”
Trans-Pecos Wildlife Conference:
Save the Date for August 2020
T he Trans-Pecos region of Texas is among the most biologically diverse regions of the world. Sharing the current research on the timeliest topics in wildlife and natural resources is important for landowners and community members of the Trans-Pecos.

Join us for the Trans-Pecos Wildlife Conference hosted by the Borderlands Research Institute, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and others this August 6-7, 2020* at the Sul Ross State University Espino Conference Center in the University Center, Alpine, Texas.

Scientists, industry, and conservation partners will present their research on relevant topics regarding wildlife and natural resources in the Trans-Pecos region. Learning about the most current research can assist in making effective decisions on land stewardship and biodiversity management. 

This year, presentations will include panel discussions on wildlife and conservation related topics—including big game, quail, habitat, grassland birds, carnivores, and energy development in the greater Big Bend region.

Mark your calendar and plan to attend this year, as the Trans-Pecos Wildlife Conference is held every four years. More details, registration, and hotel information will follow. Stay tuned by visiting and follow the Borderlands Research Institute on Facebook.

*Please note that we are taking all recommended precautions with regard to the coronavirus pandemic. At this time, we are still planning on hosting the conference but will update you as needed if conditions have not improved sufficiently.
Fun Fact: Eastern Meadowlark
S pring is the quintessential time for birdsong. One of the most commonly heard birds throughout the grasslands of the eastern US and the Chihuahuan Desert is the Eastern Meadowlark. In spring, males can be heard over long distances, calling out “Spring-of-the-YEAR” or “Tortilla-Con-CHILE” (tortilla with chile). In fact, the common name for Eastern Meadowlark in Mexico is Tortilla Con Chile!
Photo by Denis Perez-Ordoñez
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Borderlands Research Institute | 432.837.8225 | bri@sulross.edu
P.O. Box C-21, SRSU, Alpine, Texas 79832