Park Cities Quail Donation Benefits BRI Scaled Quail Research Project
Dr. Ryan Luna of BRI accepts a check from Park Cities Quail’s Jay Stine (left) and Clay Huffstutter (right).
T he Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) has received a $75,000 donation from Park Cities Quail to support scaled quail research. The funding is supporting two graduate students who will compile and analyze scaled quail parasite loads from across the Trans-Pecos.

Scaled quail are one of the most ecologically and economically important species to the Chihuahuan Desert. Unfortunately, their geographic range and population trends are declining. BRI is focusing significant research attention on the species.

“We need more and better science to determine the cause of the decline of scaled quail in the Trans-Pecos,” said Dr. Ryan S. Luna, who is the Kelly R. Thompson Professor of Quail Research with BRI at Sul Ross State University. “We appreciate Park Cities Quail’s continued support for research projects that will help us learn more about this beloved bird.”

Houston Safari Club Foundation Awards Scholarships to BRI Students
HSCF scholarship recipients (left to right) Matt Hewitt, Kaitlyn Williams, Carolina Medina, Jacob Lampman, Howell Pugh, Maribel Glass, and Taylor Daily.
T he Houston Safari Club Foundation has awarded $39,000 in scholarships to seven Borderlands Research Institute students. BRI students who received the scholarships are Taylor Daily, Maribel Glass, Matt Hewitt, Jacob Lampman, Carolina Medina, Howell Pugh and Kaitlyn Williams.

“These scholarships are among the most prestigious and highest paying wildlife scholarships in the country,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., BRI Endowed Director and professor of Wildlife Management at Sul Ross State University. “We are thrilled for our students and deeply appreciate Houston Safari Club’s investment in the future of wildlife management and conservation.”

Student Profile: Howell Pugh
A rmy veteran Howell Pugh’s path to Borderlands Research Institute has been a circuitous one. After high school he worked with his father at the family’s auto repair shop. When he turned 30, he decided to serve his country and enlisted. He deployed twice to Afghanistan, serving for seven years as a flight paramedic and medical trainer.

As his service in the Army was winding up, Howell knew a new chapter was about to unfold. Always interested in the outdoors, he knew that wildlife biology could be a good career choice for him. After graduating from Texas State University with a degree in wildlife biology, he began exploring graduate programs. When he heard about a graduate research position at BRI that would focus on pronghorn, he jumped at the chance.

“I’m working towards a Master of Science in Range and Wildlife Management while working with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on the pronghorn restoration project,” he said. “My thesis is focused on home range and habitat use of translocated pronghorn in West Texas. This data will directly help Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and landowners make sound management decisions about the future of pronghorn in the Trans-Pecos region.”

Project Spotlight: TOS Awards Grant for Grassland Birds Project
Shown above are two species of sparrow that overwinter in the Chihuahuan Desert and are in decline: the grasshopper sparrow (left) and Baird's sparrow (right). The new grant from Texas Ornithological Society will help us continue our research on these birds.
T he Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) has awarded a $6,000 grant to BRI to purchase radio transmitters for a grassland bird research project. Grassland bird populations that winter in the Chihuahuan Desert have declined by about 75% since 1966, and BRI researchers are trying to determine why.

The focus of this particular study are two species of sparrows that spend the winter in northern Mexico and the southern United States. BRI students have been tracking Baird’s and grasshopper sparrows in the Marfa grasslands since 2016. The project is a collaborative effort with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Dixon Water Foundation and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.

“We’re pleased to support this project and the work the Borderlands Research Institute is doing to learn more about these grassland birds,” said Texas Ornithological Society President Shelia Hargis. “This research aligns perfectly with our mission of promoting the discovery, knowledge, observation and conservation of birds in Texas.”

Fun Fact: Are Pronghorn Related to Antelope?
W hile pronghorn are often referred to as antelope, they are actually more closely related to giraffes. So compared to the antelope of the African savanna, pronghorn are excellent runners (the fastest land mammal in North America, in fact) but are not great at jumping. This is one reason that fences can hinder their movement across the western plains; they would rather go under than over a fence. Fences can be pronghorn-friendly, though; biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Borderlands Research Institute have been helping landowners raise sections of barbed wire by 18 to 20 inches above ground where pronghorn are likely to cross.

We Will Not Be Tamed
B orderlands Research Institute is proud to promote Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s We Will Not Be Tamed campaign to engage more Texans in conservation. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has supported BRI on research projects ranging from quail to pronghorn, and BRI is pleased to support TPWF’s efforts to conserve the lands, waters and wildlife we love.
We Will Not Be Tamed calls on us to appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit and why we should be inspired to conserve it.
We Will Not Be Tamed has engaged a group of remarkable Texan outdoorsmen and women who stand together and tell their stories about the place that has given so much. People like Jordan Shipley , whose career has taken him from the Friday night lights to the pre-dawn light of a deer blind.
TPWF has also partnered with Trailblazing Texas companies to present a one-of-a-kind sweepstakes. Outdoor-loving brands from Toyota to Howler Brothers to King Ranch Saddle Shop have partnered to give away everything you need to Live the Wild Life. The grand prize winner will drive home in a new Toyota Tundra. Time is running out the sweepstakes deadline is October 30!
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Borderlands Research Institute | 432.837.8225 | bri@sulross.edu
P.O. Box C-21, SRSU, Alpine, Texas 79832