Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Gatherin’ …

An awesome Oklahoma sunset as seen from behind The Bowman Lodge ...
     Howdy, y’all!  I've just had the privilege to attend a gatherin’ of investigators and associate members of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy in eastern Oklahoma this past weekend.  Yet again, I was humbled to be amongst some of this country’s cuttin’-edge field researchers to discuss our past & future efforts to provide science the definitive proof needed for the existence of this mystery primate.  Members from across the U.S. drove from as far north as Montana, Minnesota and Illinois to be there!  Others of us came from Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas to attend our NAWAC Annual Retreat, which was held at The Bowman Lodge.  This venue was as magnificent as the attendees who met there, and we could not have been blessed enough ... not only by the gorgeous weather, but by the camaraderie experienced by all!

     I opted to camp along with a few other members, and we could not have picked a better weekend for our retreat.  Folks, I’m not tryin’ to sound derogatory, but this was not some sort-of “Bigfoot” conference; we don’t sell anything, play campy movies, ruminate historical sightings or share experiences in some town hall fashion.  What we had discussed this past weekend is what we have personally documented in our area of research over the past several years, and strategized on how we hope to bring it to the next level.  NAWAC members are a serious "boots on the ground" bunch doin’ some serious time in the grime ... and I mean serious enough to have had the foresight to have documented everythingWhat documentation, you may ask?  Again, if you have not already done so … I urge y’all to go to our Web site at and read the NAWAC’s Ouachita Project Monograph.  This free, downloadable PDF details several years of study performed by our members.  These folks have all volunteered serious time, effort and personal finances to try and provide definitive proof of the existence of this yet undiscovered mystery primate.  And after this goal is attained, we'll be gatherin' steam and goin' all-out to preserve the species and its habitat.

Dr. Angelo Capparella discusses future research opportunities with members of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy ...
     I cannot emphasize enough what a game-changer this will be; the discovery process of this species will be the scientific news of the century.  Period.  And you, too could become a part of this process as well!  It's a team effort, and the North American Wood Ape Conservancy welcomes volunteers who can bring their talent to the table for this epic quest.  Keep in mind this group does not participate in or plan any paid “Bigfoot” expeditions ... or random weekend campouts in the woods in the disguise of serious research.  The NAWAC is, however, a very seriously focused group of like-minded volunteers who are working for a non-profit conservation organization with a specific mission.  None of us are, or for that matter ... claim to be any kind of experts.  As a matter of fact, there are no experts in what we are doin’, and we find on a regular basis that we all learn somethin’ new quite often!  The fact of the matter is, we all have worked quite hard as a team to get where we are at this point, as far as our knowledge of these animals and our experiences with them goes.  Commitment and the ability to work as part of a team are the most critical traits for any applicant; so, if you have what it takes to contribute, please step-up to the plate!  I won’t guarantee you a wood ape sightin’ … but I’d be willin’ to bet that you will most probably experience things that most folks couldn’t even dream of!  There is a Membership tab at the top, right-hand corner of our Web site which tells how you can possibly help us with our efforts.

Alton Higgins (left) and Daryl Colyer (right) both presented to the group on our past accomplishments and future strategies.
     I genuinely wish that I could share with y’all what-all I have learned over the past weekend; however, those sorts of things are for our members, associates and investigators only.  The closest I can get is to tell y’all to keep-up with our Web site, our Facebook page, podcasts and again, to read the Ouachita Project Monograph.  After listenin’ to the presentations by the likes of Alton Higgins, Dr. Angelo Capparella & Daryl Colyer … I cannot wait for an opportunity to finally get back into the field in Oklahoma.  God willin’ … I hope to be available for whatever is asked, whether that task be site maintenance, documentation or any other type of support.  Until then, I have a few things planned for the next few months, such as gettin’ back into the Big Thicket, and then possibly another trip to the Ozarks that will be solely ape-related.  Also, I am just about finished gatherin’ all the pertinent info that I can share with y’all about my second week spent in Area X back in July of 2015.  But before I post anything, I’ll need my other two team members to substantiate my written interpretation of how it all went down prior to publication; so, y’all just hang tight!  Until then, take care, be careful out there and … y’all come back now, ya hear?

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