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Dr. Richard V. Teschner Profile

Richard V. Teschner, born July 19, 1942 in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Milwaukee, is a professor in UTEP’s Department of Languages and Linguistics. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1972 and has taught at UTEP since June 1, 1976. He is sole or co-author of twelve textbooks and monographs. Richard has also published four dozen articles on topics that range from language pedagogy to English, Spanish,  French, Portuguese and German linguistics. In his spare time he is interested in El Paso’s arroyos, canyons and overall environment. On December 21, 2005 he gifted his inheritance of $1,868,500 to The Frontera Land Alliance so it could purchase El Paso’s 91-acre Resler Canyon and maintain it as a nature preserve, free from all development. For twenty-nine years a resident of El Paso’s Coronado Townhouses on the Upper West Side, he now owns a condo in the Rim Road neighborhood, having moved there in part to establish residential credentials in the fight for clean air and against pollution, throughout the city as a whole and in Rim, Kern Place, Mission Hills, El Paso High and Downtown El Paso in particular.

Poem de terre

How the Nature Preserve Has Come to Home.

(A Four-Minute Dog-Eat-Doggerel Poem.)

by Richard V. Teschner


'Twas the end of July, in twenty oh three

With word just arrived that there soon were to be

One hundred and ninety eight houses--Oh boyo!

In what until then had been our safe arroyo. (Or so we thought.)


Emergency meetings were held by the score

Spear-headed by folks who had come to the fore

To save the arroyo and with it the canyon

From terrible fate, quite akin to the banion

Which once it's derooted will ne'er bloom again

Full mourned in its death by good women and men.


Attending the meetings were folks tough as bark:

Doug Echlin, Karen Williams, Carl Pataky, Ken Clark;

Dorothy Waters, Sharon Geddes, Mac Snodgrass, Janet Bader and Bruce Brooks;

Karen Papst, Don and Ginny Hegarty, John Galceran and Helen of the Cookes;

Grace Sandoval, Jan and Gordie Robertstad, Al Adkins and spouse;

Gretchen Tobey, Arden Abbott, Rick Harrison, John March filled the house.

But of all in attendance, just one name did seem

To rise to the fore--that of Charlie Wakeem.

Born on the West Side to a Lebanese couple

Quite early in life Charlie got into trouble

By pushing a boulder and losing a digit

But thanks to that loss Charlie learned not to fidgit

Graduating instead near the top of his class

From old Texas Western, the school by the Pass.

Then entering business and running a store,

Our Charlie proceeded to show he's no bore

By speaking in public at Rotary clubs

And banquets and dinners in rest'rants and pubs.

(It also helped out he knew takings and torts

The product of running his trailer park courts.)


"Please lead us, good Charlie," the masses did crave

"In fighting the fight, our dear Canyon to save!"

So Charlie boned up on the law of the land

And hunted for measures to help make a stand.

When much to his wondering eyes did appear

Eight firm City ord'nances that helped him not fear

To fight in the toughest match-wits of the season

In hopes one could bargain, sit down and then reason

A City-broked land-swap, perhaps a donation

Whatever it took to bring forth … resolation.


The rest of the story we know like our clime:

How Charlie spent thousands of hours of his time

At websites, in archives, in City Hall's bowels

With mayors, commissi'ners and workmen with trowels

His camera in hand through the wettest monsoons

The flooded arroyo at midnights and noons.

With City Plan Commission in meet after meeting

Not once did our hero lose heart or start bleating.

Encouraged by victories from City Council folk

Disinclined to treat Nature as just one big joke

Development stalled, and did not advance

Thus giving the present Richard Teschner a chance

To spend all the money he'd got from his mother

On saving the Canyon from strife, stress and druther.

From May through December, negotiate we did

And though the pot was boiling, somehow we kept the lid

From flying off the handle, and damping down the deal.

From media to City Hall, they saw we were for real.

December twenty-first, the day it came to pass

That he who speaks these words today rejoined the middle class.

Just two days from then, the closing did take place

Mere minutes before the whole city joined the race

To get out of town and spend their vacation

In plentious awe and in full contemplation

Of how a bunch of ordinary Coronado people

Awakened by their leader a'crying from the steeple

Saved ninety-one acres of nature's prime beauty

Simply because they viewed it as their duty.


Note: Richard Teschner wrote then recited this poem at the Charlie Wakeem/Richard Teschner Nature Preserve of Resler Canyon Dedication on Saturday, January 28, 2006.

"Save Our Arroyos"

El Paso's Arroyos Have Clearly Seen Worse

(An Old-Fashioned Dog-Eat-Doggerel Verse)


I used to think I'd never see

Arroyos standing wild and free

Safeguarded from development

Construction comp'nies' merriment

Bulldozers' stern equip(a)ment

Tract houses' blunt establishment

Remaking the environment.


But then three years ago there came

A whole new player to the game

A band of troubled neighbor folk

Who viewed as nothing like a joke

The plans a certain fellow'd laid

To level down, by axe and spade

And truck and hoe and rake and blade

What centuries of Nature'd made.

Its name was Resler Canyon, and

The neighbors vowed they'd take a stand.

Selecting as someone to carry their dream

The perfect spokesperson in Charlie Wakeem.


We met and we lobbied and filed our petitions

Avowing that such were the Canyon's conditions

That two hundred houses on ninety-one acres

With two cars per family and multiple takers

Of services public and private together

Would nearly put paid to the birds of a feather

And foxes and wolves, skunks, snakes, mice and deer

And weekending hikers from far and from near

In favor of keeping intact for the ages

A filter and conduit of water that sages

Knew perfectly well kept the Keystone alive

That Doniphan duckpond where truly did thrive

Fish, geese, drakes, mallards and patos themselves

In natural environments, not baked or on shelves.

So thanks to Charlie Wakeem and the Coronado Neighborhood Association

(And here is where my trochees, iambs and dactyls really start disintegration)

John Cook, Joyce Wilson, Pat Adauto and all the members of the best City Council in the nation

Bernard Felsen, David Hassler, my Scott Hulse legal representation

The Frontera Land Alliance, María Trunk's dedication.

And above all to my parents, the source of my donation

Resler Canyon was saved from gross contamination

Though others were not; think of Wildwood's desecration

And a former great arroyo, reduced from mouth to source

To a tiny concrete channel that could not withstand the force

Of the first of August’s deluge leading to the devastation

Of Blockbuster (now quite busted) and Sun Harvest’s harvests down

Three hundred fifty houses too, all flooded round the town

And all twelve score arroyos, arcing in their destination

From the heights of Franklin's Mountains to their riverine location

Bearing water (when it rains) that will end up in the ocean

Lest it's thwarted in its path by those who take the notion

To 'doze them and scrape them and crush them full over

And twist them and pave them so many Land Rovers

Can drive on the streets that have taken their place

In a land full of buildings and lacking in grace.


Which is why we are here on this memorable day

Full thanks to Hal Marcus, who had the guts to say:

"I will lend you my gallery, my space and my time

So that all this fine art, people's consciences will prime

To take action, give money, give voice and give out

That arroyos are treasures we can't live without.

That along with building houses in our very poorest barrio

The city come to understand that every Tom, Dick and Mario

Will benefit from open space and parks and dedication

And downtown redevelopment and Nature's preservation.


But for art you need artists, and here in their full prime

Are four score generous people, whose names I'll try to rhyme.

They sing of ocotillos and they paint of cactus sere

They show the world the wonders of a "wasteland" we hold dear

Its rocks and rills and rims and rains, its scorching desert sun

Of midnights by the howling moon, of lizards having fun

Of eagles soaring high above their prey at full high noon

Of snakes a'baking on a rock, digesting to a tune

Of pen and ink and water colors mixed in with the oil

Of pain and gain and livelihoods, of people's honest toil.

Rick Schecter, Scott Cutler, Willibaldo de Cabrera

Barb Howe, Kate Gelinas, Jean McGee and Candy Mayer

Rigoberto de la Mora and Alberto Escamilla

Barb Armijo, Bob Adams, Bob Shepack and John Ryno

Bill Rkocy, Bill Sullivan and Jeniffer Stapher-Thomas

Joan Shepack, Jim Quinnan and Juan Galcerán

Peter Bullock, Holly Cox and Rudolfo Escobar.

And don't forget the Fosses--Kelly, Pat and Katie--

John and Hannah Story-Gore, Jackson Polk and Evelyn Ainsa

Hal Marcus himself, the hard-working Janet Aboud

Clarissa Adair, Jim Andrew and Teresa Altschul

James O'Rourke, James Paternoster and Tracy Solimeno

Oscar Moya, Lisa Matta-Brown and Martha Moheno

Susan Frary, Ben Avant, and Sally Avant

Natalie Baca, Louise Bagg and Lelia Davis

Anne Giangiulio, Maggie Kelly, and Louie Pedregon

Margaret Tumey, Paul Hoylen and Kristine Freeman

Ten-year-old Danielle López, and friendly Jane Friedman

Doug Martin, Perla Michel and Ramie McIntosh-Scully

Dee Olga Min Young-Phillips and Gerie Muchinkoff

Ann Mitchell, Pat Olchefski-Winston and Eric Ozuna

Father Vincent Petersen, Marie Rohde and Demis Perla Rodríguez

Marina Savitsky, Krystyna Robbins and Ralph Rodriguez

Roxanne Schroeder, Corrine Spinnler, the elusive Frida Rollo

(Or should that be "Free da' arroyo!"?)

John Tures, Carol Tures, Idell Rothstein

Leticia Van Osten, Laura Zelenak, Don Beene

And Lelaroy Williams and Carmen Navar

And friends and kin and neighbors who have journeyed from afar

To celebrate the dawning of a marvellous new age

Where hybrid cars and windmill power are clearly all the rage

And foreign oil is cut in half--we'll really turn a page!--

And now I'll stop this poesy, relinquishing the stage.


Richard V. Teschner.

Thursday, August 24, 2006.

The Hal Marcus Gallery


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