Back to: NEWSOctober 13, 2014Follow News
EcoFlight flew a group of students from Colorado colleges around Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to fly over and hike through wilderness areas.
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Students were flown over areas in Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Summit counties, learning about wilderness area both existing and proposed.
EAGLE COUNTY — There’s nothing like an aerial view to
broaden your perspective; there’s nothing like a hike in the
forest to focus it.
EcoFlight flew a group of students from Colorado colleges around
Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to observe and hike through
EcoFlight invites students from in-state colleges to spend a week
flying over and walking through wilderness areas — both protected
and proposed — and to learn why they it should be protected.
The focus of this year’s program is the celebration of 50 years of the
Wilderness Act. In this area, the students were flown over areas in
Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Summit counties, where they learned
about wilderness area both existing and proposed.
The students also learned that wilderness is not necessarily silent.
They learned this by hiking into the wilderness and sitting quietly
for an extended period of time.
“They sat in silence and listened to the world,”
said Michael Gorman, of EcoFlight.
Speaking of perspective, EcoFlight is clear about theirs.
They advocate for the protection of wild lands and wildlife habitat
by flying people over them. Gorman said the flights help people
see the impacts of things like oil and gas drilling, mining, water
diversion projects, forest clear-cuts, road building and off-road
vehicle use. “Our job is to get people in the air so they can educate
themselves,” Gorman said.
The students left Aspen last Thursday and spent their weekend
collecting their thoughts about wilderness and its place
— and ours — in the world.
They did presentations on Tuesday at Aspen High School when they
returned to Aspen.
“They get exposure to all the issues. By presenting them with the
aerial perspective, we hope to broaden their personal perspectives,”
said EcoFlight’s Justin Patrick.
‘WHAT WILDERNESS MEANS TO US’
Jessie Dunlop is majoring environmental studies at the
University of Colorado.
“We’re seeking what wilderness means to us,” Dunlop said.
For Emily Denham, nature is therapeutic, something she hopes to
use in her chosen vocation.
James White has been out of college for 10 years, working in
digital media and broadcast design for Fox Sports, among others.
He also wandered around southeast Asia living on $10 a day.
He got sick, got well and got around. He published a couple large
format coffee table books about the experience and combined them
with his digital background. Some of his buddies were pilots,
and he saw how they were using geographic information systems.
He is now studying that at the University of Denver.
He said he’ll probably use his presentation as the foundation for
his next project.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935
307 L AABC
Aspen, Colorado 81611