In our Flight Across America (FLAA) program, which is our annual multi-state student program, we combine the powerful aerial perspective with ground based educational opportunities. Flight Across America 2014 focused on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act: the importance of wilderness designations for our public wild lands, the threats that wilderness quality lands are facing in the West, and the difficulty of obtaining these designations in the current political climate.
Students had the opportunity to engage with issues that are typically not well known by the public, and met with conservationists, community and industry representatives, opposing groups (ATV and Mountain Bike groups), and individuals whose voices aren’t often heard. The students were able to share their thoughts and experiences with numerous media representatives as well as with hundreds of other students. We met with experts in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, with Navajo High School students in Colorado and youth from across Wyoming, and talked about the issues immediately affecting them. To bring the trip to conclusion, FLAA students presented in a full Roaring Fork Valley high school seminar in Aspen, Colorado at the end of the trip. The idea of untouched wilderness is at the core of the American experience — offering opportunity for recreation and reflection, sanctuary to wildlife and protected landscapes and a legacy for future generations.
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