Dec 5, 2011

EcoFlight: Aerial Advocacy


Group puts ‘people in high places’ to encourage responsible resource use

Ben Saheb and Jenna Wirtz,  students in Colorado Mountain College’s Sustainability Studies bachelor’s degree program, traveled with Ecoflight this fall to study environmental issues in the West from an aerial perspective.


Photo of recent Ecoflight over the Maroon Bells Wilderness. By Ben Saheb.

Ecoflight uses small aircraft to fly students, media professionals, conservation groups and policy makers over Western landscapes so that they can see mining, drilling, dams, logging, fire and watersheds from the air.  Their goal is to encourage an environmental ethic by enhancing the population’s understanding of the costs of resource extraction so that it will be done more responsibly in the future. Seats on a recent trip over the Four Corners region were offered to two students from CMC Sustainability Studies professor Mercedes Quesada-Embid’s classes, and Saheb and Wirtz were chosen.

Saheb documented the trip in photographs, capturing striking views of both the stunning landscape of the West and the resource extraction issues that threaten it.  The students met with diverse stakeholders involved in the environmental issues of the region to learn about the complexities of resource extraction from the perspective of Native Americans, federal land managers and conservation groups.

In his last blog entry, Saheb summed up the impact of the trip:  “I stepped off that plane a different person.  I developed an even more intimate appreciation for the land that I live on.”

You can view Saheb’s photos and read his blog entries of the trip at: