MEADOWS WEEKLY INSIDER 12-5-16 Caleb Henderson

Dec 5, 2016

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Caleb Henderson

By Dyhanara Rios

Caleb Henderson is a mentor for the Operation SCUBA program and part of the lake maintenance team at The Meadows Center. He recently participated in an EcoFlight internship program for a Flight Across America, gaining an aerial perspective of several places in the Southwest United States, including Colorado and Utah.

During the EcoFlight trip, Caleb and others had the opportunity to meet with representatives from government agencies and organizations such as the USGS, National Park Service, and others who are influencers in conservation leadership and protecting and assessing public lands. The use of public lands for oil, gas and uranium mining has been a controversial issue for both its environmental and cultural implications on public lands and Native American reservations.

Similar to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests recently, the fight for the sacred lands of Bears Ears has been going on in Southeast Utah. It is a 1.9 million acre area with more than 100 thousand archaeological sites that the Navajo Native Americans and more than 25 other indigenous tribes are fighting to preserve. They formed the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and are petitioning the government to establish the site as a national monument. To date, the petition has collected almost 20 thousand signatures.

In Texas, public land spaces are few and far between compared to other states, so it is harder for people to “buy into” the idea of protecting public lands, according to Caleb. However, there are several opportunities for people who are interested in using and protecting our public lands. You can get involved by being informed about government actions on public lands, and write to local and state representatives about any issues regarding public land use. Or, you can go visit public lands, state and national parks to see what they’re all about.

Caleb’s story about his EcoFlight internship was featured in SplashTalk, an audio podcast about water and the environment, produced by the Stream Team at Texas State student organization.