By Lynn Davison, BRN Board Chair
When people ask me why I am so invested in our work at Borderlands Restoration Network, the answers come easily. It all starts with the land, the Madrean Sky Islands of the southwest US and northern Mexico. E. O. Wilson includes our region in the top 10 for preservation in the Americas due to its remarkable biodiversity. The land and the multitude of plants and animals that live here are currently at risk due to the combination of climate change, overgrazing, and impacts of extractive industries. It is so important now to actively restore land, water, and habitat and to protect critical lands from future degradation. We know how to do that! If you doubt it, just consider what has happened at Cuenca Los Ojos, our Network partner, over the last 30 years…..return of amazing riparian areas with year-round water and lush habitats to support the biodiversity our region is known for.
For me, however, the real hook is the combination of restoring the land AND supporting the cultures and economic health of the people who live on it. At Borderlands, this is not either or, it’s both. Our mission is focused on building a restoration based economy in the borderlands….we strive to be an environmental organization, a cultural organization, and an economic development organization. While this path may be more complicated, it is the most respectful of the histories and cultures of the people who have been here for many centuries. It is also far more sustainable over time.
Our region, along the US/Mexico border, is a very visible stage for the world to watch the impacts of political gamesmanship on the lives of innocent people. For many, this is the only lens they see the borderlands through. We are so much more. Borderlands Restoration Network has a big vision, strong partner organizations, a remarkable combination of seasoned leaders and smart committed young staff. and an organizational structure that is both efficient and capable of securing earned income, public and private grants and contracts, private investments and donations. Our business model is grounded in partnerships and, as a bi-national organization, that includes people and organizations on both sides of the border. We place a significant focus on education with the goal of supporting the next generation of leaders to expand and carry on the work. We have a great reputation with the public agencies, private foundations, and individuals that support out work.
I am proud to be part of the Borderlands team. We are already making a real difference and will do much more as we increase the number of people and organizations that support our work. There are many ways to provide support: