Borderlands Restoration Network is a Proud Participant in Patagonia’s EARTHfest 2019
‘Youth are the Future’ EARTHfest 2019 went off without a hitch this past Saturday. Collaboratively organized by the Patagonia Museum and Borderlands Restoration Network, we enjoyed a sunny day accompanied by a variety of engaging activities. Four different musical groups joined us at the gazebo for boogey-worthy music. Educational talks were given at Cady Hall and Town Hall that spanned topics from tree ring studies to water in the Patagonia Mountains. Booths shared information on Sonoita Creek, electricity and the Arizona Trail. Many lucky folks walked away with science and nature themed books provided by the Patagonia Library and native plants from Borderlands Restoration. Kids were spotted throughout the day with painted faces, flying colorful kites, doing kids yoga and walking along the new Patagonia Story Walk, featuring The Three Little Javelinas, put on by the library. All the while, attendees were fueled by delicious burritos and BBQ.
We had a record number of attendees this year as over 200 people gathered in Patagonia to celebrate Mother Earth, Arizona Trails Day, and Arbor Day, and we hope that this number will only continue to climb in the upcoming years. The EARTHfest committee is always open to new ideas, new booths, and new ways to show appreciation for this planet we call home. As well, we invite any interested community members to join the planning committee.
EARTHfest 2019 was a joyful celebration of Mother Earth, made even better by the many community members who came out to share information, experiences, and resources with our local youth helping to inspire the next generation of land stewards.
BRN's Native Plant Material Program was very happy to host Carla Vargas-Frank of Yerba Nomadica for an herbalism workshop on April 6th! The workshop focused on Spring in the Sky Islands, and how plant medicine can be used to support our bodies' natural cleansing systems during this time when some themes from the seasonal transition we see in nature are mirrored in our bodies. Participants tasted different plant medicines for activating the lymphatic system, digestion, and circulation to encourage movement, clearing out and breaking up of the stagnation of Winter. We learned about some plant genera that are useful medicines during allergy season and that we have species native to the Sky Islands, including Ceanothus, Solidago, Ambrosia, Achillea, and Anemopsis. Finally, we learned about the importance of tasting bitter flavors in stimulating some of the systems that help us transition our bodies into the warmer months. Then we made some bitters of our own! BRN is really excited about this new collaboration, and the Native Plant Materials Program is looking forward to working with her to offer more herbalism workshops during the annual Field School and in September. Keep your eyes peeled for details of future offerings with BRN and Yerba Nomadica!
Borderlands Restoration Network is grateful for the generous and early backing of the Biophilia Foundation. Their ongoing support allows BRN to run our innovative programs such as the field school, as well as our community engagement programs like our monthly nature walks and our Arts & Ecology Initiative. Through the support of Biophilia, staff at BRN has been able to increase our engagement with different parts of the community to explore our unique Sky Island ecology and our various roles in our ecosystem.
Due to the early support of the Biophilia Foundation, we are preparing for our third BRN Field School with over 30 experts presenting about their ecological and cultural work in the restoration economy in the Arizona-Borderlands. Our Arts & Ecology Initiative has grown from a few classes within our Borderlands Earth Care Youth Institute and the Field School into its own curriculum with classes developed to engage local youth in learning about their role in the local ecology.
BRN is proud to have the support of the Biophilia Foundation as we work with our partners to expand a vibrant restoration economy in the Arizona – Sonora borderlands through ecological and cultural place-based learning and leadership with on the ground restoration work on habitats and watersheds.
To learn more about the Biophilia Foundation, their current projects, and more about their mission to advance biodiversity conservation, visit www.biophiliafoundation.org.
What does sustainable mean? If you look it up in the Dictionary it means maintaining a certain rate and conserving or defending an ecological balance without depletion of natural resources. When I think about sustainability I think of educators, land keepers, and a caring heart. We can create sustainable environments in our own homes, towns, cities, and schools. Innovative and courageous minds alike are changing our communities, the University of Arizona is a leading pioneer and has a massive sustainable campus. They looked to the students to create these sustainable environments and the campus is flourishing. Tucson is a place where the temperatures can easily reach 120* in the summer you might think that that production may slow down, however plants are still thriving and pumping out food on the University of Arizona’s rooftop gardens.
The University has installed a rooftop garden that sits on top of the Student Union it was designed by students for students. The garden provides fresh produce to many people on campus who may not be able to afford fresh food. Around the campus, many buildings have rock structures, water harvesters, and native plants. Compost Cats are trying to create a zero-waste environment within the University. They service the greater Tucson area at a reasonable price. These types of sustainability create a relationship with the community by getting people involved and educated.
From the Office of the Sustainability at the University of Arizona “A tier 1 research and land-grant institution, the University of Arizona addresses global challenges through research and teaching and translates research into action. UA is already using its campus as a living laboratory to pilot and implement innovative and bold solutions that advance sustainability. The Office of Sustainability furthers this progress by elevating and institutionalizing best practices in sustainable operations and development. We work across the university to build relationships and networks that foster a culture of sustainability, focusing on place-based approaches. We actively provide greater student, faculty, staff and community engagement opportunities, offering innovative and unparalleled experiences in sustainability. We collaborate closely with the Institute of the Environment and similar groups and organizations on and off campus, as well as with local government agencies, schools, community non-profits, and the private sector. We work toward ensuring that the University of Arizona continues to be a strong partner and leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship.”
The City of Tucson has also taken on major projects working toward a healthier and more sustainable economy, environment, and community. They are implementing a plan to increase tree canopy’s and create urban food forests within its neighborhoods, with temperatures increasing the need for sustainability this is industry has become very innovative. The city is expanding its solar energy and studying how the rising temperatures are affecting the economy, environment, community, and habitat. Tucson is gaining worldwide attention for its beautiful weather and one of a kind scenery, with nearly 1 million people in Tucson a big jump from 487,000 in 2000 so getting creative and listening to the community to hear what it needs is playing a big part in its success of this development and planning. The City of Tucson is implementing the following projects: climate resilience, sustainable food systems, water sustainability, urban landscape development, green infrastructure, development, and maintenance, and habitat conservation planning. The city offers a water harvesting class that looks to education to help conserve water usage. Tucson Electric Power also sells native trees at a low price and teaches the community how to plant trees so when they mature they are helping to conserve energy in homes. All of these factors play a huge role in the sustainable growth of Arizona.