In the Fall of 2015 CAVU partnered with the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club to focus on their top priority issues in New Mexico. CAVU flew community leaders, scientists, Sierra Club and representatives of other local conservation organizations to three locations in the state providing an unparalleled aerial view of issues impacting New Mexico’s treasured resources. CAVU was able to make this unique opportunity available through the Giving Back Grant CAVU received from the AOPA Foundation and funds from the Sierra Club. These educational projects will help the Sierra Club elevate their platform, engage a larger audience, and ultimately motivate these communities to act and protect New Mexico’s unique and enchanted land.
One of CAVU’s flights was over “Dairy Row” in Las Cruces New Mexico, where industrial animal farms are polluting the area’s ground water. Unfortunately, New Mexico is once again last in the nation in animal welfare and restrictions on quotas for animal per feedlot acre. On this flight, CAVU took members of nearby communities who have been severely impacted by the air and water pollution. The pests associated with such dairy farms coupled with the smell significantly devalue neighboring property. CAVU also took a closer look at the Albuquerque section of the Rio Grande Bosqué. The Rio Grande Bosqué is a widely known and enjoyed wildlife and bird refuge and one of the last urban riparian lands. But now it is under threat to be overdeveloped. Without warning and community input Mayor Richard Berry and his “Rio Grande Vision Team” constructed a 6-foot-wide trail which conservationist believe will severely alter the areas previously acknowledged and set aside in the Bosqué Action Plan as wildlife preserves. The effort to revitalize and repair the Bosqué does not go unappreciated; however concerned citizens are looking to the Rio Grande Vision to recognize and incorporate conservation components into their plan. CAVU hopes to use the power of aerial imagery combined with personal experiences captured on film to help illustrate the risks to an exceptional and biologically diverse gem in the middle of Albuquerque.