Holiday Letter from CAVU’s President, David S. Smith

By December 21, 2012Archive, Uncategorized

Dear Friends,

As 2012 draws to a close, with CAVU’s homebase now firmly established back in the United States, with exciting challenges and new partners reaching out to us every day, it seems appropriate to take a moment and consider our impressive “flightpath”….

Over the last seven years, CAVU has worked in 9 countries from the United States to Panama. Using advanced technology and our aerial platform to capture, analyze and share data, our flights in these countries have benefited more than 150 partner organizations.

Our partners have come to rely on CAVU’s geospatial referenced mapping to support on-going conservation initiatives, while governmental and scientific institutions look to CAVU to provide critical data needed to form management plans, conduct scientific research and track land use change. A noteworthy example: Stanford University and the Natural Capital Project are utilizing CAVU’s aerial imagery to inform a database of coastal communities in Belize. The NatCap project is partnering with the Belizean government on the creation of a comprehensive coastal management plan.

CAVU has also created 14 films and educational outreach campaigns. In Belize and Costa Rica, four of CAVU’s films have been distributed to schools via the Ministry of Education. CAVU’s film “Higher Ground,” about the complex threats facing Florida’s coastline, continues to be used on a daily basis by our partner Sea Turtle Conservancy. We are actively pursuing new social media outlets.

Looking to the months ahead, we are continuing work with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) on assessing and documenting coral reef and mangrove habitat loss in Panama’s San San-Pond Sak Wetland Reserve and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge; with the Costa Rica Forever Foundation mapping and monitoring wetlands in Palo Verde National Park; and in an exciting new opportunity, we have been asked to assist Wildlife Conservation Society scientists in monitoring climate change in the Northern Andes of Peru.

We are equally enthusiastic about reinvigorating our presence here at home. We were honored to be invited to Sundance last month to join a small group of conservation leaders working on the restoration of the Colorado River Delta. It was gratifying to hear a number of these influential leaders express the belief that CAVU’s unique skill-set could be a critically useful component in this campaign. Furthermore, it seems likely in the near future CAVU will have the opportunity to become involved in the Gulf Coast restoration efforts. To contribute even in a small way would be meaningful.

In closing, we are grateful to see CAVU’s services increasingly in demand. To meet the current challenges, it is critical that we invest in our organization’s infrastructure, and to do that we need your support. A donation to CAVU will help us invest in the necessary staff and technology to continue meeting conservation challenges at home and abroad. I would be happy to discuss the specific, measurable impact of your donation via e-mail or telephone. Please do not hesitate to contact me. And on behalf of our small staff and dedicated volunteers, may I extend our appreciation for your interest, and our best wishes to you all for joyous holidays and a safe and happy New Year.

With warm regards,

David S. Smith

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