As 2013 comes to a close, Borderlands Restoration is imagining an ever-expanding future in our goal of building a restoration economy. We have received several grants this year to support our research and restoration work and have just sent off a renewal application to the Walton Foundation to continue our river restoration work.
If you read last month’s article in the PRT, you will know our list of accomplishments in our first official year of operations. Within these accomplishments, we have hired some twenty folks, including a 12-person work crew of local citizens from Patagonia and Sonoita who built erosion control structures on the Babocomari Ranch. In 2014, we hope to be able to have a full-time crew and further develop our training program.
You may have read in Edible: Baja Arizona about our summer intern program with Patagonia Union High School students. This summer, we plan to increase this effort to include more students. We also plan to hire a few local community members in our developing adult intern program. Our first adult intern, Cooper Seibert, was recently hired by a greenhouse in Phoenix, who eagerly offered him a job after hearing about his experience with Borderlands.
The focus of the adult intern program is to train more folks to enter the world of ecological restoration, either as employees of organizations like Borderlands or as small business owners. There is no shortage of work in the field of restoration, and we are going to need an ever-expanding network of organizations and businesses for this restoration economy. In this process, we hope to enable people to make a living by following their passion.
Patagonia local Ivan Mingura, reflects on his experience working for Borderlands Restoration, “At the end of the day I feel good about the work I do. I get to choose activities that I enjoy, and the work feels more significant because it is a team effort. I feel appreciated. I am happy to have this work that allows me to stay in my community, and has given me a choice as to the type of work I want to do in order to stay here.”
Borderlands Restoration wants to stay in Patagonia too. The way we do this is by supporting the economy of our watershed. Along with training individuals, we can support growing businesses and ranches by connecting them with funding sources. We also patronize local businesses whenever possible. If we have overnight field excursions, we buy our food from Red Mountain Foods and the Patagonia Market. We contract with local businesses like DNM Excavating and Sonoita Feed. This money gets circulated within the community, and over-time will lower costs on local goods and provide even more jobs. The network of inter-connected local businesses is what defines a restoration economy.
If you are interested in knowing more about Borderlands Restoration, or are looking for another reason to feel good at the end of the day, please connect with us on our facebook page or our website: www.BorderlandsRestoration.org. You can also volunteer with us, there is no better way to connect than by helping to restore the watershed.
As appeared in the Patagonia Regional Times, December 2013.