Borderlands Restoration is a 4-year old organization with the mission to restore ecological balance in the Northern Sonora. BR employs simple but effective techniques to prevent erosion and restore the soil where erosion already has taken its toll. Erosion occurs especially in the aftermath of wild fires, which have been on the increase in our neck of the woods and in the rest of the world. After a wild fire, BR goes in to restore the watershed and reseeds the soil with native vegetation.
A Restoration Economy
A fundamental tenet of Borderlands Restoration is that the environment should be maintained the same way roads and other infrastructure are maintained. Although BR still relies heavily on volunteers, the aim is to turn its activities into paid jobs, funded by grants from the government and environmental organizations, and donations from businesses and from private persons. The jobs do not only involve field work, but also administrative functions, legal support and so on.
BR partners with many other environmental institutions, such as the Forest Service, Sky Island Alliance and Biophilia. Not only do they combine their forces in the field, but they also pool their administrative and other nuts-and-bolts services to reduce overhead, making more funds available for the actual work.
As watershed do not recognize political boundaries, BR’s work straddles both sides of the US-Mexican border. The current Administration aims to fortify this border heavily, which is certain to negatively impact wildlife migration patterns and the watershed themselves. This is already noticeable in parts where the ‘Wall’ is already in place.
But it is relatively easy for those living north of the border to cross it, and BR makes use of this leeway to venture into Mexico to teach the people there how to manage their environment.
Teaching has become an integral part of BR’s activities with the launch of its Restoration Leadership Institute last February. The Institute’s goal is to build understanding of the purposes of restoration and its potential. The courses, project-based and hands-on, are designed to integrate all aspects of environmental stewardship into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, as is the environment itself.
The Weekly Green spoke with Borderlands Restorations’ Executive Director, David Seibert.