For the past 30 years concerned citizens and lawmakers have been working to create the Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area along New Mexico’s northern boarder. The proposed NCA consists of 235,000 acres of rolling sagebrush hills and 70 miles of the Rio Grande, the first section of wild and scenic river established in the United States. The goal is not only to preserve this rare and wild landscape, but also a way of life that dates back hundreds of years.
A love of backcountry skiing explains David Gonzales’ obsession with white bark pines. A writer and photographer, he spends a lot of time beneath these ancient trees. But the white barks are under attack. And that has this skier marshaling forces to fight back. Once the snow melts, he leads volunteers called Tree Fighters into the forest surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Tree Fight is an organization that is working to curb the loss of white bark pines due to the escalating impact of climate change. Scientists say rising temperatures have opened the door to a mountain pine beetle invasion. White barks live at the highest, harshest elevations in the northwestern United States and Southwestern Canada. Extremely cold temperatures used to keep this native pest at lower elevations. Now these beetles are capitalizing on warmer temperatures, killing white barks at a staggering rate. Tree Fight aims to stop them.
Photojournalists Morrigan McCarthy and Alan Winslow are heading out on another great cycling adventure. On the heels of their 11,000-mile bike around America called Project Tandem, the two once again are riding and recording the ideas of the many people they meet along the way. Last time they collected the thoughts of average citizens in the United States on the issue of climate change. And this summer they’re going abroad to connect with young adults to get their view on life in our times. “We're leaving in July from Fairbanks, Alaska and cycling 30,000 miles around the world through more than 50 countries to document through photographs what life is like for twenty-somethings,” McCarthy wrote in an email. “We'll share the photographs and stories from the road through digital postcards on The Geography of Youth website.” Together known as the Restless Collective McCarthy and Winslow use still photography and audio recordings to tell the contemporary story of life on earth. By gathering the impressions of young people this time they aim to paint a portrait from the perspective of those who will shape the future. Making their way slowly across the land on bicycles they offer an intimate view of the world through the lives of ordinary people, each with a unique point of view.
Chad Pregracke is on a serious mission to get things out of the Mississippi River that don’t belong there. Since 1998 his non-profit Living Lands and Water has organized clubs, groups and ordinary citizens to haul trash and other debris off the shoreline of the Quad Cities near his home in Moline, Illinois. The annual Mississippi River Xtreme Cleanup draws more than 1700 volunteers inspired to make a difference in their community.