BORDERLANDS PROJECT

PROJECT APPROACH

The Borderlands Project is focused on increasing public awareness of the unique ecological values of the borderlands and the impact that border infrastructure will have on it. From hundreds of conversations over the past five years it has become clear that a lack of awareness is at the heart of the threat U.S. Border policy now poses to the borderlands environment. By increasing the awareness of the public and policy makers, it is believed that the current approach to policy in this region could be reformulated.



PROJECT GOALS:


    To increase awareness of the beauty and biodiversity of borderlands ecosystems


    To restore the force of environmental and other laws to the borderlands. The legal waiver granted to the Department of Homeland Security by Congress has resulted in the unilateral dismissal of dozens of laws, including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Air Act.


    To mandate that environmental damage from wall that has already been built, be addressed and mitigated.


    And finally, to encourage increased international cooperation on borderlands ecological issues and migration corridors.



















TOOLS


DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY


LONG-TERM VISUAL DOCUMENTATION

    Four years of documentary photography have yielded more than 10,000 images of the borderlands ecosystems and wall construction impacts.


BORDERLANDS RAVE

    In 2008, I began organizing a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) with the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). The expedition took place in January and February of 2009 and included 13 photographers, a film crew and several scientists. The expedition traveled the entire length of the border gathering photographic evidence of the great scientific and cultural significance of the borderlands and the impact of border wall construction. To learn more about the RAVE, read the blog and visit the Borderlands RAVE page on the ILCP site.


MEDIA

Use of multimedia video, a fine art exhibit, websites, slideshows, lectures, brochures and other media have have been critical tools in reaching the public and policy makers on borderlands protection.


POLICY WORK

A network of groups in Washington, D.C., is working to monitor relevant legislation and advocate for borderlands protection. See more in the policy section.




















ACCOMPLISHMENTS

(For more detail on project accomplishments, visit the Accomplishments page)


Photographic documentation


•10,000 image database of the flora and fauna of the US-Mexico borderlands and wall construction over the past four years.


  1. Borderlands Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE)




Public Outreach


•30-piece photographic exhibit on the borderlands.


Continental Divide: Borderlands Wildlife, People and the Wall


Action Alerts are included at exhibit shows to encourage people to contact legislators on specific current issues related to the wall.


“Postcards for the Borderlands”—a project to engage exhibit viewers in the political process and have their voices heard on this issue.




•Internet


-International League of Conservation Photographers Border RAVE website, including blog detailing the borderlands expedition.


-“Faces of the Borderlands” featured on Sierra Club’s borderlands website.


-Use of social media to engage and inform the public



•Film

- Created documentary Continental Divide with Cornell Lab of Ornithology


-Created three short multimedia projects with a combined 20,000 views on youtube and thousands of views on the Defenders of Wildlife website.




Policy work


•Slideshow presented to the US EPA’s Good Neighbor Board, which is tasked with advising the president on environmental matters on the border of the US and Mexico. Since that slideshow, the board drafted and sent a letter to president obama advising him on the impact of the wall, which included photos from the borderlands expedition


•Helped organize lobby day in the House of Representatives to gain support for legislation protecting the borderlands


•High level public land managers have asked to use expedition photos for demonstrating the damage of wall construction and to gain support for increased monitoring and mitigation funding ($90 million has recently been allocated for mitigation)


•Wrote and passed a resolution at the 9th World Wilderness Congress in opposition to the wall and current border policy


•Fall 2009 for the first time since wall construction began the U.S. Congress rejected legislation to build additional wall—the Borderlands Project played a part in this victory


•Presented Slideshow to Mexican Congress’ environment committee






GOING FORWARD

Attempts to build more wall and further erode environmental integrity in the border region are ongoing in the U.S. Congress. So far, the network of groups I am working with has managed to deflect recent attempts, but this will be an ongoing battle, waged for years to come and in order to gain ground, we must impart to the American public the great beauty and biodiversity of the borderlands and the threat that our current policy poses to it.We also need a comprehensive assessment of the damage that has already been done by past/current construction.














We still need funding for continuing this work. If you can help: contact Krista Schlyer (kris_schly@yahoo.com).

Contact e-picmailto:kris_schly@yahoo.com?subject=Borderlands%20Projectshapeimage_7_link_0