My experience being part of the Rillito River Project was an amazing one. Originally from Los Angeles and now a Tucson resident, The Rillito River Project exposed me to a lot of valuable information about the environment and inspired me to learn more. Our experience began at Biosphere #2. We spoke to many different scientists about their work and our group was given a tour of the biosphere. The thing about the Biosphere is that you have to think of it as a living thing you are able to walk through and semi control. It’s a very cool experiment.
After our 4 days at the Biosphere we headed down to Cuenca Los Ojos in the Chiricahua Mountains. We stayed at the Coronado Ranch, an amazing place. Valer Austin has many acres of land both on the U.S. and Mexican side of the border. She invited us to see what she has done to raise the water table and reestablish native grasses on her land by building simple rock dams called gabions. We also had a chance to see how the border not only keeps people from their natural migration but also keeps animals from their natural migration. Being on the Coronado Ranch and meeting with Valer was a very inspiring experience. We had the opportunity to see what one person can do to make a huge change for the better.
I learned a lot from this experience. With this new knowledge I would like to use my skills as an artist to share it with others. I feel that if people knew more about how climate change is effecting our environment they would be willing to make the necessary changes. The first project I have in mind is to create a painting of the Mexican Free Tail bat. It lives in Tucson six months out of the year and helps our local farmers control the bug population. It also eats mosquitoes and is a delight to have as a summer resident. I would then love to make my painting into a large-scale mural that the people of Tucson can appreciate and learn from. This is the project I would like to do as a direct result of my Rillito River Project, Art Lab, experience.