U niversity of Colorado junior Cayte Bosler gained a new perspective on water conservation after participating in an environmental awareness program last week.
Bosler and fellow CU student Arielle Powers joined six other students from across the state in a Cessna 210 plane flying 10,000 feet above the Colorado River for some lectures in the sky.
The students were part of an annual program called Flight Across America -- a five-day workshop that includes lectures, interviews and daily aerial tours through the Aspen-based environmental awareness organization EcoFlight.
The group spent four to five hours per day over five days flying over bodies of water in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, analyzing the surrounding land.
"It's one thing to talk about water use and even see the bodies of water from the ground, but seeing it from the air added something new," Bosler said. "We followed the Colorado River, and you could see how much land the coal mining plant was taking up from up there with all the roads running around it and other things you don't necessarily see from the ground."
EcoFlight Vice President Jane Pargiter said they launched the Flight Across America program in 2004 as a way to educate students about various environmental challenges and to empower young adults to have a voice.
"We predominantly provide support for conservation groups and press who need an aerial platform, but we try to stay politically neutral," Pargiter said. "We provide students with various perspectives on an issue so they can make up their own minds about it."
The students discussed the impacts of water with hunters and farmers, toured a coal processing plant and talked to Navajo high school students.
CU students have only sent four participants through the program so far, Pargiter said, since the university's community INVST program began partnering with EcoFlight last year.
The annual program will begin taking applications again next summer, Pargiter said. Students can visit EcoFlight.org for more information.
Bosler said the program helped her develop a deeper understanding of the effects water consumption has on her daily life.
"I'm so aware now," Bosler said. "Every time I turn on my faucet or buy a bottle of water I think about what went into me having access to that."
Bosler is planning to share the knowledge she gained through the program by giving a presentation about what she learned in one of her classes this semester, and to help raise awareness through other CU groups.