4 CORNERS

Conservation Pathways for Cultural Transformation

Overview: Watersheds of the 4-Corners region are among some of the most ecologically and culturally diverse regions on Earth. This region is perhaps the most culturally diverse in the United States, with Zuni, Apache, Hopi, Navajo, and rural communities with diverse communities of Latino, Anglo, Afro, and Asian origins. Despite the ecological and cultural value of the region, exotic species, poor grazing management, human development, and severe wildfires threaten its integrity.  

We believe that innovation, creativity, and imagination can result from the interaction of diverse communities throughout this region, and that this synthesis can be directed towards better conservation, green-job creation, and cultures with the ability to vision positive futures even during climate change. We do this by: 1) community participation in a field-based ecocultural restoration and educational activities with over 1 million trees planted in this region and over 3,000 students involved; 2) designing these projects considering both ecological and cultural values; 3) sharing the ecocultural restoration process among participants and the broader regional community.

Logistical

We have planted over one million trees in the 4-Corners region with tribal agencies, US agencies, community groups, and schools. Our goal is to increase workforce capacity, nursery capacity, and overall restoration capacity by developing a network of grassroots hubs throughout the region and training restoration innovators through education and our Restoration Certificate program for tribal youth.

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Ecological

From post-fire management, endangered species planning, and exotic species eradication, we work in deserts, mountains, and rivers across the southwestern 4-Corners region. We work to develop a multi-species conservation approach rather than the more bureaucratic single species approach and educate the public about the importance of biodiversity and how to monitor it.

Economic

We have raised over 10 million dollars to restore 4-Corners ecosystems. Our current goal is to work with NGOs in the region to explore new ideas for revenue generation, job development, and enhanced conservation capacity.

Scientific

In the arid western US, it is key to develop plant materials that are drought tolerant and that support communities of future climates. Our research focus is on better adapted plants, creative planting techniques, and maximizing carbon, biodiversity, and water benefits through restoration.

Social

Our Educational programs such as EcoKids, GreenDrone, and Restoration Certificate Field School are all operating in the 4-Corners region. We teach K-12, University, and Community College courses to tribal youth and rural community youth. A cornerstone of many projects is to work with schools and NGOs to co-develop projects and implement them together.

Interactional

A key thesis of our group is that cross-cultural networking enhances the overall creativity of our team. We bring together tribal groups, rural communities, urban youth, from diverse cultural backgrounds. We share results and stories from across our network to inspire action and to stimulate new solutions for conservation and green-job promotion.

CULTURAL

The expression of our values of nature is the theme of our art. This is reflected in our restoration projects through incorporation of concepts illustrated in Earth Art, trail design, narratives, and videography. Expression of our values in nature and the process of acting on these values is a core component of our educational programs and community participatory process.

News & Info

EcoCulture News and Information

Cultural Parks

A Rich Cultural Heritage

See Project

Sagebrush

Innovating Sagebrush Restoration

See Project

Post Fire Planting in Arizona

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Interactive Map

Coming soon…

Our Project Portfolio

Please have a look at selected projects below to learn more about our work in the 4-Corners region.