15th Annual Gila River Festival - Sponsorship Letter

May 6, 2019

Dear Friend of the Gila River,

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urgently warned the global community that we must achieve a 45% cut in carbon emissions over the next decade or so to stabilize global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. We are already experiencing the effects of climate disruption around the globe and here in southwest New Mexico. Over the past fifteen years, we’ve seen historically low flows on the Gila River affecting the ecological health of New Mexico’s last wild river.

As we decide how to respond to this climate emergency, what is our moral and ethical responsibility to safeguard the Gila River and the planet for future generations and for all living beings? What can we do as individuals and as a society to make significant changes immediately to avert the worst impacts of climate change on the Gila River and our environment?

Recognizing that the most vulnerable communities are already being impacted by climate disruption, how do we address climate justice? What can we do as concern citizens to live more simply, consume less, and reduce our carbon footprint? How can we cultivate joy and gratitude into our daily lives so that we experience abundance and thankfulness rather than the feeling of always needing more? As caring people, how do we cope with our feelings of climate grief in a productive way?

We invite you to join us for the 15th Annual Gila River Festival as we explore these questions with authors, theologians, artists, youth activists, indigenous leaders, policy makers, and scientists.

Keynote speaker Tim DeChristopher was imprisoned for civil disobedience when he disrupted an auction for illegal oil and gas leases on public land. Naelyn Pike, a young Chiricahua Apache changemaker working to protect her Apache homeland, and Akilah Sanders-Reed, a former youth plaintiff in a New Mexico climate change lawsuit, will tell their inspiring stories. Local student activists, trained in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, will share their vision for a livable future.

Award-winning writer Sharman Apt Russell will speak to our moral obligation to be good earth stewards. Guggenheim fellow landscape photographer Michael Berman will show photos from his latest book as he discusses conservation across the US-Mexico border. Water attorney Adrian Oglesby will tackle the subject of personhood for rivers and nature. Numerous other speakers will talk about landscape-scale conservation and restoration that is already underway in New Mexico.

As in past years, the festival will feature expert-led hikes to the Gila River and Gila National Forest, focusing on natural history, such as archaeology, rock art, native plants and birds, and more. Popular events scheduled again this year will be the Gila River kayak trip, the Monsoon Puppet Theater puppet parade, and the Gila River Extravaganza, a street fair featuring music, performers, and Apache dancers from Fort Sill and San Carlos.

I sincerely hope that you will join with other Gila River Festival supporters at the highest level you are able. Please talk to us about your sponsorship needs; we are happy to work with you to achieve the exposure most important to you.

On behalf of New Mexico’s last wild river, I thank you for your support of the Southwest’s premier nature festival!

For the Gila,

Donna Stevens

Please fill out the Sponsorship Form and return to the Gila Conservation Coalition.

Allyson Siwik