Green Drone AZ is the product of a collaboration between Northern Arizona University (NAU), Ecoculture, the Tonto National Forest, Arizona State University (ASU), the National Forest Foundation, The Boeing Company, Society for Science, the Arconic Foundation, Niagara Cares, and the APS Foundation. Together with these partners, students from diverse Phoenix area middle and high schools engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) focused activities to address real-world environmental challenges within their communities. This work meaningfully incorporates the use of technologically advanced systems such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). By collaborating with the National Forest Foundation and its partners, Green Drone AZ connects with the River Pathways program hosted through Audubon Southwest. Together, these programs aim to engage local students in ongoing conservation efforts on public lands by assisting in data collection that can inform scientists and land managers to help guide management decisions.
To strengthen and catalyze development of a broader “pipeline” of students interested in STEM by using cutting edge technology to address real-world environmental challenges within their communities. We hope to encourage persistence in staying on the STEM-focused pathway by exposing students to technologically advanced systems such as drones and GIS. Management of our public lands and natural resources will soon fall into the hands of today’s youth. This program aims to arm these future leaders with the tools and resources needed to successfully protect and conserve our natural ecosystems.