Students study beetle kill from the sky

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Students study beetle kill from the sky

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Students study pine beetle kill from the sky.
Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 2:12pm

(Aspen Daily News, October 13, 2009 GLENWOOD SPRINGS) — Local conservationist and pilot Bruce Gordon gave up on politicians when former Speaker of the House Tom Foley fell asleep in his co-pilot seat. Gordon had been giving the congressman a bird’s-eye tour of tree stands killed by mountain pine beetles when he nodded off.

“This big fat guy fell asleep right in the airplane,” Gordon said Monday.

So the longtime Aspenite has since turned his attention — and his six-seater Cessna — to a younger, more engaged crowd. On Monday morning, Gordon and two other volunteer pilots took to the sky with 50-some local teenagers, flying above beetle-killed lodgepole pines on the flanks of Mount Sopris.

The sky tours kicked off the fifth annual “Flight Across America” for EcoFlight, a local non-profit conservation tour outfit. It included students from the Colorado Rocky Mountain School along with Basalt, Bridges and Glenwood Springs high schools. This morning, EcoFlight is flying four students to Jackson, Wyo. to tour the forests there infested with the white bark pine beetle.

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