Bernalillo County Open Space is fortunate to work with many amazing partners and volunteers and would not be able to accomplish as much without their dedication. If you are looking to activity engage in the Open Space Program, there are a number of fun and meaningful ways to get involved. See the list of opportunities below, and do not hesitate to contact the Open Space Coordinator if you have any questions or additional ideas at email@example.com, or call 505-314-0398.
Master Naturalist Program
The Bernalillo County Master Naturalist Program aims to instill the pursuit of lifelong learning and promote environmental stewardship. Participants are actively engaged through education and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources on Open Space properties. Participants enjoy a wide range of classes and hands-on experiences about the local environment totaling 55 hours of training and filed studies this June and July. Upon completion of the training, participants carry out a 40 hour service project. This quality program is free; however, it is limited to 25 participants per year. Applications are accepted in March for the following summer. Please check back in 2014 to apply to the program.
Seasonal Sightings along the Middle Rio Grande
Seasonal Sightings aims to engage citizen scientists to help gather data on plants and animals along the Middle Rio Grande Bosque Ecosystem. Specifically, the project is focused on seasonal changes such as animal migrations and plants blossoming, known collectively as phenology.
These natural events help mark the seasons, excite amateur naturalists, and provide valuable information to the scientific community. The data will be made available to the wider public through the development of a Seasonal Sightings calendar for the Middle Rio Grande Valley.
This project is ideal for budding naturalists, students and people who just want to observe nature. To participate, post your observations on the iNaturalist.org site, Seasonal Sightings Along the Middle Rio Grande project, or download the following forms:
Junior Naturalist Summer Camp
Bernalillo County Open Space working with Master Naturalists is launching the first Junior Naturalist Summer Camp in New Mexico. Students will learn about the local environment and participate in hands-on activities related to ecology, local plant and animal life, geology, water in NM, nature observations and even more! The program is limited to twenty 7th and 8th grade students (grade level as of August, 2013) and will be held at Bachechi Open Space. Applications are no longer being accepted for this year's program, so check back in 2014.
Nature Packs Project
Nature Packs is a fun activity for the whole family, and it’s free! Get out and explore the natural wonders of Bachechi Open Space by investigating birds, bugs, tracks and more. Nature Packs are ideal for five to ten year-olds, and preschool packs are available for three to four year-olds.
It’s easy. You just reserve a backpack that is full of all the things you need to explore including guides, hands-on supplies, and activity sheets. Packs are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Come in person during summer months on Saturdays from 9a.m.-12p.m., or call (505) 314-0398 to reserve a pack today.
Junior Naturalist Program
The Bernalillo County Extension Office offers free gardening classes for youth at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House. These classes cover a wide-range of topics that are fun and interactive including compost cake, bee dance, and aplant scavenger hunt. The classes are held after school and during summer break. To learn more, contact John Garlisch at Garlisch@ad.nmsu.edu.
Land Health Monitoring
Land Health Monitoring involves student in science-based education by investigation water quality through water chemistry stations in the East Mountains, and surveying aquatic insects. Additionally, students team up with Master Naturalist volunteers to also look at vegetation transects at Ojito de San Antonio. The data they collect is part of ongoing monitoring to learn how our lands change over time and to inform the Open Space staff how to best manage the natural resources in the East Mountains. To get your students involved in these monitoring events, contact the Open Space Coordinator.
RiverXchange is an innovative program that combines a year-long water resources curriculum with class partnerships through social networking technology. New Mexico fifth graders are partnered with “high tech pen pals” in another part of the U.S. or world to share what they are learning about critical water resources issues relating to their local river. Many of the RiverXchange fieldtrips take place on Open Space properties where they yearn about stormwater management, wetland ecology and participate in service projects. To get your 5th-grade class involved with RiverXchange, visit www.riverxchange.com.
Bachechi Open Space
Bernalillo County Open Space staff and Master Naturalist volunteers are currently developing lesson plans specific to Bachechi Open Space for teachers or homeschool groups. This coming school year, educators will be able to download lessons, rent out the Bachechi Environmental Education Building and have all the materials for the lesson available—for free. Stay-tuned for this upcoming opportunity.
Boy and Girl Scouts have been an important part of the Bernalillo County Open Space Program by completing a number of projects on Open Space lands. See the list of past projects below, and if you are a Scout interested in completing an Eagle Scout or Troop project on Open Space, call the Open Space Coordinator today.
Past Eagle Scout projects include the following:
· Cole Milhollin constructed a beautiful carved log seating area at Sabino Canyon that can now be enjoyed by visitors.
· Paul Alexander and Troop 505 removed Siberian elm seedlings and girdled larger elm trees at Bachechi North Star Arboretum. Additionally, they installed a number of birdhouses for ducks, Northern flickers, wrens and bluebirds.
· Life Scout Christian Fitzgerald and Troop 505 reclaimed approximately 0.75 miles of user-created social trials at Ojito de San Antonio.
· James Johnston with the help of Troop 97 implemented an innovative permaculture technique by constructing berms and tree wells to help naturally harvest water and slow down soil erosion at Ojito de San Antonio.
· Mason Fitzgerald and Troop 505 created bird habitat in the South Valley at Pajarito and the Gutierrez-Hubbell House by installing bird houses. Additionally, they helped remove invasive weeds in the Hubbell Demonstration Garden.
· Dylan Bality with assistance from Troop 395 built ADA accessible raised garden beds, installed bat houses, and removed graffiti at Sanchez Farm Open Space.
· James Gorley and Troop 286 built and installed information kiosks at Pajarito and Sanchez Farm Open Space
Every Year the county acknowledges a couple of stellar volunteers. In 2012, the Open Space Program acknowledges Master Naturalist Linda McDowell and Hubbell House Alliance Resident Caretaker Beva Sanchez-Padilla.
Linda McDowell was part of the first group of Master Naturalists in 2010 and continues to dedicate her time and effort in developing the Open Space program. In 2012, Linda helped to start the Nature Packs project alongside naturalist Amy Miller and AmeriCorps volunteer Heather Toman. Linda McDowell also inspired and helped organize the Families Exploring the Wonders of Nature workshop for parents. Bernalillo County thanks Linda for her contributions.
Beva Sanchez-Padilla has worked closely with the Open Space staff for three years as a representative of the Hubbell House Alliance. Beva brings creativity, inspiration and leadership to the management and program development at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House History and Cultural Center. Bernalillo County thanks Beva for her exceptional work.