Here is an article that appeared in the Valley Courier on May 17:
Earth Days Honored at Valley Schools
Unpredictable springtime weather and busy schedules did not prevent schools and students from honoring Earth Days this year, although times and activities varied. Centauri Middle School held its Earth Day event last Friday featuring presentations by the Forest Service, community projects, and the Conejos Clean Water (CCW) and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC) nonprofits. These organizations conduct waste management programs and are providing education to students and the public about proper waste disposal and recycling to reduce waste buildups.
Kristina Crowder, Project Coordinator for the Ecosystem Council, noted that Centauri students and staff were delighted to recognize their peers in a brochure detailing last year’s illegal dump cleanups in Conejos County, a joint effort by the Council and CCW. “We ran out of these fast,” said Crowder, “and I’m glad these clean-ups had such a positive impact on the students.”
In addition to recreational and wildlife opportunities offered by public lands, Forest Service staffers Andrea Jones and Daniel Lopez reviewed job opportunities for students interested in pursuing careers with the agency. Other presentations at Centauri’s school gym were rounded out by Abe Rosenburg representing the Valleybound Antonito School and Community Garden, and Maury Grimm with Nature’s Table on foraging edible wild plants.
Principal Tyler Huffaker and CCW Coordinator Anna Lee Vargas organized Centauri’s Earth Day, involving over 100 students. Vargas, herself a graduate of Centauri, noted “it was great being back at my old middle school and to help educate on these problems.”
Centauri’s event added to a series of presentations to Valley schools, including some in April with the Center School District for their annual service days cleaning up trash around the town’s community park and canal, and Ortega Middle School in Alamosa, addressing waste management and recycling. All told, about 300 middle school students in these various events received the Earth Day message or participated in some way to help out.
Following a successful program startup in Conejos and Costilla counties, a second waste management grant from USDA is making it possible to extend services to Alamosa and Saguache counties. A clean-up is being planned for one of Alamosa’s worst dump sites, and the potential for transfer stations is also under review.
Serving the north end of the Valley, the extended program also addresses Saguache County’s landfill operation which has been costly to operate. Engineering assistance to the program is being provided by Eric Toledo of Rural Community Assistance Corporation.
Also noted was the Ecosystem Council’s participation in Adam State’s annual Earth Fest, including the river clean-up covered in an earlier Courier article.
SLV Ecosystem Council Sponsored Events
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act 1964-2014
Public Outreach Program : The History of Wilderness in the San Luis Valley
SLVEC has an active program that is expanding on earlier collaborations with the Rio Grande National Forest, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the Bureau of Land Management, San Luis Valley Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlfie Service, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and ScSeed. Now, through a grant from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, we are able to present educational, multi- media presentations to SLV middle and high school students. The program lays out the history of wilderness preservation, the importance of wilderness, and opportunities for enjoyment and employment in wilderness. SLVEC will also be compiling the local history of wilderness preservation in the Valley.
Check back for more details as we implement this program.
2014 FALL EVENTS
THANKS to EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT FOR THESE EVENTS!!
Mountain Poets Present Crestone Program
Poets of renown will gather and present a program in honor of the 50th year anniversary of the Wilderness Act at the Crestone Community Center (the old Crestone school) on Saturday, October 4 from 7 to 9 pm. Headlining the event are Art Goodtimes and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, two nationally acclaimed Colorado poets. The River City Nomads, a poetry ensemble from Salida and other regional and local poets will round out the evening.
This literary night is cosponsored by the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, a local grass-roots organization whose charge is to protect, restore, and enhance the SLV public lands and the Friends of the Crestone Library.
Art Goodtimes has exhaustive credentials. Here are few highlights: born in San Francisco from an immigrant Italian father and a sixth generation Californian, spent seven years in a Catholic seminary, earned a B.A. in English from San Francisco State University (1970), and got a lifetime teaching credential from U.C. Berkeley Extension (1978), currently serving a fifth term on the San Miguel County Board of Commissioners as Colorado’s only Green Party partisan-elected official, award-winning member of dozens of boards, commissions and committees on the local, regional, state and even national levels, executive board member and former president of the Telluride Institute, named the first Western Slope Poet Laureate at the first annual Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival in Carbondale.
Art’s last book wasAs If the World Really Mattered(La Alameda Press, Albuquerque, 2007), which received critical acclaim inBloomsbury Review(Denver) andPoetry Flash(San Francisco). In 2013 Western Eye Press (Sedona, Arizona) will publish a chapbook,Looking South to Lone Cone.
Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer “is a chanteuse of the heart,” says poet Art Goodtimes. Trommer and Goodtimes co-host Telluride’s monthly Poetry Club. She served two terms as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate and worked ten years as director of the Telluride Writers Guild. She has authored and edited thirteen books, and her work has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, in O Magazine, on back alley fences, in her children’s lunchboxes, and on rocks she leaves around town. She won the ACC Writer’s Studio Poetry Contest in 2011 and 2013.
The public is invited to this poetic evening and refreshments will be offered. A donation of 10 dollars will be greatly appreciated. Proceeds go to SLV Ecosystem Council and the Friends of Crestone Library.
Day Hike - San Luis Hills- Manassa
Saturday, November 15, 2014
We day hiked into the San Luis Hills Wilderness Study Area near Manassa as part of our ongoing celebration to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
We celebrated the 34 years the study area has been protected in conjunction with acknowledgement of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
The San Luis Hills Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the only stand-alone wilderness study area in the San Luis Valley and consists of 10,883 acres that were recommended for wilderness in 1980 by the Bureau of Land Management. This area is part of a citizen’s wilderness proposal that advocates for landscape protection connectivity in the Pinon Hills, including Flattop, a large roadless area that lies just north of the San Luis Hills WSA.
There are two smaller areas in the SLV that are also recommended for wilderness by the BLM and are adjacent to the existing Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area.
The San Luis Hills WSA lies within an area known as North Pinon Hills which are a part of a large south central geographic area in the SLV consisting of the volcanic San Luis, Fairy and Brownie Hills. These volcanic hills bracket the Rio Grande from Las Sauces to the New Mexico state line.
The San Luis Hills WSA is an island of wild in these arid hills and serves as a refuge for plant and animal communities that are challenged to survive in harsh, high altitude conditions and is also populated with multiple cultural sites.
The view from the top looking south into New Mexico
From the top looking to the northest to Mt. Blanca and the Rio Grande
Heading up the rocky trail
Lunch at the top
Looking north from the WSA into BLM Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC's)
Wilderness Paint Out - Creede was held on September 27, 2014
Visitors checking out the painters at the Park Corrals, 10 miles west of Creede, Colorado on 149