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Get the latest on skiing and snowboarding conditions B6
Thursday, March 29, 201
BY JEssicA DYER
Journal Staff Writer
inda McDowell can’t help herself. When she meets a kindred spirit in the great outdoors whether she’s snowshoeing or hiking she often finds herself delivering the same spiel. “If they’re talking about how much they love the bosque or love being in the mountains, I always say, ‘Do you know there’s a program you can go into (to study that)?” McDowell said. That would be Bernalillo County’s Master Naturalist Program and McDowell, a retired teacher, is a proud graduate of its first class. En route to her certificate, McDowell completed 55 hours of education and training on everything from hydrology to geology. Unlike similar programs around the country that charge, Bernalillo County’s version doesn’t cost
The Tingley Beach Trek is back
The second annual race through the bosque in which participants complete odd tasks along the way will take place April 21. It features a 1K “Over Easy” version for kids, the “Over Medium” 2K and the “Scrambled” 4K distance. Find additional details about the event and the registration process by visiting the Journal’s Fit
website at ABQjournalfit. corn.
The event is listed under the “Active Local” category.
participants any money. But
to reciprocate, participants must devote at least 40 hours to a service project. Many, like McDowell, spend far longer than that because they PHOTOS COURTESY OF COLLEEN MCROBERTS become so immersed in the work. to nature at Carlito Springs as part of Bernalillo County’s Joan Brown discusses the deeper connections we all have really “This has Master Naturalist Program. reconnected me with what a we have here, the treasure environment here,” McDowell said. Bernalillo County began the program in 2010 as a three-year pilot project, but coordinator Colleen McRoberts said it has proven so popular that it is sure to continue beyond this year. There is hope that other entities will begin similar programs throughout the state, McRoberts said. The Bernalillo County program currently accepting applications for the 2012 session typically has more interested candidates than spots. The application procedure involves an interview process that helps whittle the pool down to the final 25 participants. Students don’t need to be science experts but are expected to have some interest in the natural world. “We hope that people who come into the program have already shown some kind of prior passion or interest in the natural world because that means they’ll probably continue on,” McRoberts said. “We really see these master naturalists, once they graduate, they’re mentors in a way, a resource in our community.” Between classroom sessions and the hands-on lessons that take place at Open Space properties, participants learn a little bit about a wide range of topics, including hydrology, geology, ecology, Hydrologist Christian Leieune soils, and flora and fauna of helps Master Naturalist train New Mexico. They also dabble ees identify benthic macro in environmental education invertebrates, or aquatic and interpretation as well as insects, during training as nature journaling. part of the Bernalillo County The courses are taught program. by hand-selected experts in s fields, often on a the variou volunteer basis. s. Participants “We get top-notch Naturalist Rob Yaksich points out animal tracks to a group of trainee
GO! BRIEFS Ski the bumps in Santa Fe
The 24th Annual Jeff Gladfelter Memorial Bump Run will take place Saturd at Ski Santa Fe. Skiers and snowboarders of all ages will compete for medals as they are judged I their performance navigat the moguls on the ski area’ “Slalom” run. The event runs from 11 a to 3 p.m. Registration for the cont a memorial to a local photographer known for building snow caves atop the mountain above Ski Santa Fe begins at 8 a.n at the lodge. The fee is $20 (which includes a T-shirt). entrants must also have a ticket to participate. For more information, c 505-982-4429.
County’s Naturalist program an immersion in the science of the outdoors
Support wildiand firefighters in rui
The public is invited to j a 5-kilometer run and wa] on Sunday to help raise ft to support the families of wildland firefighters who their lives fighting wildfi: and to help firefighters injured in the line of duty The inaugural 5K WildI Firefighter Fun Run and Walk kicks off at 10 a.m. a National Hispanic Cultur Center, 1701 Fourth NW i: Albuquerque. Participan will run or walkalong th nearby bosque path. Registration takes plac onsite from 8 a.m.-10 a.m Sunday. The fee is $25.
Bandelier seeks image for pass
Bandelier National Monument is calling on photographers and artis from around the countr3 submit work for display the park’s 2013 annual p The park will be accep submissions through Ap Park Superintendent J Lott says if Bandelier ha
See GO! BRIEFS on
See MASTER on PAGE B6
ion and training, learn in the Master Naturalist Program receive 55 hours of educat wide variety of fields. ing from experts In a
Master Naturalist program fuels outdoor passion
nstructors all the time,” said tephanie Long, a graduate )f the 2010 program. “It’s not omebody who knows a little Mt about the topic shows up md presents a class. It’s like me of the best university evel survey classes you can ake.” Now retired, Ricardo vila-Carbajal was teaching lementary school at the time te went through the program n 2010 and said becoming a Iaster Naturalist made him )etter at his job, especially vhen it came to science urriculum and creative ‘field rip ideas. Also, he added with a augh, “I was really weak n identifying plants and inimals seriously. It is eally exciting now to be .ble to walk into a park or omething and I can identify lants in there.” While Bernalillo County .oesn’t charge for the Master aturalist curriculum, it Participants in Bernalillo County’s Master Naturalist program receive 55 hours f training and ets repaid via participants’ complete a 40-hour service project. Pictured from the program’s first graduating class are, york on service projects. from left, Linda McDowell, Ricardo Avila-Carbajal and Stephanie Long. Avila-Carbajal, for xample, helped with the population at Bernalillo’s onOjito de San Antonio, area. Her overarching goal ounty’s Junior Master Ojito de San Antonio Open conducting research to was to help allay some of ardener program, while Space determine the best way to the fears people have about ong studied the bear McDowell also focused control poison ivy in the spending time outdoors.
Master Naturalist program
Bernalillo County is accepting applications through April 30 for its 2012 Master Naturalist program. The program is intense, requiring 55 hours of training including classroom sessions and field studies followed by a 40-hour service project. Classes will take place every Thursday night and every other Saturday in June and July. Students have approximately a year after to complete their service project. For an application, visit bernco.gov/openspace and click on “Master Naturalist Program” link on the left side of the page. For any questions, contact Colleen McRoberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-0398.
“My real passion is bringing families and very young children into nature, (addressing) the nature deficit disorder we’re experiencing (because) technology and fear are
keeping families and yoimg children from connecting and really becoming future guardians of these area,” McDowell said. Langan said the program’s first-year students had leeway in picking their project, but the county has since refined the system so that participants have more direction and are steered toward jobs that will assist Bernalillo County or sites like the Rio Grande Nature Center or Sandia Mountain Natural History Center. Examples of Master Naturalist projects developed to help county Open Space include an assessment of tree health at Bachechi Open Space, water quality testing and vegetation monitoring within the county’s East Mountains properties, and the development of a naturalist curriculum for fifth-graders visiting Open Space. “Other states charge a lot of money to be in this program, and we’re providing it for free,” McRoberts said. “They get a lot out of it, but they really do give us a lot by being really dedicated volunteer. It’s really a win-win.”
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