May 2013

NM’s Solar Economic Development Potential


Turns out New Mexico, despite the recession, is a grand place to be involved in the solar industry. Aside from 310 days of sunny weather a year and broad public support, New Mexico sports a specialized workforce and proximity to national labs and university resources. A recent study conducted by the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) found exceptional growth potential in the solar industry sector, particularly in Albuquerque. Bernalillo County already has an interconnected industrial ‘cluster’ of solar services. The state’s small but well-trained solar-technician workforce is growing, and both UNM and CNM offer programs to train students in renewable-energy More >

Developing Sustainable Regional Tourism

Santa Fe and Beyond


Maria Boccalandro and Daniel Mirabal



What exactly is Sustainable Tourism?


A sustainable activity denotes “doing the right thing” for the people, the planet and the economy (the “triple bottom line”). Sustainable Tourism activities avoid damage to the environment, enhance the local economy, and—perhaps most importantly—responsibly promote the culture and natural resources of a location as tourist attractions.


What is the aim of Sustainable Tourism?


The aim is to ensure that tourism development becomes a positive experience for the local people and businesses that rely on tourism, and that it respectfully supports the richness of a location’s traditions and culture. The focus of More >

How to Develop an Effective Tourism Cluster in Santa Fe


What is a tourism cluster?


A tourism cluster is a group of activities that complement each other and make the tourism experience pleasurable as well as memorable and inspire the tourist to tell others about the uniqueness of the trip. This also fosters people’s desire to return to the location that has given them so much pleasure.1


What activities are involved with sustainable agri-tourism?


The idea is for a tourist to be able to experience being on an organic farm and learning how food is produced. In sustainable agri-tourism, it is important that the tourist understands the value of producing healthy local food—food More >

EVERYDAY GREEN: Effective Tourism Networks

Considerations for Tourism Planners


Susan Guyette



Regionalism sets the context for effective tourism. Since visitors tend to spend several days and look for a variety of engaging activities and amenities, a connecting perspective on the part of tourism providers is essential. Providing information—before a tourist’s arrival, during the visit and after departure—on how local resources are linked for the vacation experience contributes to a visitor’s comfort level.


Through a true partnership, both rural and urban communities in a region realize a gain by providing opportunities for visitors to expand itineraries and spend more time and money. Additionally, linked networks of small-scale businesses More >

Is Sustainable Tourism Possible When There Is Poverty and Unemployment?


Maria Boccalandro


Answer: Yes it is, and we have proof.

We want to share a few examples of how sustainable tourism is being developed in Central and South America, because in many ways rural New Mexico has similar characteristics. New Mexico has beautiful natural environments, a rich and diverse cultural heritage and a large volume of tourists that visit the state’s major cities. Even though these visitors spend money on products and services, severe socio-economic challenges for the communities still exist. There is poverty, school dropouts, petty crime and lack of jobs for the youth, who end up leaving in More >

Sustainable Tourism Workshop

The Carbon Economy Series


Iginia Boccalandro


These articles by Maria Boccalandro and Daniel Mirabal were derived from a two-day Sustainable Tourism workshop held in January, 2013. Presented by the nonprofit Carbon Economy Series in partnership with Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), the workshop was opened by an introduction from Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, who spoke of the need to attract more visitors during the slower months, and of rebranding Santa Fe to highlight the natural beauty and health benefits of the area to attract a younger crowd.

Carbon Economy Series workshops (eight this year) are based on “triple-bottom-line” principles and practices designed More >

Creative Santa Fe

Strengthening Santa Fe’s Creative Economy


Laura Carpenter



In April of 2012, Creative Santa Fe (CrSF) hosted a workshop on creative and cultural tourism with special emphasis on the downtown Plaza. Tension arose when a member of a long-term Santa Fe family and a city councilor expressed strong conflicting convictions about whom the Plaza needed to serve. The long-term resident wanted Santa Fe to be the center of the town’s activities as it had been while she was growing up, and the city councilor emphasized the importance of tourism for Santa Fe’s economy. Both valid points.


Then Eddie Friel, a visiting expert invited by More >

Santa Fe Creative Tourism


Santa Fe Creative Tourism, a program of the city of Santa Fe Arts Commission, works with artists and arts businesses to develop and promote workshops that allow visitors to experience Santa Fe’s unique culture in a hands-on fashion.


The program was created as a result of Santa Fe’s 2005 appointment to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and builds upon the successful 2008 Santa Fe International Conference on Creative Tourism, a first-of-its-kind effort that brought together a global community of tourism professionals, creative thinkers and UNESCO Creative Cities representatives to consider a redefinition of the travel experience. Over 375 delegates, panelists More >

Santa Fe Watershed Association Brings True Green Change to the Hospitality Industry


More than one million tourists visit Santa Fe each year. They are welcomed and are an important part of the economy. However, they put considerable pressure on environmental resources—particularly water.


Our hotels are such an important economic driver in Santa Fe, but due to the nature of the business, there’s tremendous waste associated with the day-to-day operations,” says Felicity Broennan, executive director of the Santa Fe Watershed Association. In a proactive response to those impacts, the association applied for and was awarded an 18-month grant (through May 2014) from the US Environmental Protection Agency for a pilot project: the Santa More >

Hotels Respond to the Green Tourist Market


Victoria Erhart



Locals may complain about the crowds, lack of downtown parking and of out-of-state drivers who insist on trying to navigate narrow Upper Canyon Road in huge SUVs, but Santa Fe is a tourist destination.


When the national economy tanked in 2008 and the tourists stayed home, Santa Fe’s hospitality and restaurant industry took a huge hit. The Santa Fe Visitors and Convention Bureau estimates that, in 2011 (the last year for which statistics are available), tourism brought in $350 million to the local economy. The hospitality industry employs almost 16 percent of the total county workforce.


Santa Fe is More >

People Do Care Where They Live


Ray Powell, M.S., D.V.M.

New Mexico State Land Commissioner


People do care where they live. Because of this, the quality, health and accessibility of the natural world have a significant intrinsic and economic worth to local communities. Combined with the value of the natural services provided to a local community by the surrounding environment, we have a strong economic base that will help ensure a viable and vibrant local economy over generations.

In New Mexico there is a long and proud tradition of being connected to the land. Our citizens take pride in their agricultural roots and their shared daily interactions with the More >

High Peaks Deep Roots Cooperative Launches its Second Season


Arturo Sandoval



Last month the High Peaks Deep Roots (HPDR) Ecotourism Cooperative in Truchas, New Mexico launched its second season with a medicinal plant tour guided by curandera Sabinita Herrera. Now in her 80s and slowed a bit by various ailments, Herrera nevertheless was eager to share her knowledge of wild, locally grown herbs and plants used for centuries by Nuevo Mexicanos to heal illnesses, aches, cuts and bruises. An eager throng of 15 people crowded around her tiny shop, attached to her home on a high mesa below the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Herrera learned about the healing power of herbs from More >

Reflections on the Río Grande del Norte


Claire Tiwald and Allegra Huston


The wild and beautiful Río Grande del Norte, designated one of the nation’s first Wild and Scenic Rivers by act of Congress in 1968, officially became part of the Río Grande del Norte National Monument on March 25, 2013. Rising in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado, it runs through New Mexico into Texas, and finally into the Gulf of Mexico. Yet only 6 percent of the river crosses the Colorado state line.


Water dries up in arid country, but controversy over it, never,” wrote Sam Bingham in The Last Ranch. Water levels in the Río More >

Rising to Meet the Dawn


Victoria Erhart



New Mexico’s Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is known around the world. Another, lesser-known opportunity is the almost silent experience of ballooning over the canyons and arroyos north of Española. Floating across a landscape absent of human habitation, separated by the thinnest of membranes from the birds, rabbits and coyotes witnessing the flight, is a meaningful and memorable experience.


Ballooning was invented in the 18th century. Johnny Lewis, owner of Santa Fe Balloons, has been around since the beginnings of modern recreational ballooning in the mid-1960s, and has taken people over the graced landscape of northern New Mexico for many years. More >

Tourism Newsbites


Albuquerque Makes Fodor’s List of Top 25 Places to Go

Fodor’s Travel has named Albuquerque among the Top 25 Places to Go in 2013. Fodor’s editors chose the city as a recommended travel destination because of its high value for visitors. The editors say the city is an affordable getaway for nature lovers and families. Fodor’s spotlights the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the ABQ BioPark and two local lodging properties—Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, and the Hotel Andaluz. Fodor’s also mentions the Luminaria Tour at the holidays as a special time to visit. Albuquerque’s visibility on the AMC show More >

Agritourism in New Mexico


Alice Loy


Agriculture has always been a precursor to culture; the soils, topography and precipitation of a region have long anchored the seasonal traditions and flavors of a region’s people. Historically, we were grounded, culturally, socially, communally, in the soils of our places. Today, having mostly commoditized our food, we now find ourselves unmoored: we are free to buy oranges in August and tomatoes in January. We can purchase kiwis from New Zealand and beef from China. Grocery store shelves across the country are alike; sameness has come to dominate our agriculture. And increasingly, we yearn for that which is unique—the places, More >

Taos Cultural Farm Visits


Ursula Beck


There is no doubt that the experience of living in northern New Mexico is unique and is of interest to visitors from all over the world. In 2007 a diverse group of neighbors—small farmers, ranchers and cultural entrepreneurs—got together and formed an association: Taos Cultural Farm Visits (TCFV). Their intent was to offer multidimensional immersion experiences for visitors who are sincerely interested in the history and ways of life of northern NM. The visitors are treated as guests, not merely tourists.


TCFV has since evolved into a consortium with over 30 members—all land-based farmers with at least three acres More >

The Earth Chronicles Project

The Intersection between Art, Environment and Culture


Fran Hardy


My work as an artist has always been about the magic and mystery of the natural world. I have felt that important sustaining influence throughout my childhood. The last four years of challenging economic times, and watching places in the natural world that I have loved changing beyond recognition, have made me want to find a way to speak up about what we can do creatively to preserve ecology and culture.


I have collaborated with my husband, filmmaker Bob Demboski, to create documentaries. The Earth Chronicles Project has taken us on a challenging, More >



The Fight Over New Mexico’s Green Building Codes

Last month the New Mexico Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 decision by the state Construction Industries Commission to delete green building codes put in place by former Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration to protect consumers and the environment. The codes had been adopted after an 18-month comprehensive public process that included input from a variety of different interests. The court said the commission failed to provide reasons for changing the construction standards and ordered the case to be returned to the commission, appointed by current Gov. Susana Martinez, for reconsideration and a new More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – May 2013



May 2, 5:30-7:30 pm


Green Drinks


Hotel Andaluz, 125 2nd St. NW


Network with people interested in local business, clean energy and other green issues. Speakers’ topic: Albuquerque’s new recycling program and the state of recycling in NM. Hosted by the Albuquerque & Rio Rancho Green Chamber of Commerce. Info: 505.244.3700,


May 3, 5:30-7:30 pm


Culture’s Night Out


Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Pottery Room, 2301 12th St. NW


Learn about the groundbreaking work of young Native artists. Food, art activities, door prizes and more. Party on the Patio afterward. 505.724.3539,


May 4 Exhibition Opening


Curanderismo: Healing and Ritual


Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, UNM Campus


Exhibit focuses on the traditional More >