September 2014

Land, Trails, Skies!


George Strickland



Change is inevitable. Whether you want it or not, it happens. Santa Fe now has a new courthouse, a Super Walmart and a train to Albuquerque, among other advances. However, for the most part, change seems to happen rather slowly in Santa Fe.


For those of us who love this area as it is, that’s a good thing. There is something timeless and beautiful that happens when one is able to sweep one’s eyes across the landscape and see the natural world as it was intended. In some cases, it happens effortlessly through benign neglect, but, in other situations, it More >

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust


Charlie O’Leary


The trail, long and narrow, winds its way around obstacles, skirts steep and exposed sections, reveals wonderful views of the surrounding landscape and gets my heart pumping. While I could be describing my favorite section of the Atalaya Trail, I’m actually describing my experience as the executive director at the Santa Fe Conservation Trust (SFCT).


Land is an important part of life in New Mexico, and conserving land is an issue that concerns us all. No other private, nonprofit organization in this community is as focused on conserving the open spaces in and around the city of Santa Fe More >

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust Story


Tom McCampbell


In 1993, when a handful of Santa Feans came together to form the Santa Fe Conservation Trust (SFCT or Trust), they knew little about conservation easements (CEs) nor a great deal about land trusts. What they did know was that, if they didn’t act quickly, one of Santa Fe’s most prominent natural landmarks, Atalaya Mountain, would be scarred by road cuts and ridge-top homes.


These founding board members, which included William deBuys, Margaret Gray, Stewart Udall, Lesley Barclay and Rosemary Romero, were led by a feisty and energetic retired banker named Dale Ball. While the group may have lacked More >

Conservation Easement 101


David Fleischaker



Many tools are used by land trusts and landowners to save land, but conservation easements (CE) are the most popular today. They preserve a land’s conservation values by permanently retiring some or all of the development rights of the property. The protected conservation values might include wildlife habitat, open space, scenic views, recreational assets or agricultural use.


The term “conservation easement” is often misunderstood. CEs need not allow public access to your property. But every CE must provide a “significant public benefit” to qualify for potential tax benefits and the participation of a land-trust organization such as the Santa More >

The Glorieta Freedom Ranch

Evolving from Conservation Easement to Land Stewardship


Brad and Kathy Holian Eleven years ago, we purchased nearly 500 acres of an old ranching operation on Glorieta Mesa to save it for wildlife and recreational uses. Working with Santa Fe Conservation Trust, we put two contiguous parcels of land into conservation easements, limiting future development to one 5-acre site on each easement.


As we explored the land we had bought, we began to see that the piñón and juniper forest was heavily overgrown, crowding into stands of tall ponderosa pines and creating a dangerous “ladder fuels” habitat. Ladder fuels create a pathway for low-intensity More >

The Galisteo Basin


Adam Vincent


The Galisteo Basin is one of New Mexico’s unheralded gems. The 730 square miles that stretch south of Santa Fe are rich with beautiful landscapes and archaeological treasures. It was home to some of the earliest settlements in New Mexico and is a crucial zone for the state’s wildlife. And it is under threat.


The basin’s biological importance cannot be underestimated. It has a varied geography that includes grasslands, forests, mesas, rolling hills, rocky escarpments, streams, small lakes and wetlands. Because it is sparsely populated and has expansive open space, the basin serves as an extremely important wildlife corridor More >

Commonweal Conservancy Developing Outdoor Amphitheater and Galisteo Basin Preserve Trails


Gretchen Grogan


Commonweal Conservancy, a nonprofit community-development and conservation organization, recently received $65,000 in grants for construction of a new gathering spot and for development of five miles of trails in the Galisteo Basin Preserve. The preserve is Commonweal’s 13,000-acre project located in Santa Fe County’s Galisteo Basin, an ecological region celebrated for its historic cultures, scenery and wildlife.


In June, PNM Resources Foundation announced that Commonweal would receive a $50,000 Power-Up Grant, one of four awarded to New Mexico nonprofit organizations in 2014. The foundation describes the initiative as an investment in the communities PNM serves across the state.


PNM’s grant to More >

Thornton Ranch Open Space


Claudia Meyer Horn


In the heart of the stunning Galisteo Basin, a 1,920-acre section of open space is in the process of being master-planned for educational and recreational uses. As the largest, contiguous open space currently owned by Santa Fe County, the Thornton Ranch Open Space property near the village of Galisteo is known for its quintessential high-desert landscape, breathtaking long vistas, wildlife habitat and cultural resources.


Land-conservation efforts in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to the purchase of the land by Santa Fe County and designated as open space. It was approved by voters and purchased with open-space bond More >

Celebration of a Legend – The Annual Stewart Udall Legacy Dinner


Mary Pat Butler

The community of the West and the broader collective human heart are better because of the life that Stewart Udall has lived.” (Robert Redford, 2002)


Few people can claim to have one dinner named in their honor, let alone having it become an annual event. But that’s just what happened when, in 2002, the Santa Fe Conservation Trust (SFCT or Trust) decided that a special dinner would be a fitting tribute to a man who had provided so much inspiration and leadership to the organization as one of the original board members.

Referring to Stewart Udall (1920-2010), author Bill deBuys More >

Stewart Udall and the Land

Excerpted from an interview with the former Secretary of the Interior conducted by Jack Loeffler on Oct. 12, 2004

JL: A place to start would be before the beginning: your family, going back as far as you can remember.


SU: That’s a good place to begin. I have said—I never quite defined it in my mind—that I thought I was fortunate because, in a sense, I was born on the frontier or at least on the last edge of the frontier in this little community. I think it has given me in my life a very wide range of experience. The community More >

Climate Change: Now


Melissa Houser


Climate change is emerging as the defining issue for conservation in the 21st century. With each passing year, evidence of changes in the Earth’s climate system and their impacts on natural systems becomes more profound. In addition to emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) from energy, industrial, agricultural and other activities, humans affect climate through changes in land use (activities taking place on land such as growing food, cutting trees or building towns) and land cover (the physical characteristics of the land surface, including crops, trees or concrete). Choices about land-use and land-cover patterns have affected and will continue More >

Landscape Renewal through Conservation


Jan-Willem Jansens


Each day, our natural and built environments are changing. In many places throughout northern New Mexico, landscapes are aging, losing their productivity, failing to heal damaged soils and plant communities and no longer serving our needs. Due to the increasing extremes of weather, ecological processes and dwindling funds to support proper stewardship, many places show signs of extreme runoff and flood events, accelerated soil erosion, reduced productivity, many invasive exotic plant species, intense wildfire and death and disappearance of wildlife.

Degraded landscapes that become marginally productive are abandoned and repurposed, often for residential, industrial, or mineral-extraction uses. Statistics show More >

Santa Fe Conservation Trust and Trails


Tim Rogers, SFCT Trails Program manager


Public trails are a central part of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust’s work. Not all land trusts emphasize trails, but SFCT pursues the development, maintenance and promotion of public trails as a high priority. Trails are a valuable community resource for recreation, health and economic development in our area. They also play an important educational role, directly increasing awareness of the value of preserved open spaces and acting as a shared tool for responsible land stewardship.

SFCT has been involved with public trails in Santa Fe since its inception in the early 1990s, when the Trust More >

2014 Santa Fe Outdoor Irrigation Rebate Programs

Take control of your irrigation system: reduce overwatering and reduce your water bill.


Did you know that up to 37 percent of the water used by Santa Fe homes is for outdoor watering? Santa Fe is in its fourth year of drought. Although the current situation has been improved by summer rains, the city of Santa Fe is encouraging customers to put every drop of water to work by ensuring that irrigation systems operate at peak efficiency to minimize overwatering, evaporation and runoff.


Increasing irrigation system efficiency and teaching property owners about best management practices result in healthier landscapes, less water waste, More >

Sustainable Santa Fe Update

Santa Fe’s Plastic Bag Ban

Ashley Zappe

Since the Reusable Bag Ordinance (popularly called the “Bag Ban”) was implemented last February, Santa Fe businesses have no longer offered free single-use plastic bags at the checkout. The purpose of the ordinance is to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags and promote sustainability through reuse of resources because reuse is more effective than recycling.

To evaluate and improve the ordinance, Sustainable Santa Fe has conducted two surveys of impacts on a sampling of retail establishments. The first survey was conducted in April, the second in June. The information gathered will be used in the More >

A New State Wildlife Management Area

The Mimbres River Ranch

The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC), a statewide, nonprofit land trust, has announced that, through a unique, public-private partnership with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), a 1,010-acre ranch property on the lower Mimbres River in southwestern New Mexico will become one of New Mexico’s newest state wildlife-management areas. The River Ranch will be owned and managed by the NMDGF for wildlife-compatible public recreation and educational purposes.

Funding for the acquisition of the ranch was made possible with a combination of public funds from the NMDGF’s Share with Wildlife Program, the New Mexico Office More >

Land’s End / Starting Again


Alejandro López


A recent drive down an unfamiliar lane in the Española Valley introduced me to a sprawling trailer park that I had no idea existed. As I made my way through this residential area, I marveled at how close each of the homes was to the next. I was simultaneously struck by how, despite the population density, there was a total absence of nearby public parks or walking trails, let alone access to farmlands or wilderness of any kind. I surmised that, if anyone wanted to get out and walk or experience the awesome landscape of northern New Mexico to More >

Newsbites – September 2014

Santa Fe Startup Weekend – Sept. 1921

Event to Recognize Social Entrepreneurs

Businessman/entrepreneur Alan Webber, former candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor of New Mexico, keynotes the second annual Santa Fe Startup Weekend at the Santa Fe Business Incubator. Startup weekends are dynamic entrepreneurial events where ideas are pitched, teams formed and startups created over one weekend of intense activity. The weekend culminates in a pitch competition on Sunday evening, where a group of judges chooses a winning team. In addition to providing support for traditional business startups, the weekend will offer specialized coaching, mentoring and other services for participants interested More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – September 2014

  Sept. 4, 10 am-1 pm UNM Health Sciences Center Job Fair HSC North Campus Upper Plaza Open to physicians, nurses, midwives, physician assistants, social workers, nutritionists, occupational therapists, health profession students, etc.


Sept. 6 TEDxABQ Popejoy Hall, UNM Full-day stage program featuring innovative, dynamic, homegrown ideas from people who are stimulating dialogue and putting ideas into action to improve communities. $65/$25., (


Sept. 8, 6-7:30 pm NM Economy Debate So. Broadway Cultural Center, 1025 Broadway Blvd. SE Live debate on the NM economy between former retired businessman/former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alan Webber and Paul Gessing, president of the politically conservative Rio Grande More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe – September 2014

  Sept. 3, 6-7 pm Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh James A. Little Theater Lecture/Dialogue with Geoffrey West. Presented by Creative SF, the SF Institute and St. John’s College. Hsieh is behind a major urban experiment to revitalize Las Vegas, NV’s downtown. $20. Lensic box office,


Sept. 6, 8:30 am-5 pm Teen Startup Challenge Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta Community collaborators and mentors will provide intensive training and business development support for NM’s teen entrepreneurs. Presented by the City of SF Economic Development Div. and the Regional Development Corp. Free, including meals. 505.955.6607,


Sept. 6, 4-6 pm Resistance – Film Screening CCA, 1050 More >