Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Land of Enchantment

The last time I was in New Mexico, my then-Baltimore-based AT through-hiker pal Moon Monster and I were passing through on I-40, feverishly trying to outrun a winter storm. So, it was awesome to head back this week, to the northern part of the state, where I've never spent any time. Earlier this week, I was a "volunteer role model" (heh) to over thirty minority high school juniors and seniors, and college freshmen and sophomores interested in careers related to the environment. I know I've got more than one students' dream job, but if working in places like these are part of the job description, well, a career where field work is the norm isn't too shabby, either.

Pecos National Historical Park, from the Forked Lightning Ranch House
I spent two days hanging out with the students and their awesome instructors (from the USGS and USFS) as they tested water quality and flow, and identified fauna, aquatic macro invertebrates, and birds in Pecos National Historical Park and the Santa Fe National Forest.* Seriously, who knows what I would have turned into if I did a summer program like this when I was 18, rather than sweat to death selling concessions at the premier water park of northwestern New Jersey! I'd be the next John Muir! Or a dirtbag skier.... hmmm....

Netting macro invertebrates for identification.
My fave tree: Aspens! Santa Fe National Forest

* Disclaimer:  We went to a waste water treatment plant, too, but I'll spare you the pics. Thank me later.


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