LOS ALAMOS, NM — The healthiest county in the nation – Los Alamos, New Mexico – is also one of the most earth-friendly as the county celebrates National Earth Week (beginning April 22) and National Park Week (April 20–28) with many free, family-friendly events including an opportunity to replant trees destroyed in the Las Conchas Fire of 2011 and a chance to “Dig Nature” with the Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s (PEEC) big Earth Day Festival, among other activities.
As part of a long term effort by the Forest Service, the Española Ranger District is looking for up to 50 volunteers to replant more than 10,000 Douglas Fir Trees at the base of Pajarito Mountain that were destroyed by the 2011 Las Conchas Fire.
The Española Ranger District will be taking reservations for April 12 and 13; and April 19 and 20, weather dependent. Volunteers will be asked to work in teams of two to plant approximately 222 one-year-old trees per acre for 56 acres. Hours will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information on volunteering, contact Jennifer Saublette, District Volunteer Coordinator, at 505-753-7331 or jsasublett(at)fs(dot)fed(dot)us.
The Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is hosting their biggest event of the year – the 13th annual Earth Day Festival – on April 20 beginning at 10 a.m. with this year’s theme, “Dig Nature.” The family friendly event will feature hands-on activities including a stream table, “Walk Like a Wolf” booth, and the grand opening of the PEEC’s “Mud Pie Kitchen.”
“Each year we see as many as 1,000 visitors at our Earth Day Festival which has grown to become a great community event designed to educate but also to entertain,” said PEEC Director, Katie Watson. “We encourage kids to get outside and, as our theme expresses, to ‘dig nature’ with the many trails and outdoor offerings that are unique to Los Alamos.”
The free Earth Day Festival also includes entertainment by Renaissance style group, Clan Tyker, at 11 a.m., followed by live music by street band Hill Stompers at noon; and a giant puppet show by Wise Fool at 1 p.m. Community groups will also share earth friendly activities and practices. The Earth Day Festival is sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank, Los Alamos Main Street, PAC 8, Atomic City Transit, and LA County Environmental Services.
The following day on April 21, the PEEC’s Earth Day film, “Dirt! The Movie,” will offer viewers a creative and insightful look at dirt including what it’s composed of, how it’s used and why it’s important to protect. The free movie will be shown at 6 p.m. at the Reel Deal Theater in Los Alamos.
The PEEC, in coordination with Mesa Public Library, is also featuring a free 3D photographic exhibit titled, “Underground of Enchantment” exhibit. “Underground of Enchantment” showcases the beautiful formations and microbiology of the world-class Lechuguilla Cave in southeastern NM, dubbed the “Jewel of the Underground,” which has restricted access due to its fragile ecosystem. See the exhibit at Mesa Public Library between 4 and 5:30 p.m., or at the PEEC between 5 and 6:30 p.m. through May 29. For more information on upcoming PEEC events during Earth Week visit pajaritoeec.org/programs/earthday/earthday2013.php or call 505-662-0460.
On April 25, hear award winning author/photographer David Grant Noble speak about his research into the history and archaeology of the SW. Noble’s photographs of ruins, rock art and landscapes have been exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S. Noble will speak at Mesa Public Library from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Visit losalamosnm.us/library for details.
Finally, Bandelier National Monument has a number of events during National Park Week, April 20–28. Entry fees will be waived that week (April 22–26) from Monday through Friday. Camping fees still apply, as do weekend fees. A list of events during National Park Week begins on April 20 at Bandelier including:
- Crafts demonstration with Caroline Lovato – from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Santo Domingo Pueblo native Caroline Lovato will demonstrate how to craft native jewelry and one of a kind turkey feather blankets. The demonstration will be repeated on April 27 and 28.
- Night sky discussion – on the evening of April 20, from 8 to 10 p.m., get acquainted with the dark night skies over Los Alamos with a multimedia discussion and night sky telescope viewing, weather permitting. Takes place at Juniper Campground.
- Guided hike of Burnt Mesa Trails – on April 21 from 8 a.m. to noon, join Bandelier Trails Program leader Dale Coke for a guided 4-mile hike along the Burnt Mesa Trails. The hike is moderate in difficulty and includes light rock climbing. Registration is not required, but calling ahead is recommended. Please bring snack, water, comfortable hiking shoes and sunscreen. Park entry fees apply; however, the hike is free. Call 505-672-3861×517 for details.
- Flint knapping workshop – Santo Domingo Pueblo natives Harvey and Priscilla Abeyta will lead a workshop on flint knapping (making arrowheads) and the art of jewelry making on April 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Pottery demonstration – join Dolores Toya of Jemez Pueblo for a pottery demonstration on April 26.
For more information on Bandelier visit nps.gov/band or call 505-672-3861.