News from Trek Country - Spring 2021

Page 1

News fromTrek Country

Photo from Bachechi Open Space in Albuquerque, NM

Inside:

Native Species on Your Table

ABQ Area Public Lands Plan an adventure

p. 8-9

Cooking with NM delicacies

p. 14-15

Trekker Profiles

Summer 2021 Filling fast!

p. 10-11

Read about two Gulch alums

www.cottonwoodgulch.org facebook.com/cottonwoodgulch @cottonwoodgulch

* Printed on Recycled Paper with Soy Ink

p. 16-17


A Note From the Director There is a gap in time between reader (you) and writer (in this case, me). Normally—pre-pandemic normal—that gap is not a big problem. Even though it takes a number of weeks to write, edit, format, proofread, print, package, and mail a newsletter like this, I can usually say things about the future like “we are excited about upcoming spring school treks!” or “I look forward to seeing you at a mass gathering like Rendezvous this summer!” with some degree of certainty that those events will happen. This year, as we all know, such prognostication is unwise. Instead we are left to ask: how do we even begin thinking about the future? And in the face of new information and changing regulations every day, how do we muster the energy to begin again? On one hand, there is no need to begin again, because we never fully stopped. Our Students In Wilderness Initiative (SIWI) continues with local schools, albeit virtually; we are leading small, outdoor, in-person programs with other school partners; we ran a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew in the fall; we’ve made improvements to Basecamp and found new partnerships like the Navajo-Hopi COVID Relief Effort and Chizh for Cheii; and we are preparing for 2021 programs. We have been plenty busy. At the same time, we can’t pretend the future will be recognizable. So I have been asking: how do we create a space, as an organization and as individuals, to begin again, and feel good about it? Luckily, the Gulch is good at this. In many ways, it’s baked into our ethos— our outdoor programs are cyclical and seasonal. Bells in the morning, a campfire at night. More importantly, the Gulch provides a rite of passage for many young people, who leave home—whether for a day or many weeks—and find themselves at a new beginning, ready to discover things that change the direction of their lives. In trying to think and write about the future, I found some stories from you, our alumni, supporters, and partners. We are creating a strategic plan for the Gulch, and as part of that process we asked for feedback, and many of you responded. Your answers were remarkable, and I would like to share a few to help us remember how the Gulch helps us find a new beginning:

“Overall, I think my sense of CGE has always been of coming home. Home to the state I was born and raised in, so that kind of homecoming. Home to the expansiveness of the high desert that is like a version of my soul. Home to a familiar place that continues to reveal itself. Home to friends who have become family.” —Albuquerque Teacher, School Partner

“The Trek was life-changing: I became a cultural anthropologist and have spent my career helping diverse storytellers tell stories that invite audiences to see the world from other people's points of view.” Turquoise Trail Trekker, 1960s

“The Gulch started my passion for cooking, growing food, and adventuring outdoors, and has given me my baseline of what really matters and what true happiness is: great community, doing rewarding physical work/exertion, and not obsessing over current events.” Mountain Desert Trekker, 2010s

“Cottonwood Gulch catalyzed a lifelong interest in and involvement in environmental protection and policy, especially public lands.” Turquoise Trail Trekker, 1960s

“I learned an enormous amount about my own physical and emotional limits as a trekker. I was not confident in my body as an adolescent, but became much more so through the backpacking and under the mentorship of my staff.” Prairie Trekker, 1990s

The last year has been bizarre and difficult, for our organization and for many people in our community. In the following pages, you’ll read about people we have lost, and challenges we continue to face, but you’ll also find a theme of optimism and confidence that we are not, individually or organizationally, destined to be victims of an unknown future. Gulch programs this year will look a little different in all the ways our lives look different than they did a year ago. But our staff is excited, our Basecamp is gorgeous and well-rested, and we are ready to get kids outside. Like we’ve done for 95 years, we are creating a space where young people can begin again. I hope you’ll join us, in whatever way you can. Jordan Stone, Executive Director 2 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021


Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions sponsors educational wilderness expeditions and outdoor programs in the American Southwest that promote personal growth, scientific, historic, and cultural discovery as well as a knowledgeable environmental ethic among all those who participate. Board of Trustees Greg Barker, Chair Scott Pierce, Vice-Chair Marjorie Kittle, Treasurer Tom Hyde, Secretary Lawrence Hooper Carrie House Theresa Kavanaugh Alice Kodama Dena Leibman Jamie Munsey Fred Peter Stephen Sedam Austin Troy Honorary Board Members Larry Barker John Bloch Jameson French Tom Henio Henry Hooper Molly Madden Wenda Trevathan

A Note From the Board Cottonwood Gulch is in the process of writing a new strategic plan. A committee led by former Interim Executive Director Bonnie Chavez and including board members, staff, former trekkers, and teachers has spent the last several months creating a planning framework and reaching out to a wide range of stakeholders to solicit input that will be critical to writing this plan. Among the more than 200 respondents are former trekkers, trek parents, local teachers, school program parents, former and current board members, staff and other community members. As they process and organize survey results, the strategic planning committee is distilling critical information about what the CGE community values and wants to see preserved or changed. The committee will work with the board to refine the Gulch’s vision and values, which will ultimately inform a written plan, finalized by May. We are tackling key questions about the future of the Gulch, such as the geographic reach of educational programming, the diversity of staff and trekkers, the management of Basecamp, the role of school programming, how to grow and foster a cohesive Gulch community, and much more. Thank you to everyone who has provided input; if you haven’t yet, we’d love to hear from anyone interested in the future of our beloved Gulch. Get involved by contacting Jordan Stone, Executive Director at director@cottonwoodgulch.org. Greg Barker, Board Chair Stephen Sedam and Austin Troy, Board Members and Strategic Planning Committee Members

Administration Jordan Stone Executive Director Matt Baker-White, Program Director Contract Courses Tori Baker-White, Program Director, Open Enrollment Austin Kessler, Associate Director Field Operations Lezle Williams Office Manager To contact the Gulch: www.cottonwoodgulch.org officemanager@cottonwoodgulch.org From June to mid-August: 659 HWY 612 Thoreau, New Mexico 87323 505-862-7503 From late August to the end of May: 9223 4th St NW Albuquerque, NM 87114 505-248-0563

SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 3


Saying Goodbye... Gracie Cloud BY: TOM HENIO Grace or “Gracie”, those that were close to her knew as Gracie, Aunty Gracie or Grandma Gracie, died on December 2, 2020. Grace went home peacefully in her sleep from complications of her health. Our mother, aunty Grace was born on December 27, 1933, being the second oldest born of four siblings, (all girls) to her late parents Tom and Ada A. Silversmith Henio. Her Navajo clans was Deesh cheeni dine’e, Start of Red Streak People and born for Tooh baz’nii aazi dine, Two who came to the Water and Naa’kaii dine’e ,Daa’Bi’cheii, Mexican clan, maternal side and Kin yah’aani, Daa’Bi’ na’lii, Towering house clan, paternal side. At the family homestead near Thoreau, she raised her son, Jefferson, and her four grandchildren—Jacqualynn, Elojia, Nicholas, and Walter—that she dearly loved with all her heart. We knew this she always talked about them, proud of what they became in their careers. Aunty Grace and her father Tom Henio took another role as visiting scholars at Cottonwood Gulch, and the extended family were involved to demonstrate their Navajo culture; that is, silversmith, sand casting, and weaving. I always remember Aunty Grace and her dad Tom sitting in a shade making concho belts for Jenny Billings, Donna Fullerton, Wenda Trevathan, and Susan Oviatt. I remember her pounding and shaping conchos and Grandpa Tom stamping the conchos. These are one-of-a-kind Navajo concho belts made by a daughter and father you cannot even put a price on it, now. Many bracelet and rings for group leaders, Basecamp staff, and campers were made by these two craftsmen. These items should be treasured and cherished, if you have one of their handiwork. She used to correspond with Mr. Hillis Howie, her dad’s best friend, and was a community letter writer for her neighbors, also interpreting when the local family needed her service. She looked forward to being at Cottonwood Gulch for Rendezvous, she was the first to arrive and the last to leave. We can all see her sitting on the back porch with her sister talking and laughing. We will miss these precious moments.

4 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021


...To Beloved Community Members Jefferson Cloud BY: TOM HENIO Shi’ Silee, Jefferson J. Cloud, a father, husband, son, brother, uncle, friend, and grandfather to many, passed on December 28, 2020 from a terminal illness, just several hours from his mother’s birthday. Jefferson was the sole child of Gracie Henio Cloud, being born on October 16, 1963. Shi’Silee Jeff’s maternal clan was Dechinii’nii dine’– Start of the Red Streak people clan, and born for the Na’lah nii dine’ – Cherokee tribe. His cheii’s were To’baashni’ azhi dine’ – Two who came to the water clan people. Jeff had to leave his job so he could take care of his grandpa Tom Henio. By then, his grandfather was up in years and starting to have health issues. Jefferson never left his grandfather’s side, tending to his daily hygiene needs, close to his bedside at home. He stayed by him until Grandpa was hospitalized, 'til Grandfather Tom passed from his illness. Jeff took on this responsibility of his Cheii, himself, because his grandfather was the only father image he had. He was raised by him from a small chubby little boy into adulthood. He was Grandfather Tom’s shadow. He had other various jobs, mostly summer jobs with the Cottonwood Gulch Camp, this consisting of property fencing, building maintenance and some carpentry, whatever the camp needed help with he would be called upon, by directors from Monty T. Billings, to present. Shi’ Silee Jefferson, there will be one more hunter’s bedroll missing from our hunting camp, one more hunter’s coffee cup, left out to be filled around our hunting camp fire. You will be missed. But, we must carry on your legacy the best we can.

SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 5


Welcoming Juan M. Muñoz Jiménez

Laurie Hooper

Juan M. Muñoz Jiménez was born in Dayton, Ohio, half-raised in the Midwest and half in his native home of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Sea kayaking in Puerto Rico with his father was his first real introduction to the outdoors. In graduate school he created and led many adventures with the Outdoor Resource Center of Wright State University, ranging from ice climbing and rock climbing to kayaking and snorkeling. Juan’s love for the outdoors brought him to the Southwest after completing his MBA in marketing and international business. He currently works part-time as the marketing consultant for Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions and part-time as the marketing coordinator for a housing nonprofit. He spends his time often volunteering with youth, operating his own STEM Scouts unit in the International District or leading day events with Latino Outdoors ABQ chapter.

Hello Gulch Family Everywhere, I am Laurie Hooper and am so excited to join the Board of an institution that has played such a special role in my life as well as the lives of so many members of my family. After practicing law for 40 years, I retired in 2018 and joining the Board gives me the chance to give back to this great organization. I attended the Trek as a camper in Group II in 1967, Chet’s first summer as a Group Leader (fellow board member Tom Hyde was also in the group). I returned as a counselor on Chet’s Group II Staff in 1972 and 1973; they were very formative experiences and instilled in me a great love for the Southwest.

Interested in being a new face around the Gulch? We are hiring for summer positions. Get in touch with Austin Kessler at fieldoperations@cottonwoodgulch.org if you're interested in spending time educating youth in the great outdoors this summer. Our Board of Directors is a diverse group of individuals who provide guidance and governance for our organization. If you are passionate about our mission and interested in learning more about serving on our Board, please contact our Executive Director, Jordan Stone: director@cottonwoodgulch.org 6 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021

My family first learned about the Gulch during one of the many cross-country camping trips my parents took us on. We camped next to a group of trekkers at Canyon de Chelly. My parents were so impressed with how the group handled itself and went about its business that they ended up sending all eight Hooper kids to the Trek. Spending summers at the Gulch is a tradition that my siblings and I have shared with our kids, as 18 of them have attended or worked at the Gulch. And many of you will remember that my brother, Henry, adroitly served as the Chair of the Gulch Board for many years. These are challenging times for the Gulch, with the pandemic still raging, but now more than ever, we need to insure that future generations can experience the life-changing exposure to the Southwest and the scientific and cultural exploration the Gulch provides.


New Faces Jamie Munsey

Hello Cottonwood Gulch, My Name is Jamie Munsey. I reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I live with my husband, daughter and our three dogs Lilo, Fozzie, and Willow. I was born in South Korea and came to the U.S. at the age of two. I grew up on a farm in the very tip top NE corner of Indiana near the Michigan/Ohio border. I took part in 4-H growing up which helped develop my love of learning and many miles of fields and woods preoccupied my time and curiosity until I moved to New Mexico at the age of 16. I graduated high school from Cibola High in Albuquerque, NM. I continued my education at the University of NM, receiving a Bachelor's in Education and a Master's in Language Literacy and Sociocultural Studies with an emphasis in Second Language Learners. Although becoming an educator was not my original path, it has turned into my life’s work/career path. I have over 20 years experience in the classroom and I am currently transitioning into the administrative side of the profession.

A South Valley Prep student sets up a tent on a Students in Wilderness Initiative (SIWI) trek near the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area. Jamie is an administrator at South Valley Prep.

I myself have always been an avid outdoors enthusiast. Growing up on a farm, horseback riding, camping, etc. has always been a part of my being; even at 45 years old, my family and I camp wherever/whenever possible. For the past 10 years I have worked at a charter school, South Valley Prep, which I helped open back in 2010. It was in 2012 that I ran across “The Gulch” on the internet. One of my non-negotiables at the school is outdoor education. I feel that for our student population, experiencing the outdoors and nature is important for our students for their overall development as human beings. Since then, our eight-year partnership with the Gulch has provided an exponential amount of outdoor experiences for our student population. As a new board member, I am looking forward to collaborating with other board members, current and past staff, and meeting new trekkers. I would like to thank you for the opportunity and for nominating me to be a member of the board. I look forward to providing insight and knowledge to the board for future Gulch endeavors.

SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 7


Albuquerque Area BY: OLIVIA MARIN AND BEN HOLT Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions is known for our treks all over the Southwest. However, this year, we’ve had the opportunity to spend more time locally and fall in love all over again with our own backyard. So whether you live in Albuquerque, or need trip ideas for your next visit to Cottonwood Gulch, here’s a list of our favorite local public lands. Happy adventuring! We would also like to acknowledge that the Albuquerque area is on the traditional land of Puebloan peoples. Furthermore, all public lands in the Southwest are conquered lands that were stolen from their original inhabitants. We only have the privilege today of visiting these spectacular places because of this tragic history, as well as the stewardship of these lands by native peoples for generations. When visiting these public lands, please take a moment to be curious about this history and how our public lands system has benefited from this historic oppression. Please consider donating to the Pueblo Relief Fund via IndianPueblo.org. PETROGLYPH NATIONAL MONUMENT Public Land Designation: National Park Service Distance from CGE Office: 8.1 miles Activities: Hiking, Biking (only on Boca Negra Canyon multiuse path) Right on the edge of Albuquerque, Petroglyph National Monument is an astonishing mix of human artifacts and natural wonder. As you hike through the sandy trails, trying to spot rock carvings (there are an estimated 25,000!) keep an eye out for jack rabbits bounding through sagebrush and an ear out for that slithery rattle. Biking up the Boca Negra Canyon multiuse path is an intense physical workout, but walking through thousands of years of artifacts can really blow your mind! This land is sacred, ancient and a true wonder of the Southwest! CABEZON PEAK Public Land Designation: Bureau of Land Management Distance from CGE Office: 68 miles Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Mountain Biking, Bikepacking, Camping, Stargazing Rising up from the flat lands of the Rio Puerco Valley, Cabezon is a volcanic plug that certainly catches one’s eye. The peak is climbable year-round but make sure to keep an eye out for snow or ice in the colder months. There are numerous trails in the area excellent for mountain biking and several bike-packing options if you're looking for something more extreme. Look up if you are there past nightfall for some amazing stargazing as well. THE BOX CANYON Public Land Designation: Bureau of Land Management Distance from CGE Office: 94.3 miles Activities: Climbing, Hiking, Camping, Mountain Biking A delightful destination for climbers of any caliber, the Box is well known in the New Mexico climbing community. From beginners, to boulderers, to sport climbers to multi-pitch trad climbers, the Box has it all. The expansive dirt roads provide ample (but dusty) mountain biking and there are well established fire rings throughout the area for overnights. The Box is a gem in the Southwest and one that is certainly day trip worthy! THE SANDIAS Public Land Designation: Cibola National Forest and Wilderness Distance from CGE Office: 11 miles Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing, Off-roading The Sandias are Albuquerque’s crown jewel and grace our vistas with a gorgeous pink glow nearly every sundown. The Elena Gallegos Open Space is a classic spot to access miles of mountain biking and hiking trails, including the Pino trail which climbs all the way to the Sandia Crest. The forested east side of the mountains also provides a delightful respite from the desert sun where you can explore Travertine Falls after a rainstorm or hike along the crest to Kiwanis cabin. If you have a weekend to spare, backpacking the 27-mile Sandia Crest trail is a great way to really experience the mountains. 8 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021


Public Lands

Map created by Olivia Marin and Ben Holt, not to scale

BOSQUE DEL APACHE Public Land Designation: National Wildlife Refuge Distance from CGE Office: 104 Miles Activities: Birdwatching, Wildlife Viewing, Hiking, Cycling, Guided Tours About an hour-and-a-half south of Albuquerque, there’s a serene wetland oasis in the middle of the Rio Grande Valley. This place is called Bosque del Apache and all year it provides a precious habitat for a dizzying variety of wildlife. Along the gentle trails, you may see javelinas scrounging in the underbrush, quails scuttling across the path, or herons wading through the waters. The annual highlight of Bosque del Apache comes each November through February with the Festival of the Crane. Visit during this season to see tens of thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese as they layover in New Mexico along their migration pathways. If you can’t make it down to Bosque del Apache, you may catch glimpses of these mighty flocks in our local Albuquerque bosque.

SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 9


Summer 2021 Trek Plans! Join us for small group, outdoor treks around the Southwest! Trek Highlight: Prairie Trek

Ages: 14-16 Dates: June 21-July 26 Only 2 spaces left! Join a group of adventurous young men who enjoy being outdoors to explore the Southwest. This supportive and motivated group of young men will wander desert canyons, summit mountain peaks, learn about local culture and ecology, and work together to overcome challenges. Even for someone who has never been camping before, this trek is a great fit to learn about the outdoors, leadership skills, the Southwest, and oneself. The itinerary varies from year-to-year, but you can rest assured that each year it will be packed with opportunities for hands-on learning in the amazing backdrop of the American Southwest. Some years, the PT has summited Wheeler Peak, the highest mountain in New Mexico, while other years they have hiked 15 miles in a day to get to Keet Seel, a spectacular cliff dwelling in Arizona. They may learn to read a topographic map, cook on a single burner backpacking stove, tie knots, work through conflict, select a campsite, and more. These experiences lead the teens on PT to reflect on their increased resilience, self love, and self-confidence after completing their five-week trek. By the end, they come away with new friends, outdoor and leadership skills, great memories, and new perspectives after five weeks of independence and exploration. The PT spends the majority of their time exploring the wild places of the Four Corners states, though they will have about a week to get to know Basecamp. While at Basecamp, trekkers will have the opportunity to learn new skills from our specialists like metalsmithing, animal tracking, plant identification, mountain biking, farming, cooking, music, and rock climbing. The exact specialties of our staff vary from year to year, but we always have an incredibly talented and knowledgeable team that is excited to introduce trekkers to new skills as well as offer deeper exploration for those already familiar with a topic. The PT will also have the opportunity to get to know trekkers on other treks and serve as role models for our younger trekkers. The PT could serve as a prelude to our longer Mountain Desert Trek or be a great foundation to other outdoor adventures for years to come. Regardless of what a PT alum chooses to do in the future, he will have skills and confidence that he can rely on at school, work, and home. In today’s world, communication, conflict resolution, empathy, and other interpersonal skills are more important than ever and the PT is a perfect opportunity to build them. PT alumni have gone on to become Gulch interns and staff, scientists, photographers, artists, professors and other educators, guides, directors of nonprofits, business owners, and many other careers influenced by their time on the PT. While on trek with us, participants will complete a project in a field they are interested in. These are meant to be opportunities to take advantage of the vast knowledge sets of our staff, dive deeper into a topic of interest, and to walk away from the summer having a tangible example of all that was accomplished. Examples of past projects include: building a latrine at Basecamp, creating maps, conducting a stream study, creating a field guide, compiling an art portfolio, writing an original song, planning and leading activities for other trekkers, and many more. To help us prepare to facilitate these projects, we will send a survey for your trekker to complete. If they aren’t sure, that’s okay! Our staff are ready and excited to talk with them about their interests and figure out what makes sense.

10 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021

PT boys pose in Canyonlands NP.

Mountain biking on the High Desert Trails near Gallup, NM.

David pauses while stripping bark from a tree.

PT backpacking in the Weminuche Wilderness.


We are Filling Fast! Most treks only have a few spaces left!

Outfit Expedition June 19 - July 5; July 10 - July 26

Outfit Expedition is a great introduction to the outdoors, allowing younger trekkers to gain independence in their hiking and camping skills.

Wild Country Trek June 19 - July 10; July 4 - July 26

Wild Country Trek is designed for younger teens excited to get outside, try backpacking, and explore the outdoors.

Outfit heads out to explore the lava tubes at El Malpais.

Turquoise Trail June 21 - July 26

Turquoise Trail is full of supportive, adventurous young women exploring the desert, gaining technical skills and self-confidence along the way.

Prairie Trek June 21 - July 26

Prairie Trek is full of supportive, adventurous young men exploring the desert, gaining technical skills and self-confidence along the way.

TT celebrates making it to Keet Seel in Navajo National Monument.

Mountain Desert Trek June 21 - Aug 5

Mountain Desert Trek is Cottonwood Gulch’s capstone experience for those who want to take on physical and mental challenges in the American Southwest

Art and Music Trek

July 16 - Aug 5

Art Trek is an opportunity to be inspired by the culture, history, and natural landscapes of the American Southwest while compiling a visual arts or musical portfolio.

Paleontology Trek June 19 - July 5

Paleontology Trek is dinosaurs, period. Trekkers work on an active dig site with a professional paleontologist, gaining college credit.

MDT shares a song during campfire.

Get Outdoors (GO)Trek June 19-June 25; July 10-July 16

GO Trek is a week full of adventure, perfect for trekkers who enjoy being outside and want to further their own skills and independence in a supported environment.

Family Trek July 3rd-July 10th Bring the whole family! Family Trek is perfect for all ages to get outside and spend quality time together; a Gulch tradition for many years already!

Art and Music Trek trekkers play instrucments. SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 11


Students in Wilderness Initiative We've been up for the challenge of adapting the SIWI program to a year characterized by remote learning and to take action on as a class. So far, students have chosen climate change and native species conservation. Our classes are now learning about these topics and, specifically, how they impact their local For the past three years, the Gulch has been partnering with The Wilderness Society to facilitate the Students in Wilderness Initiative New Mexico communities. It’s still challenging to share the outside world in person with students because of COVID, so we decided to (or as we call it: SIWI). Throughout the course of SIWI, students get to know public lands and wilderness through the classroom and bring the outside world into the class! Experts from across the state the field. Their relationship with wilderness evolves throughout the will be coming into the virtual classroom to share their perspectives, knowledge, and projects related to climate change and native speyear. It starts with a day trip and builds to a capstone experience cies conservation. So far we have an amazing array of guest speakers of backpacking for five days through southwestern wilderness. As you might imagine, COVID provided some challenges to the SIWI lined up including climate activists, PhD scientists, conservation personnel, artists, and more! Finally after meeting these speakers, program by forcing it to go virtual much of this year. However, at Cottonwood Gulch we are in the business of making lemonade out students will pursue a project to take action and then share their results in a SIWI virtual gallery event hosted by Cottonwood Gulch. of lemons! This year has still had an incredible SIWI program full Things may look different this year, but SIWI is still going strong! of nature, learning, and expert knowledge. Stay tuned to our social media to see project results and hopefully pictures from the trail soon! In the fall, students across New Mexico learned about a wide variety of public lands topics including history, legislation, resource conservation, and inquiry-based science. Though we couldn’t meet in person, we used tools like Jamboard (an interactive slide-show software) and Flipgrid (a video sharing platform) to connect students to New Mexico public lands. Over the course of these lessons, students were able to have a mock Senate debate over wilderness designation, calculate their ecological footprint, and more! Finally, near the end of the semester, students got take-home activity kits to enhance their engagement with the outdoors. These kits included a nature collage kit, watercolor set, build-your-own ecosystem activity, arthropod monitoring, and a compass to let students pursue their outdoors curiosities in a variety of fun ways.

BY: BEN HOLT

As we move towards the end of the year, students are embarking on a student-led learning component of the course. After having a lesson where they studied how to “take action” on public lands issues, students chose a topic that they’d like to learn more about

SIWI student explores Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area. Photo credit: Mason Cummings/TWS

SIWI trek at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area. Photo credit: Mason Cummings/TWS 12 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021


Flocks and Rocks Looking for a chance to become a student again? BY: AUSTIN KESSLER While the Gulch is most well known for our work with youth, more adults could benefit from getting out of the house and learning about their environment as well. Even those of us who are skilled outdoor adventurers often lack a critical element to our personal wanderings that keeps us progressing…a seasoned and knowledgeable guide. As a person who started his guiding career early, I was constantly surrounded by other educators and instructors that were teaching me educational philosophies, technical skills to make activities safer, and ways of interpreting and experiencing the natural world I was working in. While I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in any field I’ve worked in, I found myself climbing through the ranks of employment at a number of organizations, quickly becoming the teacher, and no longer the student, a challenging occurrence for someone who loves teaching but also wants to keep learning. I assume my experience is similar to many others, skilled at what they do, but always hoping there is something else I can learn, even if it doesn’t become a lifelong passion. One of the most recent steps back into a student role came in the spring of 2019, what feels like a decade ago at this point. That experience was being a cook on the Flocks and Rocks Trek. This is an adult trek focused on the Ornithology and Geology of the Southwest, and in 2019 was lead by Arch McCallum and John Bloch, two PhDs within their fields, and longtime Gulchers. Possibly other than when I was an infant and exploring the world, I have never learned so much in a single 10-day span than those days with those two gentlemen and the posse of adults that followed them around with binoculars and hand lenses. As adults, I feel that we become accepting with what we know about the world, comfortable with our own understandings. Most of the learning we have to do as adults is not fun; new practices at work, a new piece of technology, how to recover after an injury, but it doesn’t all have to be that mundane, boring or scary. What if you could experience the childish wonder from when you were at the Gulch as a teen, or learning about dinosaurs as a kindergartner? After I finished up my responsibilities as a cook on that trip, I got to be a student again. The experience was set up for both avid birders, checking off birds from their life lists, and folks like me, who didn't even realize there were birds around until I was asked to notice noises that had always blended into the background. On the geology side of things, we were introduced to terminology that gave us a better understanding of the prehistoric oceans we were walking through, and took a step back to look at the glow of sunset on sandstone cliffs, a way even non-geologists can appreciate the stunning stratification. We have all had to adapt to a different way of life over the last year, and as the world slowly begins to recover, don’t forget that we all have the right to wonder, and be blown away by our own learning.

Flocks and Rocks 2021 August 28th-September 5th Itinerary details coming soon! Want to join us? Email Tori at enrollment@cottonwoodgulch.org Flocks and Rocks 2018 SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 13


Native Species on Your Table Cooking with NM delicacies looking to add to this recipe. Instead, look The New Mexican landscape may in your own garden- you may be surprised not seem like a place of bounty at first to find that a lot of what you’ve been pullglance; we often think of cactus-studded ing is ready to go on your plate! deserts, where rattlesnakes slither and roadrunners race across arid land. Even in the river valleys and forested mountain rang- Zesty Purslane Salad es, New Mexico isn’t often characterized as lush and fruitful. But the high desert has Ingredients: a lot to offer, especially if you’re willing to Large bunch of purslane- washed look for it. Here are some recipes featuring 1 can garbanzo beans- drained and rinsed native species found in New Mexico in the 1 watermelon radish- thinly sliced spring and summer. ½ red onion- thinly sliced 1 cup feta cheese- crumbled 1 cucumber- peeled and cubed small Purslane/Verdolaga (Portulaca oleracea) is For dressing: a tasty little crawling plant, with a lemony ¼ cup olive oil sweet crunchy texture, that is commonly ½ lemon juiced known as a weed in the Southwest. A pow- 1 clove garlic minced erhouse in both its growing capabilities and Salt and pepper to taste nutritional value, purslane is either a noxious weed or a delightful addition to your Directions: salad, depending on who you ask. An excel- Chop the purslane and toss all salad ingrelent source of Vitamins A, C and E as well dients. In a separate bowl, combine lemon as high in iron, magnesium and a powerful juice, garlic, salt and pepper, whisk together antioxidant- we say “Let them eat Purslane!” as you slowly incorporate olive oil to emulPopping up in the spring, keep a lookout sify. Pour over, toss, and enjoy! for this tasty succulent green, that may grow where you least expect it! Remember: If you are going to forage for edible plants, Quelites/Lambsquarters/Goosefoot (Cheavoid city lots or alongside busy roads. The nopodium album) Depending on where pollution from cars and city-wide herbicide you are in the Americas, quelites could be a sprays are definitely not ingredients we are variety of plants. In Mexico, quelites could BY: OLIVIA MARIN

Purslane photo credit: Raw Edible Plants 14 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021

be any wild green, and the word itself is derived from Nahuatl, meaning “edible herb.” Purslane, amaranth and many others may be identified by the term. While oftentimes in a New Mexican restaurant, “quelites” brings you an order of cooked spinach, there is another abundant plant, a wild spinach, that gets the job done! Lambsquarters, also known as goosefoot, has been characterized as a persistent weed in the Southwest. It grows all over, with long woody stalks and soft leaves that often look like… a goose’s foot. This “weed” can provide ample shade and delicious greens, so if you see it in your yard or garden, perhaps give it a try! Garlicky Quelites con Frijoles (Lambsquarters and Pinto beans) Ingredients: Large bunch of quelites 4 cloves of garlic chopped 1 can of pinto beans- drained and rinsed 1 tsp red pepper flakes 1 tsp cumin ground Salt and pepper to taste 1 Tbsp olive oil Directions: De-stem quelites, these cook down so there is no need to chop the greens. However, if the plant is quite mature, the stalk can be


Pour chokecherries and water into a pot, you want the water to just cover the cherries and bring to a boil. After the cherries come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 30-45 minutes. Drain the cherries and keep that juice! It should be a beautiful color, anywhere from a bright fuschia pink to darker mauve. Mash the cherries, and put into a sieve so as to really squeeze out any excess juice. Place juice and sugar and lemon zest into a pan, and simmer until sugar is dissolved. You can add more sugar to taste. Let cool completely before storing in clean glass jars- one jar of syrup should last several weeks without requiring a major canning process as long as you keep the jar refrigerated. You can freeze jars for later use as well! Enjoy! Delicious over vanilla ice cream, pie, Lambsquarters photo credit: MSU.edu ice cream and pie, pancakes, ice cream and some from one, more from another, so that pancakes or ice cream! woody and it is better to remove complete- the tree can provide fruit for wildlife and ly. continue to reproduce in a healthy way! In addition to delicious, chokecherries have Place pan on medium heat and add olive oil traditionally been used for a variety of meand garlic (use as much garlic as you like, dicinal purposes- what can’t our planet do? the more the better!) Once garlic starts to get aromatic (before browning) add cumin “Some Like it Tart” Chokecherry Syrup and red pepper flakes. Let the spices meld Delicious on top of pancakes, waffles or with the oil for a few minutes before adding scones, this syrup is a simple way of adding pinto beans. Let saute for about five min- sweet and tart to your breakfast table. Also utes, adding more olive oil if necessary. Add tasty on some ice cream which we encourQuelites and cook until just wilted, so that age eating at any time of day! there is still a vibrant green color. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat. Ingredients: This meal is delicious with a buttery fresh 4 cups chokecherries Tortilla, or your choice of red or green chile! 2 cups water (more or less depending on consistency) Chokecherries (Prunus virginiana) are 2 cups sugar (more or less to taste) a member of the rose family, and start to 1 tsp lemon zest fruit in late July through August. Found all across North America, these shrubs tend Materials: to grow near running water and you can Fine sieve (cloth is preferable but a fine spot them early in the spring due to their metal strainer will do the trick!) delicate white blossoms that will grow into Glass jars with secure lids tart berries several months later. A chokecherry is small, about half the size of a bing Directions: cherry, with a lot of pit! Make sure when De-stem and thoroughly wash chokecherChockecherry photo credit: Kenneth Ingham foraging to follow the forager’s rule: Do not ries- you don't want bits of twig or thorn 2005 from explorenm.com pick all your fruit from one tree, rather take in the syrup! SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 15


Trekker Profile: Jill Markovitz BY: BRAD JEFFREY Jill Markovitz went on Prairie Trek (Group 3) in 1990-1991, where she discovered her passion for art, photography and the Southwest. She went on to earn a degree in art education from the University of New Mexico and a Master's of Fine Art in Photography from UMass, Amherst. Jill is the founder and director of Philly Art Center, a creative hub for studio learning across the Philadelphia region. How did you find out about Cottonwood Gulch? Indirectly, through Ellie Macneale Elkinton. What are some of your favorite experiences with the Gulch? There are just so many experiences, memories like snapshots… the flutter of a forest of aspen leaves before a storm, the enormity of the view from the peak of Mt. Sneffels, the feeling of connectedness to the past while standing in the Grand Kiva of Casa Rinconada. A standout experience and probably one of the most important was in 1990, my first year as a trekker. Our group leader, Nate Lord, saw that I took an interest in photography. He lent me his SLR camera and I took it on every hike and backpacking trip that entire summer. I was astounded by his trust in me. I had a ton of black and white film that the Gulch gave me and I shot every frame and learned how to develop it in the old dark room. I just fell in love with photography to the point where I pursued it for my MFA. But equally important, Nate valued me as capable and responsible so that I learned to recognize these qualities in myself. By the end of my second summer, I won the Silver Buckle “for doing my own job best and helping others most.” I still have the buckle! That ethic of responsibility to myself, my peers, and my community has really stuck with me.

me confidence, ever after, in life and business. What is unique about Cottonwood Gulch? There are a lot of outdoor programs out there now, but I think what sets the Gulch apart is the human relationships they’ve built over time. For me, one of the most important gifts the Gulch gave me was a relationship with [former Board Member] Irene Notah, Grandfather Tom Henio’s youngest daughter. Her daughter, Antoinette and I became friends at the Gulch. When I was still in high school, Irene invited me to stay with her and her family and I spent a month with them. Later, Antoinette and I lived together when we were both in school in Albuquerque. And even later, I went back and shot my MFA thesis in and around their home. When I went back to NM in the summer of 2019, one of my first stops was to meet Irene and Antoinette at the Gallup Flea Market. How else, does a nice Jewish girl from Philly become lifelong friends with a Navajo family from Arizona if not for Cottonwood Gulch?

Does the Gulch continue to play a role in your life? Sure, and the Gulch has a way that keeps you coming back. I went to a local Gulch reunion, thinking that my son and I would like to do a Family Trek. And that’s when I met my partner and his family. There’s something about Gulch people. We care about our communities and our families and the world. I think it What is something you learned or discovered about yourself? comes back to being out in nature, but also being part of a group that has to eat and pack a com and all the other things that go After the first summer, I started pursuing leadership opportuniinto making a group function on the road or in Basecamp. You ties at school, this was 11th grade. I was more confident in my can’t have the spectacular hikes and amazing memories without abilities and started to chart my own path. I went to a competdoing KP and G and L. For me, that job is running a business itive Quaker boarding school, so my decision to go to the University of New Mexico was a different kind of college choice than that employs over 30 people and it’s also keeping our blended my peers were making. In 2004, I opened Philly Art Center out family of six going. We all have our own Gulch stories and conof a 300 square foot space. Now, I’ve got three locations and have nections. My son, in a few more years, will have his. The Gulch had thousands of artists come through our studios. We’re one of will continue to tie us together to each other and to families the largest independent educational programs in Philadelphia. I across the US and the world. learned how to take measured risk at the Gulch and that’s given Were there other important lessons you learned? I learned the value of wilderness; that it needs to be protected. I learned a lot about conservation, and the importance of balancing resource development with other needs. And of course, I learned a ton of great campfire songs!

16 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021


Trekker Profile: Clara Bewley BY: BRAD JEFFREY Clara Bewley served as a Basecamp naturalist in 2018-2019, halfway through college, where she re-discovered her passion for geology. She went on to earn her B.S. in Geology at the Colorado School of Mines, and is currently carving out a career path in the natural sciences in the outdoor classroom. How did you find out about Cottonwood Gulch? I was in college, playing softball, and I was in the mood to get into the Southwest, and literally googled “Southwest geology camp” and the Gulch was the first thing to pop up. I applied and just went with it. Since the Gulch is pretty small, it tends to be a word-of-mouth thing, but I found it! What is your favorite memory with the Gulch? I have a couple. One of them that’s really vivid was my first summer, toward the end of staff training, the sky was super, super clear, and there were five or six of us who went out and laid in the driveway up to the mess hall. I remember how you can see everything – the Milky Way, a million stars, like the sky was falling in on us. That summer, I went out on a couple of treks, and Paleo Trek was my first real experience, having not been a trekker previously. Our first day on the road, near Ghost Ranch, we saw the Coelophysis quarry and camped near Abiquiu. All of the trekkers were starting to get along well, and once we were on the road, everything ran smoothly. We had big thunderstorms with vivid sunsets, and ended our days with peach toss.

groups. I had done some tutoring and coaching before, but the Gulch really gives you the opportunity to understand how kids of different age groups function, what they need at the community level, what’s going to keep them entertained, and how they learn to interact with one another. How did your time with the Gulch impact your life today? It made me more open to the possibility to take an alternative approach to my career. I found myself indoors at a corporate office, repaying student loans. My time at the Gulch helped me notice that when I get closer to that goal, there are other options. What is unique about Cottonwood Gulch? It gives you the space to create your own experience. You can develop relationships, and explore those things that are interesting or important to you. Do you have any advice for future trekkers? Be open to different experiences and different people, and it’s okay to be uncomfortable if you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next. A beautiful thing about the Gulch is being unplugged, and being forced to be really in the moment. You start to develop a lot of skills you can rely on, like problem solving skills, or finding what you need emotionally within yourself and your community.

Why are experiences like the Gulch important? A lot of the things that you do at the Gulch are purely for the When you were here, what is something you learned or dispurpose of self-exploration, re-discovering things you were covered about the outdoors? interested in but then life just gets too busy. I think it’s really In college, I had fallen into a routine of (indoor) quantitative important to take time and slow down, and then you can start work. Being at the Gulch, I started to re-discover the little things to reflect on some of the experience you’ve had or are having, that I really loved about geology and nature, and re-connect with and the Gulch provides the space for that. I had the time to see the things that made me fall in love with geology in the first something, think about it, and really be curious about it, versus place. At the Gulch, you have time to notice a lot of the smaller, being taught about it from a textbook. more personal things without other distractions. What is something you learned or discovered about yourself? With the Gulch being such a small community, it re-defined what I look for in inter-personal relationships, and finding an authentic way to connect with people. What made you come back? I just really loved it, it’s such a beautiful place, you get to see so many cool things, connect with the students and the staff who are there with you, and I just fell in love with it my first summer out there. I like how you referred to the kids as students, which really shows the educator in you. One thing about the Gulch is you get to experience teaching with a bunch of different age SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 17


Announcements

Semester in the Southwest Learn, grow, and gain valuable skills while having the time of your life in a small community. Spend 84 days on the adventure of a lifetime, working on a project in a discipline of your choosing, and wandering the unforgettable wilderness of the Southwest. Be part of a community dedicated to personal growth, learning, and cultural understanding. Investigate the impact of climate change on the Southwest and explore the issues surrounding environmental and social justice. Explore the "big W" Wilderness of deserts and mountains, frontcountry campgrounds, out of the way towns, and everything in between. Interested? Get in touch with Tori at enrollment@ cottonwoodgulch.org for more information

95th Anniversary, Virtual Edition, August 22nd, 2021 More Info Coming Soon 2021 marks our 95th anniversary, and we will be hosting a virtual celebration on August 22nd! Keep an eye on your email and Gulch social media for more information and the chance to register online. We wish we could see you for a large in-person gathering this year, but given the unknowns surrounding the pandemic, we are not confident enough to plan a large gathering this summer (300 people attended the last reunion). However, we have tentative plans for a "96th Reunion" celebration at Basecamp in 2022. And, of course, 2026 marks our 100th anniversary, so mark your calendars for that!

Joint Fundraiser with Chizh for Cheii Help Us Reduce Fire Risk at Basecamp While Helping Our Neighbors Later this spring, we will be sending you something else in the mail: a request to help us raise money for one project with two goals. We have been partnering with Chizh for Cheii, a Gallup-based organization that is removing excess wood from the Gulch property and delivering the wood to Navajo elders who use it for warmth and cooking. This reduces the fire risk at Basecamp while providing an essential benefit for our neighbors. Your donations will allow us to purchase a trailer and continue supporting this joint effort.

18 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021


Bachechi Open Space BY: MARNIE REHN

and arboretum areas in the park.

Bachechi Education Center continues to remain closed to the public but we continue to keep a presence online with both our Speaker Series events and the Digital Nature Pack activities that are part of our Sunday Family Funday events each weekend! In 2020 our speaker series events were all live streamed through our Bachechi Open Space Facebook page.

Another exciting endeavor is to get online with the GIS Interactive Mapping of the Open Space landscape. Our intern, Mia Jesperson-Chavez and Austin Kessler will support our efforts in this task. We hope this enhances our online recognition and allows the Gulch another opportunity to show up in dynamic ways in partnership with Bernalillo County. It can also provide our school programs and SIWI programs a way to engage with us locally, in digital form for now, and with hope, in-person and on-site in the future.

This endeavor gave us a wider exposure and drew in new participants from the Albuquerque region and beyond. But, it was almost impossible to gather contact information this way as we were unable to easily track who was viewing the stream. The videos remain on the Facebook page and we can watch the view count grow over time, but it hasn’t allowed us to also grow our contact list. So, in 2021, we are using social media and various avenues to advertise the events, through Bernalillo County’s new GOV Delivery system is one example. This way we collect contact info from registrations and are holding the events in Zoom so we can have direct contact with participants in real-time conversational format. Our program lineup features Gulch staff as well as local community experts and collaborative organizations; and this summer the vision is to get Bachechi engaged in the Backyard Refuge program. We will focus many speaker events on the process we undertake of making the land here at Bachechi a Backyard Refuge Certified location. We are adding wildlife habitat improvements to the already established, but somewhat fallow pollinator garden

Thanks to our Donors To our beloved donors: For the gifts you’ve shared, for your financial support, and for the memories that keep us going, we thank you. Our annual fall appeal raised over $200,000, essential support that allows us to: • • • • • • • •

Provide scholarships for summer trekkers Purchase camping equipment for trekkers and groups that can’t afford it Keep our infrastructure in great shape, so we are ready for a return to in-person programming Add solar panels to the QM Building at Basecamp Support our school programs, both virtual and in person (our teacher partners thank you, too!) Help our neighbors, like Chizh for Cheii, who supply firewood for elders on the Navajo Nation Expand our endowment Adapt our programs to align with current COVID practices and state regulations

A complete list of our donors will be featured in the upcoming fall newsletter. Thank you for keeping the memories alive, and keep on trekking. Yours truly, Cottonwood Gulch Staff and Board SPRING 2021 News from Trek Country 19


Com in 1998.

Our Then and Now series brings you photos from the Gulch archives and photos from this year’s treks showing the same subject matter--In this case, our com set up that is integral to our ability to travel around the Southwest. Have a great photo from when you were on trek? Send it in to officemanager@ cottonwoodgulch.org and we might feature it in the next newsletter! A com set up during Staff Training in Summer 2018.

Then and Now www.cottonwoodgulch.org

9223 4th St NW ~ Albuquerque, NM ~ 87114 505-248-0563 20 News from Trek Country SPRING 2021


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.