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Summer 2013 Volume 2, Issue 3

EcoServants Update Throne of the Mountain

Inside this issue:

by Josh Hamilton Throne of the Mountain


N.C.C.C. Reflections






Lesser Prairie Chicken


Thank You


In a small village in New Mexico, at the base

town at the foot of the mountains. Now I

of the Sacramento Mountains, there is a se-

have in my fullest capacity tried to describe

ries of trails. I have, as of recently, had the

to you the views of this mountain oasis, and

opportunity to be part of the team who builds

feel as though I have still come up short.

said trails. Sometimes it is back breaking

Yet that is not what I am writing to you

work, having to move gargantuan boulders

about today.

from one place on the trail to another, but it has serious perks.

EcoServants, established in 2004 to support cave preservation, has been involved in many projects serving the Lincoln County community. These projects include mentoring Ruidoso’s youth, providing summer work, building and maintaining trails with Lincoln County, supporting community cleanups, aiding disaster relief efforts, recycling education, community gardens and helping other local nonprofits.

Perched near the precipice of the clearing is a tree, but not just any tree, it is

On a beautiful summer day after

the Throne on Top of the Mountain. Black-

doing some trail work, our crew gathered up

ened by lighting and cut down by man, its

the tools of our trade and moved onward and

double trunked body has a seat with the best

upward. It was getting close to break time so

view in town. Not only is it beautiful be-

we decided to get to a new spot and sit down

cause of its view, but because it has a soli-

for a bit. As we moved along the trail and

tary, stark look to it. Sitting by itself with

past the other crews, we came to a clearing.

nothing flanking it for forty yards, it has a

The clearing opened up to one of the most

live sapling jutting up from the top trunk

outstanding views this man has ever seen,

like a beacon of life. Being able to seat my-

and as a man who has been around the world

self upon this Throne made for the king of

a couple of times that is saying something. It

the mountains during my break has to be the

overlooks the small village with its winding

single most clarifying moment of my life.

roads appearing and disappearing behind the

And I will always remember the majesty of

lesser foothills, the cabins nestled into the

the little town at the base of the Sacramento

side of the mountains, and off in the distance

Mountains called Ruidoso.

I can see the rounded Capitan Mountains that overlook the desert meet the azure sky. From the golden Australian outback at sunset, to the Barcelona night scene, nothing has come close to this view of the small New Mexico

Josh is part of the current Y.C.C. crew, and is in charge of media production and outreach.

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EcoServants Update

Volume 2, Issue 3

N.C.C.C. Reflections On April 1, 2013, crewmembers from the Southwest Region Campus in Denver, Colorado joined us in Lincoln County. The N.C.C.C. Southwest Region works in eight states (CO, NM, AZ, TX, OK, KS, AR, MO), and it means a lot for them to donate their time and service to Lincoln County, NM. This year their crew helped: restore trails in White Mountain Wilderness; eradication of invasive species (musk thistle); participated in Mayor Recognition Days, 12 Hours in the Wild West bike race, Earth Day – Ruidoso, 5K Bun Run; and camped with us outside of Roswell repairing fence to protect Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat. Here are some brief reflections about their experience here in Lincoln County, NM. JOE SPIWAK: Working with EcoServants has been a real treat. Our sponsor, Stephen, is a really memorable character, and always makes you listen just to hear what he says next. Overall, I would say that our work in Ruidoso, NM, with EcoServants has been a great addition to my N.C.C.C. experience.

about how trail building got to be in New Mexico. It was hard work but very rewarding. I have really enjoyed my time here. COLE ANNEBERG: My most memorable experience from this round was camping in White Mountain Wilderness. It was somewhat of a new experience for me, but our team bonded tremendously over the week, and left the mountain as a stronger team. CASSANDRA WOEBER: Before coming to Ruidoso, I had no idea how many interesting events have occurred here. From aliens in closeby Roswell, to seeping lava in the Valley of Fire, there was always something to keep the team entertained. Serving with EcoServants was just as fun, especially our sponsor, Stephen, who always had a new story about New Mexico, or lesson to teach workwise. I also really enjoyed the versatility in projects we completed, which allowed us all to learn a variety of new skills, including invasive species removal, trail maintenance, and bridge building.

ships, while also helping to preserve nature’s gift to us. I learned a lot from him by his actions: taking pride in your work, watching out for others, and knowing how to persevere through tough times. This has been an awesome round and I am glad I was able to be part of this project. KRISTIN WESTERHORSTMANN: Spending the past few weeks in Ruidoso has definitely been a new and exciting experience. After nearly six months with my permanent team, I was of course nervous about spending the round with a completely new group of people in an unfamiliar location. My nerves and anxiousness I realized was unnecessary as soon as we arrived at our project.

ALISA HILLS (team leader): This round has been a great overall experience for me. I loved having the opportunity to take my team on this project working with EcoServants. Our sponsor, Stephen Carter, has been a great leader and always finds a funny story to keep the team motivated and interested. I chose this project in order to challenge myself in a CHARLES CLIFTON: Serving with number of ways, and while there EcoServants and getting back outdoors PATRICK KLUESENER: Ruidoso, have been struggles I wouldn’t has been a great experience. We develNew Mexico!!! For six weeks we oped new skills in trail maintenance, change anything about it. I have got to work with EcoServants. It was learned so much from my time spent including the two-man crosscut saw. This is another successful story to add a treat working with Stephen, our in Ruidoso and I know I will carry project sponsor, who started to my AmeriCorps experience. all that I learned with me for the rest EcoServants. We got to hear about of my term of service and beyond. how he came to that point, and startGABE STROMAN: I think this project ed EcoServants to give youth from NATHAN WATT: Photos courtesy was great mainly since I was indoors the local community an opportunity of on following page. for the last two rounds. I learned a lot to get job experience and scholar-

EcoServants Update

Volume 2, Issue 3

(clockwise from top left) EcoServants wristbands at Earth Day, bridge built in Lincoln, Chuck’s Hole outside Roswell, N.C.C.C. crewmember, cattle visiting us while repairing fence near Sand Ranch.

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EcoServants Update

Volume 2, Issue 3

ESCAPE 2013 (Ruidoso) ESCAPE is the New Mexico Search &

rescue gear and search techniques; the

Rescue Council (NMSARC) annual

Incident Command System; map and

in Ruidoso, May 10-12th, at the Ruidoso

conference. “ESCAPE” stands for

compass exercises; helicopter rescues

Convention Center, and because of the

“Emergency Services Council Annual

and landing zone safety; high and low

fundraising efforts of White Mountain

Preparedness Event”. NMSARC was

angle rope rescue; lightening safety;

Search and Rescue, received much sup-

founded in 1974, and is a nonprofit, all-

field trauma medical training; amateur

port from generous local businesses.

volunteer organization that represents

HAM radio review; and horse, A.T.V.,

Ruidoso based businesses that spon-

the largest group of wilderness search

snowmobile and canine team training.

sored ESCAPE 2013 were: Brunell’s,

and rescue teams in New Mexico.

One of the biggest event that

This year, ESCAPE was held

Citybank, First National Bank, Ruidoso

takes place during ESCAPE is Field

Animal Clinic, Sacred Grounds Coffee

the state meet to network and train on

Certification. Successfully completing

and Teahouse, Village Ace Hardware,

all aspects of effective search and res-

this test helps ensure that search and

and Western Auto.

cue during the three-day conference.

rescue volunteers do not go out in the

Among the training programs that are

field unprepared. The testing includes

offered include: winter survival and

gear and clothing check, compass field

search skills; medical assessment; ca-

test, and a written exam.

Volunteers from throughout

nine cadaver training; basic search and

Wilderness Camp Every year, the Village of Ruidoso

Park behind Parks & Recreation (801 Resort

Much can be seen, and every experience

offers Wilderness Camp, a summer

Drive). $85 per week also includes lunch

by the child can become a life-long les-

program that gets kids outdoors and

supplied by the Summer Lunch Program, but

son. The camp has had a low ropes

active. This year’s theme is “Back to

children are encouraged to bring snacks for

course for a year now, which is an excit-

Basics – Back to Nature”, and will

themselves. Registration is on a first-come,

ing obstacle course that teaches team-

include fishing, canoeing, hiking, disc first-serve basis. Space is limited to thirty-six

work, confidence, and perseverance.

golf, nature walks, nature crafts, ar-

participants per week, so make sure to regis-

Brady Park, Village of Ruidoso Recrea-

chery, outdoor sports, golf, tennis,

ter early.

tion Coordinator, says that he often

swimming, horseback riding and rock climbing. Wilderness Camp is seven

The staff at Ruidoso Wilderness

asks himself, “what keeps you working

Camp support the idea that nature, and us

with these kids ten hours a day?” and he

being in it, is a natural and healthy experi-

always thinks of two things. The laugh-

weeks starting June 24 and going until ence. They provide a number of nature based

ter and fun to be had at is one. The sec-

August 9, Monday through Friday,

activities that are attractive to six to thirteen

ond is the feeling when these kids re-

7:30 AM – 5:30 PM. Wilderness

year old children. In the process we hope this

member these experiences long after

Camp is for youth grades first through sparks an interest for the child. The most used eighth and is located in Wilderness

tool is simply a hike down a wooded path.


EcoServants Update

Volume 2, Issue 3

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Lesser Prairie Chicken The Lesser Prairie Chicken, a species in the grouse

serve as a National Monument, but it remains contro-

family, is slightly smaller and paler than its relative

versial, and President Obama has yet to take action

the Greater Prairie Chicken. About half of its current

on the proposal under the Antiquities Act of 1906, as

population lives in western Kansas, with the other half

of February 2012.

in the sand-hills and prairies of western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, eastern New Mexico, and southeastern Colorado. Medium-sized, grayish brown grouse, sexes are similar and plumages stay similar throughout the year. In adults, most of the body is barred with alternating dark brown and light bands. Dark bands on upper-parts are complex, including black and cinnamon tones; light bands on upper-parts range from buff to white. Upper-parts are therefore darker and more richly colored than under-parts. The chin and throat is largely unmarked, the tail short, rounded, and brownish black. Immature birds are similar to adults, but more richly colored, especially on throats. Considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its restricted and patchy range, it also faces continued habitat destruction. Evidence suggests that global warming may have a particularly detrimental influence by greatly reducing the size of sagebrush ecosystem. Sub-fossil remains are known from Rocky Arroyo in the Guadelupe Mountains, outside the species’ current range but where habitat once existed before. They disappeared apparently no later than about 8000 BC, soon after the start of human settlement, which may have contributed to the local extinction. The United States Department of the Interior has proposed creating a Lesser Prairie Chicken Pre-

Grasslands are deemed the most endangered habitats on the globe. At least one-third of New Mexico is home to this relic prairie and boasts prime habitat for ground nesting species such as the Lesser Prairie Chicken. With its balance of rolling sand dunes, shrubbery and native grass, eastern New Mexico provides superb conditions for wildlife in this pristine landscape. Partnerships between landowners and conservation organizations have led to over 40,000 acres in permanent protection, and over one million acres enrolled in management plans through the Candidate Conservation Agreement plans. While camped out at Mescalero Sands near Roswell, EcoServants and N.C.C.C. restored fencing that will help to protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken’s habitat.

Primary Business Address 1204 Suite #3 Mechem Dr. Ruidoso, NM 88345 Mailing Address PO Box 1723 Ruidoso, NM 88355

Phone: (575) 808-1204 E-mail:

We’re on the Web! “Directly engaging the community through service towards a more sustainable future.”

Thank you to our supporters! Dear Lincoln County Community: Thank you so much for your support and involvement. Our EcoRanger mission statement is to directly engage the community through service towards a more sustainable future. Through our many projects we strive to focus on that mission statement. With the generous support of the people from the community, we will be able to work toward a brighter future with programs such as disaster relief efforts, fire restoration, GPS mapping and of course recycling, gardening, and continuing to build trails. For more information on how your donation can help to make a difference in the lives of so many in our community, we invite you to visit our website at and follow us on Facebook @ and Twitter @ You can also find information there on upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Please feel free to contact us at Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support. Sincerely, EcoRangers 2012-2013


Summer 2013 Vol. 2, Issue 3