Each yeah, American Forests closes our offices between Christmas and New Year’s, but before we go on our Loose Leaf hiatus, we wanted to share with you some of our staff’s favorite blog posts, magazine articles and other stories. Enjoy!
Eliza Kretzmann, Urban Forests Manager
“Beauty of the Bosque”
“I was born in New Mexico, and the unique environment and culture is woven into my blood. We have a common saying in the desert southwest – agua es vida or “water is life”. These environments are poorly understood by many in the US – for example, when I woke up today, it was 50 degrees here in DC and only 25 degrees in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And did you know it snows in Albuquerque? It is often colder in the mountain southwest in December than localities such as New York City! My hometown, Santa Fe, is higher elevation than Denver, is a recognized UNESCO heritage city, and has some of the best food on the planet.
And of course, water is paramount in this environment. The Rio Grande River that runs through Albuquerque supports riparian forests called the “Bosque”, snaking through the city and providing critical habitat to wildlife, an important flyway for migratory birds, and precious water for farms in Albuquerque and nearby Native American Pueblos. The Rio Grande is also an excellent place for an urban float trip, with potential sightings of heron, coyotes, and possibly a hot air balloon! The annual International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta provides special floats to watch the mass ascension of the balloons while floating on the river.
Next time you think of New Mexico – if you ever do! – know that it is not a monolithic expanse of hot, dusty desert dotted with cacti. It ranks fourth in the United States for biodiversity. It is a vibrant and diverse landscape including crisp, cold mountaintops, and, of course, the rich valley of the Rio Grande bosque.”