Earth Day is alive and well in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Staff from the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s (RMRS) Albuquerque Forestry Sciences Lab spent their Earth Day week with kids from Albuquerque and surrounding communities. Ecologist Katey Driscoll, biological technician David Hawksworth, and support services specialist Yancey Ranspot spent Thursday, April 20, at the Sandia Ranger District’s Earth Day Every Kid in a Park (EKiP) Bio Blitz. They joined with staff from Region 3, including regional reptile and amphibian coordinator Esther Nelson, and other agencies and organizations to celebrate Earth Day with over 120 middle school students. Together, they taught the students techniques in catching and identifying insects and introduced them to the Forest Service’s Investi-gator Science and Natural Inquirer Journals and scientist cards – like baseball cards, only with the scientists’ stats and no gum! Other activities at the celebration included live reptiles, raptors, a bear-aware exhibit, and hands-on pottery station, along with a wildland fire fighter crew and crosscut saw activity. Driscoll and Hawksworth were the champions of the crosscut saw demo.
Friday, April 21 was another big day for the RMRS crew as they participated in the Sandia High School Environmental Sciences AP class Earth Day workshop. Over 230 students spent the day visiting the 25 activity booths set up by government agencies and NGOs. RMRS gave the students seed bombs for pollinator restoration. These bombs consist of a bee rescue mix of wildflower seeds tucked inside biodegradable paper insects, which students can plant directly into the soil at home.
The biggest impact provided by the RMRS crew was the information and application forms for upcoming opportunities. Our Earth Day trio encouraged students to apply as youth ambassadors to the Preserve America Youth Summit, a program of the Conservation Legacy organization, dedicated to supporting conservation, preservation, and educational service programs. This year’s Albuquerque Youth Summit, sponsored in part by RMRS, will be in July. They also had job applications at the ready for the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, an organization inspiring young adults to actively respond and adapt to an ever-changing environment.