FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS WILDERNESS COALITION
NEXT MEETING: March 19, 2008
The next meeting of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition is Wednesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. The meeting takes place in Room 411 Burges Hall on the UTEP campus. Burges Hall is at the intersection of Sun Bowl Drive and University Ave. on the west side of campus. Please be prompt. The building entrance locks automatically in the evenings. If you arrive late and no one is at the door to let you in, call 861-4361 and someone will come to let you in. For more information, contact Scott Cutler (581-6071).
A gentle reminder to Coalition members: FMWC dues should be paid each January. If you misplaced your membership application, you can find one on our website. Please get those dues in.
2008 POPPIES CELEBRATION
It's time for the Second Annual Poppies Celebration, and it looks like the poppies are going to grace the mountain slopes for this year's event. Be sure to come out on Saturday, March 15th, from 10 AM to 6 PM at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, 4301 Transmountain Road. Free Admission, Family Fun! The program includes nature talks and walks, wildlife displays, educational exhibits, and demonstrations from 10 AM to 3 PM; live music, tequila tasting, and dancing from 3 PM to 6 PM. Invited guests include Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Congressman Silvestre Reyes, and local elected officials.
For safety reasons, please spread the word: park at Cohen Stadium (space donated by Diablos) and take the handicapped accessible shuttle (donated by Sunwest Transportation Systems). That way, people will not have to do a dangerous U-turn when they get to the Museum of Archaeology and find there is no parking available.
FMWC will have a booth set up at the event, and we are looking for VOLUNTEERS to help. It's easy and fun to meet and greet visitors. Please contact Scott Cutler at 581-6071 if you have some time to help staff the booth.
Exhibitors/vendors interested in participating please contact Marc Thompson, at 755-4332 or firstname.lastname@example.org
City Council Representative Melina Castro will propose the FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS POPPIES DAY Proclamation in honor of the Celebration at the El Paso City Council Meeting at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, March 11th. FMWC President Scott Cutler will accept the proclamation, and FMWC members will present poppies postcards to council members.
SPEAKING OF POPPIES…
The El Paso Times featured a great article by Nathan Coleman in Sunday's paper promoting the Poppy Photo Contest hosted by the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. The deadline for entries is 5:00 PM on April 1, 2008. Entries should be mailed or delivered to the Archaeology Museum at 4301 Transmountain Road. Contest rules state that photos must be taken on the grounds of the museum; entries should be 8X10 images; and participants must include name, address and phone number. The cost to enter is $5.00 per photo. All entries will be displayed at the museum between April 1 and May 3. Winners will be announced April 8. The first prize winner will be awarded a $100 gift certificate to the museum store; second prize will be a $50 gift certificate, and the third prize will be a $25 gift certificate. The winners, including honorable mention, will be recognized in the museum and on the museum's web site. So, you photog buffs out there, what better time to scout for poppy photo ops than the Poppies Celebration! See you there!
EL PASO ZOO VOLUNTEERS
The El Paso Zoo is holding monthly Volunteer Training for people interested in volunteering at the Zoo on either weekdays or weekends. Volunteers will be learning about the exciting new education stations that the El Paso Zoo will be setting up for the general public featuring interactive activities, live animals, bio-facts and other facets of the animal world.
WHAT: El Paso Zoo Volunteer Training (No Cost)
WHEN: Saturdays as scheduled below, 10 AM to Noon
March 8 Animal Handling Training (need TB test completed), Instructor: Rick LoBello
April 5 Discovery Station Training, Instructor: Antonia Alvarado
May 10 Introduction to the Asian Animals at the Zoo, Instructor: Rick LoBello
June 7 Animal Handling Training (need TB test completed), Instructor: Valerie Hearn
July 12 Introduction to the Americas Animals at the Zoo, Instructor: Rick LoBello
August 9 Behind the Scenes at the Zoo, Instructor: Rose Janice
WHERE: Meet at Zoo's Front gate ticket office by 9:45 AM - Training ends at 12:00 pm.
EL PASO ZOO LOCATION: El Paso Zoo, 4001 E. Paisano, El Paso, Texas 79905-4223
CONTACT: For more information and to RSVP call Anne Langenfeld: 351-5340. Complete and bring with you the volunteer application found on the zoo's website. For the sessions on March 8 and June 7, bring proof of current TB test (taken within past 12 months).
PARTY FOR THE PLANET AT THE EL PASO ZOO – EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Greetings from your El Paso Zoo. Recently we met and discussed our upcoming special event, "Party for the Planet" to be held here at the Zoo on April 19th from 9:30am to 4:00pm. We would appreciate your ideas and overall input on how we can make this year's Earth Day celebration better than ever.
Please take a moment to let us know about how you feel we can best reach people about our 'Mother Earth' and show them how to treat her right. Please help us make "Party for the Planet" a fun, educational, and hands-on experience for our zoo guests.
This year our emphasis will focus on recycling, different ways people can save energy, and how people can get involved in protecting habitats.
If you are interested in being an exhibitor this year all you have to do is e-mail us back with a few lines describing what you would like to do at the zoo as a participating organization. Since we have a gift shop at the Zoo that helps support our operating expenses, give-a-ways with monetary value are not permitted, but informative brochures are OK. Tell us what kind of activities or demonstrations you would like to have during the event. We will also need to know the number of presenters, their names and number of tables/chairs needed by April 1.
If you know of someone who would be a great presenter or an exhibitor, please forward this message on. We are also looking for experts who can help present different ways people can save energy with their personal vehicles and restaurant owners who use sustainable seafood to help maintain healthy oceans. Please also let us know if you have any suggestions.
El Paso Zoo Education Specialist
Adam Guss, Southwest Environmental Center
Recently I had the pleasure of exploring the wildness of one North America's largest remaining desert grasslands with several concerned elected officials and citizens from around the region. I think they would agree that the endless view of grassland on Otero Mesa is something that must be witnessed first-hand to truly understand the raw power that the area possesses. From the herds of pronghorn antelope that race across the thick blades of grass, to the endangered Aplomado Falcons who soar overhead, Otero Mesa truly is the wildest grassland left in the Southwest.
Unfortunately, the federal government is willing to trade our natural heritage and our environmental future for a small amount of non-renewable natural gas. In 1997 the Harvey E. Yates Company (HEYCO) was allowed to drill two natural gas test wells right in the heart of Otero Mesa's black grama grasslands. One well struck a commercially viable amount of gas and subsequently opened the door for further exploration of this wild and remote landscape. Fortunately, many elected officials, conservation groups, and concerned citizens recognized the extreme dangers of mineral exploration in such an environmentally sensitive area and decided to form a coalition to help advocate for the protection and preservation of Otero Mesa.
Located in south-central New Mexico, Otero Mesa stretches over 1.2 million acres, roughly half of which is grassland. It is home to over 1,000 native wildlife species, including black-tailed prairie dogs, mule deer, mountain lions, golden and bald eagles, over 250 grassland bird species, and what is likely New Mexico's last native pronghorn herd. The area's extraordinary values are unmatched in the region. In addition, lying underneath Otero Mesa is the Salt Basin Aquifer; this aquifer contains the region's largest untapped fresh-water supply. Conservative estimates show that this aquifer could provide water for a population of 1 million people for over 100 years.
The Coalition for Otero Mesa has now been working for over a decade to protect Otero Mesa from oil and gas development. Our efforts thus far have been successful. No drilling has occurred since the initial test wells back in 1997, and every day we're finding new individuals who are willing to advocate for the protection of this special place. As of right now, the coalition is working on a proposal that would protect almost 600,000 acres of Otero Mesa from drilling. The current proposal focuses on protection of Otero Mesa's grasslands and wildlife through what is called an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). An ACEC is best described as an area that receives special recognition because of the quality, uniqueness and significance of its natural and cultural resources. The benefit of ACEC designation is that is can be put into play by local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) personnel, which allows us to by-pass the political boundaries of getting federal legislation passed.
We're currently seeking groups and individuals to sign on in support of the ACEC proposal. We must send a clear message to the BLM that protection of Otero Mesa is a priority for the citizens of New Mexico. If you are interested in joining the fight to protect Otero Mesa or would like more information please contact the Southwest Environmental Center at (575) 522-5552.
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STATE PARK NEWS
Congratulations to Cesar Mendez on his selection as the new superintendent for Franklin Mountains State Park and Wyler Aerial Tramway State Park!
All the latest news and information about upcoming events at the Park are available at the Park's great website. Check it out!!
LONE STAR LEGACY
You can make a lasting contribution to the future of Franklin Mountains State Park with your tax-deductible donation to the Lone Star Legacy Endowment Fund. Checks, payable to "Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation" can be sent to: Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Attention: Lone Star Legacy, P.O. Box 191207, Dallas, TX, 75219. Mark your donation to the endowment fund for Franklin Mountains State Park.
FMWC IN CYBERSPACE
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The Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition
Borderland Mountain Bike Association * Border Toasters, Toastmasters International * Celebration of Our Mountains * Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition * Chihuahuan Desert Wildlife Rescue * El Paso Archaeological Society * El Paso Cactus and Rock Club * El Paso Native Plant Society * El Paso Regional Group of the Sierra Club * El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society * Friends of the Rio Bosque * League of Women Voters of El Paso * Mesilla Valley Audubon Society * Mountain Park Community Association * Photography Enthusiasts of El Paso * Skyline Optimist Club of El Paso * Southern New Mexico Group of the Sierra Club * Southwest Environmental Center * Trans-Pecos Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists