Students enrolled in the Natural Resources Management (NRM) Program at UNM-Taos recently met with community leaders in sustainability to discuss local initiatives that address environmental challenges.

"I was able to take away tons of information from people who have firsthand experience in renewable energy, forestry, recycling, and sustainable agriculture." – UNM-Taos student, Natural Resources Management (NRM) Program 

Featured topics:

  • Farming as a solution:
    • Micah Roseberry, owner, Farmhouse Gardens and Cafe
  • Forest management for wildfire prevention:
    • R. Logan, Taos County Wildland-Urban Interface coordinator
    • David Gilroy, Scientist & Education Specialist, Taos Soil & Water Conservation District
    • Manual Torres, forester, State Forestry Division
  • How we live and what we do with our trash:
    • Michelle Locher, public programs leader, Greater World Earthship Visitor Center
    • Todd Wynward & Daniel Herrera, TILT Repurposing Plastics Project
  • The energy revolution is now:
    • Luis Reyes, CEO, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative
    • David Munoz, Jay Levine and Chuck Wright, Renewable Taos Association Electric Vehicle Owners
    • Bill Brown, renewable Taos and distinguished alumni of the UNM School of Engineering
L Reyes _ Students at Array
UNM-T Natural Resources Management students and Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, show their enthusiasm for solar panels that turn sunshine into electricity

This course is part of a 3-credit, one-week intensive summer seminar titled Climate Change and Sustainability.

“Most of these students are familiar with the challenges we face around climate change and sustainability,” said Brooke Zanetell, Natural Resources Management Program director. “We focused on getting out with the people who are dedicating their lives to meeting these challenges in creative, collaborative, innovative and economical ways. It was fun and inspiring.”

Students visited the Farmhouse Café Community Garden and learned about the role that farming plays in sequestering carbon, creating livelihood for local farmers, maintaining acequia traditions and feeding people healthy and local foods that require very little energy in transportation from field to mouth.

Students also had the opportunity to explore a post-treatment forest site near San Cristobal where an overcrowded forest had been thinned to prevent wildfire and to promote ponderosa pine growth. Students learned that there is no perfect solution to forest management and that today’s efforts to mitigate past fire suppression are as much of an experiment as it was to put out all the fires we could during the prior 100-year period.

Students learned about alternative ways to build homes and provide shelter at the Earthship Community Center. From harvesting the sun’s energy to heat homes and power electricity to using wastewater to grow plants, students saw firsthand that sustainability solutions don’t emerge from doing things in the same ways that created the problem.

“I was able to take away tons of information from people who have firsthand experience in renewable energy, forestry, recycling, and sustainable agriculture,” one student said.