Schedule: Friday, Sept 23

Festival Headquarters: Besse Forward Global Resource Center, Western New Mexico University, 12th & Kentucky Streets, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm

AND Festival Information: Murray Ryan Visitor Center, 201 N. Hudson, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.



Field trip with Alex Mares and Rick Quezada.

7:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Participant limit: 10. Fee: $20, + $5 per adult entrance fee at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

Registration required.

Field trip participants will travel to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument to experience and learn about how a prehistoric Pueblo people developed, and how they depended on an intimate relationship with water. The group will be led on an uphill and downhill hike to a 12th Century Mogollon cliff dwelling ruins. Several pictographs inside cave ruins will be visited, and petroglyph site nearby will be visited. Information on the importance and meaning of water to the daily and cultural lives of various native groups of the area will be discussed. Accompanying the group, and participating in the discussion, will be members of the Ysleta Del Sur Tigua Tribe and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, along with your Diné guide, Alex Mares.

On the return trip, a roadside interpretive display about the various Apache bands of the area will be visited, as well as the Gila River itself. Upon nearing Lake Roberts, an additional pictograph site will be visited.

Field trip members are required to have a hat, appropriate footwear for hiking, sunscreen, at least 2 liters of water, lunch and snacks and the ability to hike up and down a narrow 2-mile round-trip canyon trail, with an elevation gain of 180 ft . Th e trail is at roughly 6000’ elevation, is unpaved, uneven and can be steep in some places.

Alex Mares is of Diné and Mexican descent and has worked as a Park Ranger and Interpreter in both Texas and New Mexico for over 28 years. He worked as Lead Ranger at the world renowned cultural and sacred site known as Hueco Tanks State Historic Site for 15 years.

Anthropologist Rick Quezada has served his pueblo, Ysleta del Sur, as a traditional spiritual leader for over ten years. He teaches classes in his native language, Tiwa, to tribal members, and serves in the pueblo’s language revitalization program.



Field trip with Dr. Esteban Muldavin and Martha Cooper.

8:00–11:30 a.m. Participant limit: 15. Fee: $16.

Registration required.

Flows of the Gila River shape and sustain diverse floodplain habitat in the Cliff -Gila Valley of New Mexico. In addition to flows, historic and current river management, such as grazing and levee building, influence riparian habitat and wildlife. Th e Iron Bridge Conservation Area, purchased by NM Dept. of Game and Fish and Th e Nature Conservancy in 2006, has been transformed, demonstrating the resilience of riparian systems that still experience a natural flow regime. During elevated flows and floods, water moves from the main channel of the river into secondary channels, spreading across the floodplain. Riparian vegetation establishes and survives along these channels and wetlands.

Field trip leaders will discuss the historic paths of the river, explore recent changes in the river channel, and look for vegetation patterns on the floodplain. They will discuss the six endangered species that can be found at this site and associated monitoring efforts. Th is hike will integrate information included in the New Mexico Riparian Assessment Methodology handbook—authored by NM Natural Heritage Program and the NM Environment Dept., as well as the Gila River Flow Needs Assessment—authored by a team of independent scientists.

Please bring a hat, sunscreen, good hiking shoes, water, and snacks. Moderate level hike across uneven ground with no trail. People should be prepared for occasionally pushing through thickets of willows and cottonwoods, but will not be crossing the river, so hiking shoes are recommended.

Martha Cooper is the Southwest New Mexico Field Representative for The Nature Conservancy, based in the Cliff -Gila Valley. For over a decade she has managed the Gila and Mimbres Riparian Preserves and worked with partners on related restoration, education, and policy projects to protect and expand their conservation values.

Dr. Esteban Muldavin is the Director and Senior Ecologist with Natural Heritage New Mexico. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Natural Resources Management from Humboldt State University and a Ph.D. in Biology from New Mexico State University.



Service Project with Teresa Martinez, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and Gila National Forest.

8:00 a.m.–4:45 p.m. FREE. NO REGISTRATION NEEDED.

Meet at Murray Ryan Visitor Center at 8:00 a.m. for shuttle to project area, or meet at Gomez Peak Trailhead at 9:00 a.m. Return to Silver City by 5:00 p.m. Travel time: Approximately 15 minutes each way.

Difficulty level: easy. There will be a variety of tools and tasks including establishing trail tread, restoration, sign installation and building trail structures.

Join the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, the Gila National Forest, and local Silver City volunteers in a day of fun, camaraderie, and giving back to the Continental Divide Trail. Volunteers are needed to do trail maintenance in the Gomez Peak/Little Walnut area of the Gila National Forest near Silver City. The project is family friendly.

8:00 Meet at Murray Ryan Visitor Center for shutt le to Gomez Peak Trailhead.

9:00 Meet at Gomez Peak Trailhead on Litt le Walnut Road. Brief overview of the project(s) and safety meeting.

9:30 Hike to project site(s)

10:00–3:00 Trail Maintenance

3:30 Return to trailhead

4:00 Afternoon reception

Tools, project materials, work site supervision, qualifi ed First Aid personnel, safety equipment and water will be provided. A reception with food and refreshments will follow at 4:00. Please provide your own lunch and snacks, and wear closed-toe shoes, hat, and sunscreen.

Teresa Martinez, the Director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, works with public lands agencies on the Continental Divide Trail.



Presentation by Diana Molina, Creative Director for JUNTOS Art Association.

9:00–10:00 a.m. Global Resource Center, WNMU. FREE.

This presentation, featuring stunning photos of the Gila region and southwest New Mexico, is an eclectic, multi-faceted portrayal of our cultural legacy that embodies our landscape and the spirit of our people through symbols, sometimes with a distinctly modern twist. If New Mexico is known for its distinctive regional culture, our symbols are keys to the stories of our inherited culture and the shared regional consciousness of communities that shape the American Southwest.

And, while humans create culture, the land itself has a direct infl hence in that creation. Our geography, with close proximity to Mexico, and our natural features unify our experience of place; they give shape to our unique identity, our collective character, unified but not homogenized.

Diana Molina traded in a career as a soft ware engineer to follow her passion as a professional photographer and writer. She moved to Europe for a decade before sett ling back home in New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley. Her work has appeared in Elle, Esquire, GEO, GQ, Marie Claire, National Geographic Traveler, Vogue, Texas Highways and New Mexico Magazine, and her exhibits have shown in museums worldwide.



Presentation by Rita Garcia, Chief of Interpretation at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. 10:15–11:15 a.m. Global Resource Center, WNMU. FREE.

In the 21st century, changing perceptions, needs and use for public lands are very diff erent than they were in 1916. One hundred years later, do we really need national parks and monuments anymore? Some people feel that the federal government has gotten it all wrong. Do state government or private owners know how to do it better?

The 1916 Organic Act created the National Park Service (NPS) to manage and care for special places across the United States and its protectorates. Like any other organization, the NPS has made mistakes; but unlike anyone else, the NPS has had one hundred years to learn how to do it better. Come discover what the first 100 years have been like for the NPS; and share your thoughts on what you hope will come of the second century of caring for your public places—your natural and cultural heritage.

Rita Garcia, Chief of Interpretation at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, with more than 20 years’ experience with the National Park Service. She is a native Arizonan who loves the wild places and wants to help others fi nd their special connection, too.



Presentation by Richard Stephen Felger, University of Arizona Herbarium.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Global Resource Center, WNMU. FREE.

The river is food, the forest is food, the desert is food. Follow Gila River water down through conifers, oaks, grasses, mesquites, and cactus. Down to the Colorado confluence and on to the Río Colorado Delta. Once, you could walk all the way in the shade of cottonwoods and willows, trails of seep-willow smells, places of no spines. Food plants everywhere. Over 500 species of edible wild plants—some as trail snacks, some as essentials. Our interest is drawn to those essentials. Acorns needing no leaching, spicy mustard seeds, sunflowers, amaranths and teparies, desert tree legumes, cactus fruits so good you would forget about summer heat, seawater grain and a richness of other perennial grains, and desert goji berry.

The upper Gila—like other reaches of the sacred water—was a sweet place, with so many good things to eat and so many good places to grow crops. Cultivated places that looked just like the Wilderness World; no wonder The People did not want to leave. Every place and every year and season brings a different diversity for growing and harvesting. Like the whole riverine ecosystem, the upper Gila region is an ideal place for adapting economically viable native food crops, especially for no-till agriculture. Some water is needed, but minimal compared to non-desert crops, and poor quality water is okay. Learn from The People before, hedge your bets, intercrop food plants for farms and home gardens. These native crops feature high nutrition, taste, and local food resilience — and nowadays the markets exists. Fit the crop to the land, not the land to the crop. Th ey say a “food desert” is where poor people live and nutritious food is hard to get. But Apache elders say, Th e Desert is where the Food is.

Richard Felger has conducted research in deserts worldwide and has written or co- authored more than 100 peer-review publications, in addition to books and popular writings in desert botany, ethnobiology, and new food crops. His most recent book, Plant Life of a Desert Archipelago: Flora of the Sonoran Islands in the Gulf of California, coauthored with Ben Wilder in collaboration with Humberto Romero-Morales, is now available in soft cover. His People of the Desert and Sea: Ethnobotany of the Seri Indians, coauthored with Mary Beck Moser and long out-of-print, is again available from the University of Arizona Press. Richard is a researcher with the University of Arizona Herbarium and lives in Silver City with his wife, Silke Schneider, and many animals and plants.



Field trip with Todd Schulke, Center for Biological Diversity.

1:30–5:00 p.m. Participant limit: 20. Fee: $16. Registration required.

Difficulty level: moderate.

The NM CAP Entity and the Interstate Stream Commission are bound and determined to take a large amount of water from the Gila River. In July 2016, the CAP Entity notifi ed the Bureau of Reclamation to analyze two projects, proposing to remove 150 cubic feet per second of water, a river in itself, upstream of Mogollon Creek. The water would be either dumped onto the sandy ground supposedly for later capture or pumped into reservoirs, potentially including Spar Canyon, which is in a Gila National Forest roadless area.

On this field trip, Todd Schulke will lead a tour of the proposed diversion and reservoir sites. Participants will learn the diversion and storage details and come to understand why this large project is harmful to the river and the species that depend on it.

Please bring a hat, sunscreen, water shoes, snacks, and water. Th is is a moderately strenuous hike across uneven ground, sometimes with no trail. People should be prepared for mud, crossing the Gila River, and occasionally pushing through willow thickets.

Todd Schulke is one of the founders of the Center for Biological Diversity. He oversees the Center’s forest protection and restoration program and has been working for more than 25 years to protect the Gila River.



Presentation by Ron Hamm, historian and writer. 1:30–2:30 p.m. Global Resource Center, WNMU. FREE.

Ross Calvin didn’t fi nd his voice for his beloved Gila Country until mid-life, after coming to New Mexico to restore his health. Then this Harvard educated scholar, Episcopal priest, and acclaimed advocate of the Southwest began speaking for it with a powerful, articulate voice. His classic Sky Determines and River of the Sun tell of a region unfamiliar to many until he took up his self-proclaimed mantle of interpreter. Even though he is unknown to many today, his words speak loudly even now.

His message, clear and bright as our New Mexico sky, deserves to be heard and heeded for its clear illumination of our cultural and natural heritage. His words, like the fl ow of the Gila, can influence and inform if we allow them to seep into our consciousness. Why? Because Calvin understood climate—by which he meant sun and weather and sky. Th is insight allowed him to explore and explain its influence on New Mexico’s landscape. He believed our climate determines everything humankind does in this lovely but sometimes hostile setting. This philosophy underscored his “unrelenting theme” in following the sky’s all-determining influence on ecology, science, and natural history.

Ron Hamm first came to New Mexico a half century ago. Although he has left it on occasion, its hold on him has never weakened. Hamm has been a journalist, PR practitioner, teacher, and now a writer of New Mexico biography.



Panel Discussion with Lydia Huerta, Hakim Bellamy, Colin Diles Hazelbaker, Michael Berman

2:45–3:45 p.m. Global Resource Center, WNMU. FREE.

What motivates people to care about conservation and become careful stewards of nature? Often it’s the way environmental issues are framed and discussed, either as abstract concepts separate from us, or as issues that profoundly touch our daily lives. Where do the arts and environmental activism intersect? With heartfelt and artful poems, stories, artwork, films, music, and photos, artists can convey in a heartbeat what environmentalists often struggle to explain in complex policy statements.

Addressing an audience of international conservationists in 1968, Senegalese forestry engineer Baba Dioum said, “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” It often falls to artists to teach us to love, understand, and conserve.

Join this discussion of the relationship between art and conservation with four panelists: WNMU Assistant Professor of Spanish and Cultural Studies Lydia Huerta, Inaugural Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy, musician/composer/producer Colin Diles Hazelbaker, and Guggenheim Fellow landscape photographer Michael Berman.


composite forest


Collaborative Performance. 4:00–5:30 p.m.

Fine Arts Center Th eater, WNMU. FREE.

The forest that grows along the Gila River demonstrates tremendous capacity for both regeneration and destruction. Humans are unable to recreate the complexity or beauty of this forest, but we have the power to significantly alter and degrade it.

An installation co-created by a team of partners will combine sculpture, performance, song, spoken word, and sounds to explore the processes associated with the Gila’s riparian forest and to celebrate its beauty. Th is performance will demonstrate the dynamic relationships between the Gila River and people— people who have the power to protect or degrade this river ecosystem.

Once a forest on stage is created from cloth, recycled materials and other objects, the audience will be invited to walk among the trees.

Artistic Director: Ann Marie Elder, Associate Professor, WNMU; Technical Director: Patrick Rogers; Lighting Designer/Artistic Creator: Tasha Cooper; Artistic Creator/WNMU Staff : Cindy Medrano; Students of Aldo Leopold Charter School and Western New Mexico University;

In collaboration with: Kathy Whiteman, Assistant Professor of Biology and Outdoor Leadership Studies, WNMU, and Martha Cooper, Th e Nature Conservancy’s Southwest Field Representative.


Audrey-Peterman-in-Grand-Canyon12-1140x641PUBLIC LANDS LEGACY

Keynote Address by Audrey Peterman, writer, activist, & President of Earthwise Productions

7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Global Resource Center, WNMU. $10 suggested donation at the door.

For leaders in the effort to retain the free-flowing Gila River, the current state of the Everglades ecosystem in South Florida can serve as a cautionary tale. In an era when money and greed appear to trump every iota of good sense, the Everglades is responding to years of ditching, diking and pollution by compromising the very source of money. A toxic algae bloom resulting from effluent dumped into the Everglades is wiping out the tourism industry in multiple Florida counties, and once-sought-after beaches are being shown around the world as fetid places to be avoided at all costs.

Audrey Peterman will dissect the anatomy of this tragedy in her presentation, and compare it to the current threat to the Gila River. Could a similar environmental catastrophe be in store for the ecosystems supported by the Gila if the river is dammed and diverted? Concerned citizens in New Mexico should be galvanized into action by this real-life example as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the legacy of conservation in America.

In the face of numerous recent threats to public land, it’s essential to acknowledge the vision of late 19th and early 20th century conservationists who were instrumental in the establishment of the National Park Service, Forest Service, and other federal land agencies. Peterman will talk about the philosophy behind and the need for preservation of public lands, especially our national parks, as the refugia of much of our natural and cultural history.

She will highlight the contributions of the unsung heroes of the conservation movement, women and people of color, and urge all Americans to become steadfast stewards of public lands.

Audrey Peterman is the author of Our True Nature: Finding a Zest for Life in the National Park System and, with her husband Frank Peterman, of Legacy on the Land: A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care.

For 20 years, Audrey Peterman has been part of the eff ort to restore the Everglades, including Everglades National Park. In 1999, she and her husband Frank were presented with the George Barley Award for their leadership in engaging African Americans with the restoration eff ort. President of Earthwise Productions Inc., which provides consulting and training services to public land managers and conservation organizations, she is a pioneer in the movement to connect urban communities with the public lands systems.