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New Mexico Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Participates in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival
Southwest Region, April 9, 2006
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On April 7-9, 2006, the Acting Field Supervisor for the New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office and New Mexico Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners Program) staff participated in the fifth annual New Mexico High Plains Prairie-Chicken Festival.  The festival took place around the small community of Milnesand in the heart of occupied lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) (candidate species) habitat in eastern New Mexico. Over 100 people were registered for the festival and came from as far away as Alaska.  Partners Program staff assisted New Mexico Department of Game and Fish personnel and other festival organizers by providing a van and driving festival registrants to observe prairie chicken breeding displays and participating in field tours on topics such as birding tours, playa lake ecology, and agriculture-range health issues.  Meals were prepared by a local women's auxiliary group. Over 140 people attended the meal on Saturday night and several area ranchers and their families were present. 

The festival concept grew out of High Plains Partnership efforts in the region and provides a unique opportunity for ranchers with valuable wildlife resources on their private lands to interface with birding enthusiasts and other conservationists interested in conserving at-risk species.  It has also demonstrated the potential for nature-based tourism to supplement local economies, sustain rural communities, and preserve regional resources while diversifying traditional products and income opportunities.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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