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Outdoor Classroom Dedicated
Southwest Region, October 13, 2007
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During Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge's Open House October 13, the new John L. Carangelo Children In Nature Outdoor Classroom was dedicated.  Dignitaries with the Socorro Soil and Water Conservation District (SSWCD), refuge staff, volunteers and the public were on-hand for the ceremony held near the San Acacia Dam across the Rio Grande.  The site was funded by the SSWCD and work was performed by refuge staff, volunteers, and contractors to build a cement pad and accessible walkway down to a pond.  A covered pavilion with tables welcomed guests and children alike.  Inmates from the Los Lunas Correctional Facility previously cleared invasive salt cedars and made a winding trail down to the Rio for future classes to study the bosque habitat.

The guests heard speeches from Refuge Manager Terry Tadano, Deputy Refuge Manager Dennis Prichard, Outdoor Recreation Planner Kim King-Wrenn, SSWCD Board Chairman Larry Whitfield and an acceptance speech from Mr. Carangelo.  Members of the Carangelo Family were in attendance to see the culmination of Mr. Carangelo's seventeen years of hard work with the SSWCD, and his dedication to the conservation of natural resources along the Middle Rio Grande.

Children were led to a Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP) site by educator Melanie Keithley, and later had an activity on arthropods under the new shelter.  School children monitor the BEMP sites, 27 in all stretching up and down the Middle Rio Grande, for various changes in water quantity and quality, leaf drop, invasive species and water table levels.  The Outdoor Classroom was purposely placed near the site on Sevilleta NWR to aid in gathering the data to be used by researchers at the University of New Mexico.

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



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