Thursday, June 29, 2017

Doña Ana Commissioners Vote to Protect National Monument

In case you didn't get the news, on Tuesday the Doña Ana County Commissioners voted 4-1 to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Read about it HERE. Apparently there were three overflow rooms. The crowd was overwhelmingly for the Monument.

Of course, the real decision will be made by Trump's Interior Department led by Mr. Ryan Zinke. (A teacher friend of mine says that her students refer to him as "Stinky Zinke".) The Interior Department is accepting comments now until July 10th. Visit SWEC's page to see where to submit your comments and tips for good comments. Act quickly, the 10th is a week from this coming Monday.

You may want to go a step further and support a Sierra Club fund to fight the Trump administration's all out attack on the environment. The Club writes: "We must stand together like we never have before. We are already mobilizing and launching an emergency campaign to stop Trump's efforts to derail everything we've achieved in the last eight years." Make a donation HERE.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lois Balin Talks about Celebration of Our Mountains June Event: Bat Watch

Our Urban Biologist, Lois Balin, was recently interviewed by ABC-7's Mauricio Casillas. Topic: Celebration of Our Mountains special June 30th event: Bat Watch. See the interview HERE. Get information about the event HERE. Plan to attend this free program about our friends, the bats.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bat Watch Friday 6/30 at 7:15 PM at 3344 Eileen Drive

Click on images to enlarge.
"Bat Watch", a program of Celebration of Our Mountains, has been a very popular event in the Fall line-up. Now, however, is a great time to view the bats. So, this Friday, June 30th, at 7:15 PM there will be a very special June bat watch beginning at the home of Judy Ackerman, 3344 Eileen Dr. Get more information online HERE.

Monday, June 26, 2017

ACTION ALERT! Protect Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Travel-National Geographic image

The designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument could be in danger of being Trumped. Back in April, President Trump issued an executive order directing the Department of the Interior to conduct a review of all national monuments designated since 1996. The Southwest Environmental Center writes: "The intent behind this order is clear: to reduce or eliminate monuments to make way for more mining, logging, and extraction."

SWEC tells you where to go online to make a comment. It even gives you some tips for making an effective comment. Go HERE.

Tomorrow (June 27) at 9AM the Doña Ana County Commissioners will consider a resolution to save Organ Mountains-Desert Peak. If you want to attend, follow this Action Alert from the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition:

Creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 inspired Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition’s efforts to make Castner Range a National Monument (these efforts continue).

This Tuesday, the Doña Ana County Commission will be voting on two Resolutions that will potentially impact the future of our Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.

We urge you to attend the County Commission meeting on Tuesday and contact the Commissioners now asking them to pass the Resolution supporting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and oppose any anti-Monument resolution or amendments.

The stakes couldn't be higher-it's crucial that the County Commission take a strong stand of support of our National Monument. YOUR voice is critically needed on Tuesday to make this stand.
Help Protect Public Lands
What:  Dona Ana County Commission Meeting
Date:  Tuesday June 27th
Time:  9 AM
Location:  845 N. Motel Blvd. Las Cruces, NM  88007
Agenda:  HERE

Urge Doña Ana County Commission to protect our public lands and oppose any anti-Monument resolution or amendments.
Here are the Commissioners Email Addresses and office phone numbers:

District 1
Office:      (575) 525-5808

District 2
Office:      (575) 525-5804

District 3
Office:     (575) 525-5807  Cell:  575-649-4153
E-mail: or

District 4
Offfice:     (575) 525-5810

District 5
Office:      (575) 525-5809
Additional Background Information

Join the Facebook Event HERE.
Article: "Pearce urges Zinke to shrink Organ Mountains monument" HERE.
Friends of Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Information HERE.
Monument Official Site HERE.

Sierra Club has more information HERE.

From the Albuquerque Journal. Click on image to enlarge.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Water Smart Landscapes Workshop at TecH2O

Click on image to enlarge

Put this on your Saturday to-do list. Rodriguez is the best. You will learn much and get some great tips. Directions to the TecH2O Center.

Do visit El Paso Water's Conservation page. You will get indoor and outdoor tips and get a list of water smart plants.

Make plans to go to upcoming Water Smart Workshops at TecH2O.

You might want to look at EPA's Water Sense site. There are multiple topics to help you save water.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Certified Arborist Program

Too often trees in El Paso are pruned improperly, neglected and allowed to suffer from disease, pestilence, lack of water and fertilization. Too often landscapers and yard workers have the tools but not the knowledge. So, it is great to see that the West Texas Urban Forestry Council and the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension have put together a training program that will prepare people for becoming certified arborists. You don't have to go out-of-town to get this training; you can get it right here in El Paso. All of the information is below. Elpasonaturally will keep on advertising this program throughout the summer. BTW, I know each of the speakers personally and can tell you that they are the best of the best. If your business in landscaping or yardwork, get this training. If you are planning to become a landscaper, make this training part of your business plan.

BTW become a member of WTUFC. Become one of the Los Tree Amigos.

Click to enlarge image.
Click to enlarge image.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stay Cool

Current Heat Index 5:30 PM 6/21/17
Click on image to enlarge.
It is predicted that it will be 109° in El Paso tomorrow and 110° on Friday. It is time to be indoors (with air conditioning) and avoid going outside except when necessary. 

The City of El Paso emailed this press release today:

Summer Heat Safety Tips
El Paso Firefighters and the Extreme Weather Taskforce remind the public to be safe as temperatures rise
El Paso, Texas – As the community prepares for the upcoming heat advisory, the El Paso Fire Department and the Extreme Weather Taskforce would like to remind the public to stay safe in the heat with the following tips:
• Know the signs of heat-related illnesses. These include in order of progression: heat rash, sunburn (sunburn reduces the body’s ability to cool off), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency.
• Stay indoors and limit your exposure to the sun.
• If possible move outdoor work to morning or evening hours.
• Wear light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
• Drink plenty of water and replace electrolytes. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol.
• Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water.
• At minimum, you should be drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
• Protect face and head; wear a wide-brimmed hat.
• Sunscreens with and SPF of 30 or more applied 30 minutes prior to going outside should be applied to all surfaces that will be exposed the sun.
• Check on friends and family, especially the elderly.
• NEVER leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
• Ensure pets have plenty of water and access to shade throughout the day.
For a PSA with these summer heat safety tips, please visit:
A Spanish version of the PSA is available at:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Birds and Bats - Two Upcoming Events

Image by Ken Slade
"Birds are important because they keep systems in balance: they pollinate plants, disperse seeds, scavenge carcasses and recycle nutrients back into the earth. But they also feed our spirits, marking for us the passage of the seasons, moving us to create art and poetry, inspiring us to flight and reminding us that we are not only on, but of, this earth." —Melanie Driscoll, Director of bird conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Flyway - from Why Do Birds Matter

Thus, I always like promoting our local birders: the El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society. They have an upcoming birdwatching this Saturday, June 24, in the upper valley. Nonmembers and beginners are always welcome. Just meet at 6:30 p.m. at Keystone Heritage Park, 4200Doniphan Drive. Carpool from Keystone and look for for Mississippi Kites, Monk Parakeets, Violet-crowned Parrots and others. Contact Mark Perkins at 915-637-3521 for more information. Be sure to take binoculars and perhaps a camera.

Brazilian free-tailed bat
The following Friday, June 30, at 7:15 p.m. Celebration of Our Mountains is hosting a bat watch. COM is offering this special June event because now is the best time to view bats. Urban Biologist, Lois Balin, will lead this event. For more information including location and contact, visit the Celebration of Our Mountains events page.

The most common species of bat in our region is the Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis). Lois has a new bat detector so you may be able to identify other bat species as well.

"[T]he Brazilian free-tailed bat is a medium-sized bat that is native to the Americas, regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America. Its proclivity towards roosting in huge numbers at relatively few locations makes it vulnerable to habitat destruction in spite of its abundance. The bat is considered a species of special concern in California as a result of declining populations. It has been claimed to have the fastest horizontal speed (as opposed to e.g. stoop diving speed) of any animal, reaching top ground speeds of over 160 km/h [99.42 miles/hr.]; its actual air speed has not been measured." - Wickipedia

Monday, June 19, 2017