Nature and Heritage Festival May 3 through the 5th, we will celebrate our first Santa Cruz County Nature and Heritage Festival. Linda Rushton, a long time Las Lagunas volunteer and steering committee member, is in charge of the project. We are very excited about the event, which should be fantastic, including tours into Mexico as well as to many historic and scenic places in the County (of course, both Las Lagunas and the Santa Fe Ranch are on the itinerary).
Cedar Works and Central Garden and Pet have given us 12,000 small hummingbird feeders and will be shipping 6,000 large bottles of hummingbird food! Come, birders, one and all! You are welcome and honored in our community!!!
Grant to establish ANZA YOUTH AMBASSADOR CLUBS at the NOGALES and RIO RIO HIGH SCHOOLS
The Santa Fe Ranch was privileged to receive a grant from the National Park Service (NPS). The picture (top right) portrays the SF Ranch and NPS sponsored Anza Ambassadors in costume. We have just been awarded year two for the Youth Ambassador Program. Awesome! Check out the Las Lagunas de Anza tab (above) for more information.
Grant to BUILD CAMPGROUND
The Santa Fe Ranch is pleased to announce that it has received $5,000 from the Santa Cruz Community Foundation for the construction of a hiking trail and camping platform here at the Ranch. We were joined by local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boys and Girls Club members, and the local Police Department Youth Group in our application to the SCCF.
We are thrilled, as we anticipate more than 200 young people volunteering on the platform and campground construction. Once complete, the facility will be available at no charge to our children. The space will be a place where they can learn about nature, about camping, and about the world around them.
Mexicayotl 6th Grade Garden
The Ranch has recently entered into an arrangement to help the sixth grade class (and their parents) at the Mexicayotl Academy build a garden and contemplation area at the school. We have observed first-hand that children love to work and are encouraged by seeing the results; thus, a garden is an ideal project for these sixth graders. We will work with the students and their parents in order to further foster ties between the school and parents of students in attendance there.
Green House for the SCTP
The Ranch is working with the Santa Cruz Training Program, an agency dedicated to providing opportunities to adults with disabilities. Together we are constructing a green house at the Training Center that will be a place for therapy and, importantly, is an economically self-sustaining project. The green house should be ready in a month and producing herbs by late winter!
Danny Fish and Yara Sanchez are our new Ambassador Leaders made possible through a grant from the National Park Service that Superintendent of the Trail, Naomi Torres, wrote for the Santa Fe Ranch. Danny and Yara have recruited about 20 kids to be in an Anza Club and have participated both at Las Lagunas and at the Anza Days at the Tubac Presidio.
A Shrine to Grace Las Lagunas de Anza
We have installed a shrine to honor the Patron Saint of the Expedition, Our Lady the Virgin of Guadalupe. The art students at Lourdes Academy designed a tile mosaic around the perimeter of the shrine, which is beautiful and unique. Thank you!!!
LAS LAGUNAS WETLANDS RESTORATION PROJECT
The wetlands at Las Lagunas de Anza is a hands-on classroom. The Tucson Audubon Society has already made one field trip to the wetlands, and we anticipate they will continue to visit as progress is made. Once the project is completed, Las Lagunas de Anza will be one of the few places where residents, students and families will be able to enjoy a rare natural and cultural resource without leaving the city.
As the gateway to the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, the Las Lagunas Wetlands site will play a central role during the Arizona Centennial next year, as one of the sites for celebration. The cienega, or wetlands, is one of the last remaining marshes along the Santa Cruz River.
My, oh, my, ain’t life grand? We have received five grants for our Las Lagunas Wetlands Restoration Project! Four of the grants were awarded by the United States National Park Service; one was awarded by the United States Fish and Wildlife Services: Arizona Partners for Fish and Wildlife. We are officially highfalutin’ in these here parts!
The most recent award (from the National Park Service) will help fund the Las Lagunas Wetlands trailhead ramada, the classroom ramada, the boardwalk, and interpretive signage. The Arizona Partners for Fish and Wildlife grant will help to fund the purchase of native trees and shrubs and allow us to continue our cattail removal efforts. Awesome!
Last year, about 2,000 kids visited the Ranch and we were involved in community projects with another 2,000 kids at their schools or other sites in town. (Read more in ABOUT US and EDUCATION PROJECTS, above).
The Natural Resources Conservation District is moving forward with their project to create living examples of the various habitats in Santa Cruz County. The project is at the SF Ranch and, when completed, will allow visitors to experience a microcosm of the various ecosystems in Santa Cruz County.
Ag In The Classroom: Katy Aikin, Educational Manager for the Farm Bureaus' New Animals in the Classroom program, will assist Ron Fish in connecting local students with the Farm Bureau in Santa Cruz County by bringing the New Animals in the Classroom curriculum to local schools.
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Nature of Learning Grant We have been awarded the Nature of Learning Grant that has allowed us to act as a bridge between the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the communities of Nogales and Rio Rico.
Our projects seek to increase the awareness of and respect for nature and bird habitat among the low income, primarily Hispanic student population of Nogales, Arizona. Through learning and hands-on building of a bird sanctuary these children have become stewards of the natural environment that surrounds them. The Project has resulted in the improvement and preservation of native bird habitat along the Santa Cruz River riparian area.
By expanding our existing butterfly and hummingbird garden and further developing our nature trail, visiting students and the entire Nogales community have the opportunity, at no cost, to augment their knowledge of birds and bird habitats in an easily accessible location, which is designed to promote a love of nature.
Students designed a media presentation in order to visually and orally communicate to fellow students, parents, teachers, project partners and other members of the community their contribution to our project, along with lessons learned, and to point out how the people of Nogales and local wildlife benefit from this project.
Students have shared their enthusiasm and demonstrated great pride in ownership of their project and have thus fostered new interest in their family, friends and neighbors. The project has resulted in concentric circles of community concern, a sense of responsibility for wildlife, and advocacy for nature. We are deeply thankful to SF Ranch student visitors who have inspired others to visit the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge along with The Santa Fe Ranch Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail.
Our partners in the Nature of Learning Grant include:
Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (with link)
Natural Resources Conservation District (with link)
Boy Scouts of America
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
Santa Cruz Training Program
Also, the Las Lagunas de Anza Team will be hosting Nogales Anza Days at the wetlands, known as Las Lagunas (on Country Club Drive, across from St. Andrews Episcopal Church). The wetlands site is available to school children for learning, to birders for exploration of the myriad bird species that migrate through Las Lagunas every year, and to the community for out-of-doors enjoyment. We offer: a parking area, two paths leading to the water, plenty of signs to help you find your way, and a beautifully clean property. This is very exciting!
The Las Lagunas project team has had wide representation from our community. If you are interested in becoming a part of the project, please call the Santa Fe Ranch at 520-287-7051.
Sun Safety Curriculum: Visit the SF Ranch and learn about sun safety issues: What they are and why they are important. Did you know that one bad sun burn during childhood can lead directly to skin cancer?!? Scary stuff. We hope to teach you all about sun safety, so we will be rolling out a poster competition in Spring 2011 and a host of other actitivities. We look forward to working with you!
Camp Stealth Health Thanks to the Finish Line Youth Foundation, we are proud to announce that will be hosting sleep-over camp (Camp Stealth Health) and an Active Lifestyle Challenge. Students will visit the Ranch and learn about sun safety; poisonous plants, snakes and bugs; and the calorie: what it is, how it's consumed, and how it's burned. Campers will take part in a 6-mile hike over the course of two days, while learning about teambuilding skills and the rewarding challenges of group work. Get your hiking boots on, Santa Cruz County, because this is going to be great!
We have many more projects in store for this year. Make sure to check back often for updates...
Volunteers! Every project at the Santa Fe Ranch requires a lot of planning and a great deal of work. We would love to have more volunteers both at the Ranch and at the various sites where we work with our partners. If you are interested, please call the office at (520) 287-7051. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Please feel free to send us your thoughts and ideas at: