New Conservation Club Busy With Community Projects
One of New Mexico Highlands’ newest and fastest-growing student clubs is making a positive impact on the university’s campus and the surrounding community.
The new Conservation Club, formed this fall, is turning environmental concerns into action on projects, working with groups like the Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance.
“We’re promoting conservation of biodiversity and sustainable practices in the Conservation Club,” said Sebastian Medina, the club’s president and a 22-year-old biology senior. “We all love nature and the environment, and the club gives students a chance to work on tangible conservation projects.”
This semester, the Conservation Club members conducted a beaver survey on the Gallinas River for the Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance, did clean-up work at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge around McAllister Lake, led a hike for local Boy Scouts at the refuge, and more.
On Nov. 19, they lent a hand at an America Recycles Day event at the Highlands University Recycling Center.
The club is also laying the groundwork for planting a garden of native, drought-tolerant plants in a gravel-covered space adjacent to Central Park, between Sininger and Archuleta Halls.
They’ll also install benches on the site, which includes a stone monument in memory of long-time Highlands University biology professor Robert Lindeborg, who died in 2001. His son, Richard Lindeborg, is providing seed money for the garden, and the students are raising money through bake sales and raffles.
“Our vision is for the botanic garden to be a beautiful and educational learning center, and a place for people to enjoy,” Trujillo said.
The Conservation Club is planning other spring semester projects like working with Wind River Ranch on a restoration project for the Mora River that runs through the 4,500-acre conservation property west of Watrous, N.M.
At approximately 40 members and growing, the Conservation Club is already one of the largest clubs on campus. They’ve spread the word though Facebook, mass texts and e-mails, and campus talks.
“Interest in the club is really gaining momentum,” said Medina, a Mora, N.M. native.
“We started the Conservation Club because we wanted to raise awareness about environmental issues on campus and in surrounding areas,” said Alfonso Trujillo, the club’s vice president, a 20-year-old biology junior who is also from Mora.
“If we don’t take care of the Earth now, what will happen in the future?” said Amber Jones, 20, the club’s secretary and also a biology junior. “Without conservation, our world as we know it will be diminished. We’re interested in alternative renewable resources like solar energy, and less reliance on oil and gas.”
Angelina Boampong, 23, a biology senior, is the club’s treasurer.
Outside of biology, the students in the Conservation Club are from a wide variety of disciplines, including media arts, psychology, chemistry, Spanish, forestry, music, sociology and natural resource management.
Highlands University biology professors Jesus Rivas and Sarah Corey-Rivas are the advisers for the Conservation Club.
“The diversity of students involved in the club speaks to the awareness that students across disciplines have for conservation issues,” Rivas said. “Conservation is everyone’s business and the group reflects that. They’re very motivated and independent about developing their ideas for conservation projects.”
Highlands University students interested in joining the club may contact Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org