BEMP Events & Opportunities
BEMP was invited to speak about our unique blend of citizen science and scientifically-rigorous data at the US Geological Survey River, Riparian and Watershed Restoration workshop in Flagstaff, AZ June 23-25. Science Coordinator Jennifer Schuetz presented BEMP as a model program, highlighting how the organization functions, what we do and lessons learned. It was wonderful hearing about what others are doing in terms of river restoration in the western US!
On Friday, June 19, BEMP hosted a number of New Mexico natural resource managers, teachers and other partners at our annual data users' meeting. BEMP Ecologist Kim Fike presented some results from her Master's work titled, "Drying Events in the Rio Grande: Effects on Hydrology, Riparian Vegetation and Arthropod Communities," where she used BEMP data to analyze differences in perennial and intermittent sections of the Rio Grande. In addition, Elizabeth Milford from Natural Heritage New Mexico presented the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District's Conservation Action Plan - another set of data being compiled about the bosque to help prioritize conservation actions among different natural resource managers and groups. Meeting attendees provided feedback on data they use and their additional needs with regards to ecological data in the Middle Rio Grande.
BEMP celebrated Earth Day 2015 with Governor Martinez, New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and other groups working
to restore and protect the natural heritage and environmental health of the state. BEMP staff, joined by students from South Valley Academy and Bosque School, received the 2015 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award in Land and Ecosystem Stewardship. Thank you Governor Martinez and NMED!
Four University of New Mexico students presented three different independent BEMP projects at the Department of Biology Research Day on Friday, March 27. Gary Johnston, pictured to the left talking with fellow students, presented a poster titled "The Effects of Precipitation on Jackrabbit Densities at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge." Betsy Fulreader presented a poster investigating whether precipitation and plant cover affect mouse populations in the bosque. Finally, Akhil Govin and Matthew Lui researched the effects of monsoon rainfall on isopod populations in the bosque. BEMP is so proud of all these wonderful students!
On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 BEMP hosted the Crawford/Next Generation Symposium at the University of New Mexico (UNM), highlighting our partnership between UNM and Bosque School. High school students from South Valley Academy, Amy Beihl High School, Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science, Bosque School and Albuquerque Academy as well as UNM Biology Master's student and BEMP Ecologist Kim Fike (pictured here) presented their student research with about 120 people in attendance!
Keynote speaker Laura McCarthy from The Nature Conservancy spoke about the importance of protecting upstream watersheds and its impact on downstream water quality. BEMP Biologist Sean O'Neill highlighted the "APS in the Woods" summer program where elementary and middle school students were given academic enrichment experiences, and Biologist Rowan Converse talked about tamarisk leaf beetle collections along the Middle Rio Grande. Elizabeth Milford from Natural Heritage New Mexico introduced the developing riparian wetland rapid assessment protocol, and Dr. Rob Miller, chair of UNM Department of Biology shared his memory of Dr. Cliff Crawford and welcomed us all to the university.
Porky's Quest: An Adventure in the Rio Grande Bosque
Learn about the riverside forest and it's critter community from Porky, a young porcupine determined to understand the importance of the Rio Grande bosque and the community that works to monitor it. This chapter book, perfect for upper elementary and above, captures the beauty and uniqueness of the middle Rio Grande with excellent illustrations and a fun story.
See KOAT, Channel 7's November 2014 take on our groundwater monitoring by clicking HERE
BEMP on Good Day New Mexico: KOB, Channel 4
The Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP)
Science, Education and Stewardship
The Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program is joint effort coordinated by the University of New Mexico's (UNM) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network and Bosque School. BEMP research is conducted by student and citizen volunteers along the Middle Rio Grande and its associated riparian forest, known locally by its Spanish name 'bosque'. Through this project, citizen and student groups accept responsibility for gathering long-term data related to the overall condition of the forest ecosystem located along New Mexico's most prominent river. Primary program start up funding was through the National Science Foundation.
Through this program, many people who are not formal scientists gather meaningful data on the bosque's overall condition. With this approach, citizen volunteers build direct connections with their local environment and in so doing, increase public understanding of a complex ecosystem as well as fulfill essential research needs.
The program consists of a series of 30 research sites along 560 km (350 miles) of the Rio Grande. Sites are presently located between Ohkay Owingeh pueblo and Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Monitoring activities are synchronized between sites with volunteers (primarily grade K-12 students and their teachers) collecting long-term data on:
- core weather data
- shallow groundwater table depth
- monthly precipitation
- surface active arthropod activity
- measurements of forest production such as:
- leaf litter biomass/plant productivity
- tree diameter and growth rates
- woody and herbaceous plant distribution
Data gathered by volunteers is incorporated into larger UNM sponsored bosque research efforts and is shared with other researchers, as well as land and other natural resource managers.
BEMP Mission Statement
Science, education, and stewardship of the Rio Grande and its watershed through long-term, hands-on student research of ecosystem response and function to inform public policy
Summer Intern Program - click here to learn more about our 2012 summer high school & college interns and their research