Southwest Region Natural Resources Youth Practicum

Article excerpt

During the week of July 16-20, 2007, the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society's Southwest Region conducted its annual Natural Resources Youth Practicum in southern New Mexico. Twenty-four students from Southwest tribes participated. It was held at the Ladder Ranch, a Turner Enterprises, Inc., property in New Mexico.

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The practicum was co-coordinated by Jeanne Lubbering, Adjunct Professor of Natural Resources at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Norman Jojola, Natural Resource Manager with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)/ Northern Pueblos Agency. Students from the Zuni, Jemez, Laguna, and San Felipe pueblos; the Navajo Nation; the Pyramid Lake Paiute, Fallon Pai-Sho, and Mescalero Apache tribes; and the Sioux Nation participated in the practicum.

On Monday, Steve Dobrott, the ranch manager, joined the practicum staff in welcoming the students to the camp. At this time, the students introduced themselves and provided a brief summation of what they expected from the oncoming week and why they were at the practicum.

After the formalities, Dobrott provided a presentation about the Ladder Ranch. The next morning, he led a ranch tour and gave a presentation on the Ladder Ranch Bison Management Plan. The afternoon session consisted of an introduction to ecology of the Ladder Ranch by Dobrott and Lubbering, followed by a session on plant identification. For the evening, students learned about the National Environmental Policy Act process from Priscilla Wade, Environmental Specialist with the BIA/ Southwest Regional Office (SWRO), and heard a presentation on the Mexican wolf recovery program by Melissa Woolf from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Wednesday began with sessions on Water Quality and Benthic Surveys by Lubbering and Jim Sandoval, FWS; Fish Population Analysis by Chris Kitcheyan and Bernard Lujan, FWS; Stream Analysis by Tim Gatewood and Matt Rustin of the White Mountain Apache Game and Fish Department; and Herpetology by Randall Gray (retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service). …