I don’t know about you, but I was pretty happy to make it through 2020, and I guess I expected 2021 to be better, just by virtue of it not being 2020 anymore! But as you’ve probably noticed, it isn’t much better, not yet, anyway. Maybe it was something psychological about anticipating the end of the year (great), and now we are just seeing a long slog ahead (hard). Over here at our office, it has been hard to gear up for 2021 with the same level of energy and determination. Do you feel like that? We keep on keeping on, though, and I hope you are, too.
When you take a minute to reflect, we have much to be grateful for. We have a new administration that is working to better protect the environment and finally address climate change. As part of that vision, there is renewed commitment to conserving 30% of the country’s land and seas by 2030, and land trusts are going to play a big part in making that happen. I am proud to announce another 842-acre conservation easement that we just closed on this week, which is helping to do just that in the Galisteo Basin area. Read all about it below. We now have more than 14,000 acres conserved in the Galisteo Watershed stretching from the top of Apache Canyon down into the Galisteo Basin. Our vision is to create larger conserved areas to protect the biodiversity of life that sustains us, to help plants and animals thrive, as they migrate to higher, cooler and wetter terrain.
You’ve probably read about the extinction crises we are facing worldwide:
- Up to 30,000 species per year are going extinct: three per hour.
- Humans have already driven 20 percent of all birds extinct.
- 12 percent of mammals, 12 percent of birds, 31 percent of reptiles, 30 percent of amphibians, and 37 percent of fish are threatened with extinction.
This is happening because overpopulation, habitat destruction, global warming, and pollution are driving species extinct at an unprecedented rate. Our work locally to protect the scenic views, open space, wildlife habitat, cultural resources, some with options for public access, is imperative to help the country reach its 30% goal by 2030 and to stem the stresses we are putting on plants and wildlife. A healthy ecosystem ensures our own health and well-being, so this work is even more critical today than it ever has been. This definitely puts a little spring back in our steps! So, while we slog through the pandemic, I hope you will join us in 2021 as we work to put more land into conservation easements as part of an overall effort to better protect nature for ourselves and future generations.
Commonweal Conservancy donates an 842-acre
conservation easement to SFCT
Our friends at the Commonweal Conservancy continue their amazing conservation work at the Galisteo Basin Preserve by partnering with us to protect another large parcel on the southwestern edge of the Preserve called White Rock Grotto. Not only will 842 acres of gorgeous terrain be protected, another five miles of trails are being planned to add to the 35 miles of trails already in use there.
Why is this work so important? The Galisteo Basin is a critical wildlife corridor between the Sandia & Manzano Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a critical piece of the Spine of the Continent Wildway, which runs north to south from Alaska to Mexico’s Sierra Madres. The Galisteo Basin Preserve is home to a rich variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Reptiles include salamanders, lizards, frogs, and snakes. Mammals such as jackrabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, coyote, foxes, deer, White-throated woodrat, Pronghorn antelope, cougar, and bear utilize the property for forage or traversing its arroyos. The Galisteo Basin Preserve is also critical habitat for a large variety of birds that may include the snowy egret, green-winged teal, osprey, bald eagle, golden eagle, northern harrier, sharp shinned hawk, Cooper’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, Merlin, peregrine falcon, blue grouse, great horned owl, nighthawks, swifts, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and a large variety of songbirds.
This landscape also tells the story of place and our place in it. Revered by archaeologists and historians as a landscape where people have lived for more than 7,000 years, the Galisteo Basin’s mesa tops are etched with the cultural symbols of Tewa Indians and Spanish missionaries. Congress recognized the cultural importance of the area when it passed the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act in 2004.
The Galisteo Basin Preserve currently offers 35 miles of publicly-accessible trails, which is the largest publicly-accessible network of trails on private land in the southwestern United States. 12,000 hikers, mountain-bikers and equestrians explore the Galisteo Basin Preserve trails each year—and now thousands more thanks to the coronavirus.
SFCT’s partnership with the Commonweal Conservancy has resulted in the protection of 5,891 acres of wildlife habitat, cultural resources and amazing recreational opportunities covering 15 properties within the Galisteo Basin Preserve. We send our thanks to Ted Harrison and Gretchen Grogan for partnering with us to save this wide open landscape!
Searching for volunteers to help with our virtual event
Did you see our 2020 virtual event? You can see parts of it HERE. We are seeking volunteers for our event committee to help us plan our 2021 virtual event, scheduled for August 26th. We always need help from people with social media/PR chops or who can help us network in the community to find underwriting support for our conservation work. Email Joanne at if you want to join us. Our kick off meeting will be toward the end of February!
Just in time for Valentine’s Day – Two New Programs!
RUBY (8 films) and SAPPHIRE (3 films) Programs
More thrilling films at the same outstanding price!
$15 for one program; $28 for both
“Banff always has the best action films every year. This time we enjoyed them from the best seat in the house too!” Eddie B
“Enjoyed the Onyx gift package SO MUCH, we watched all the films twice over a few days — such fun!!!” -Nancy C
Part of the proceeds support our work. We are so grateful to you for helping us move forward in 2021!
Our fantastic sponsors from last year are sticking with us to make this happen. Please give them a shout of thanks and patronize their businesses whenever you can!
Atalaya Platinum Sponsors
Galisteo Basin Gold Sponsors
David & Pam Fleischaker
Jerry Meyer and Nina Zingale
Sun Mountain Silver Sponsors
Arroyo Hondo Bronze Sponsors
Academy for the Love of Learning
The Broken Spoke
Fire and Hops
Sean Gallagher, Morgan Stanley
La Fonda on the Plaza
Land of Enchantment Guides
Neptune Fish Jerky
Positive Energy Solar
Santa Fe Endodontics
Santa Fe Family and Functional Medicine
Santa Fe Film Office
Second Street Brewery
Karen Wolfe-Mattison, Sotheby’s International Realty
2020 Newsletter /
2019 Annual Report
Have you seen our latest newsletter? It’s a celebration of the trails that sustain us, plus a look at the lands we have recently protected. Check it out!
New Charitable Giving Tax Deduction
One very positive outgrowth of the current situation is that the long quest for a “universal” charitable contribution deduction has finally been fulfilled. Historically, a charitable contribution tax deduction has been available only to taxpayers who were willing to itemize their taxes. The CARES Act, however, changes that. Moving forward, even those of you who opt for the standard deduction in lieu of itemizing will be able to claim a charitable contribution deduction, up to $300. More information can be found here.
Also emerging as a result of the CARES Act for some of you is the $1,200 stimulus payment. If you find that you can spare some portion of that, please consider contributing it to SFCT, and its continued pursuit of future, enriching conservation transactions.
You too can play a role in leaving a legacy!