September 26, 2017
Across 350 kilometers of the The Middle Rio Grande River students and their teachers from kindergarten through college serve as field scientists for the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP). Bosque means ‘forest’ in Spanish, and refers to the vast cottonwood forest that straddles the Rio Grande. Currently there are 32 study sites, and over 1 million data points are collected each year by many local students who would otherwise have limited access to environmental education. This Albuquerque-based program shows how local science initiatives can connect people to their landscapes while helping inform resource management decisions.
By Audrey Kruse, BEMP’s Education Coordinator
The week of September 18, 2017 marks the start of BEMP’s monthly monitoring data collection for the 2017-2018 school year. Although BEMP monitors its 31 sites all year long, our citizen scientists (students) join us primarily during the school year. This year we’ve got 24 schools working up and down the Rio Grande from Santo Domingo to Socorro.
We are welcoming two new schools – Cien Aguas International School and Del Rio Academy of the Sandhill Crane Center. Both groups are excited to join this long-term research project and we had to pleasure of working with many of these teachers at the BEMP Teacher Training Workshop in August. Each school group is paired with one or more BEMP sites and the school groups go out monthly to collect groundwater, rainfall, and leaf litter data. This data helps us understand trends in the bosque and we provide valuable long-term data sets to land and water managers of the Middle Rio Grande region. UNM college students and BEMP Staff accompany each school group to teach monitoring protocols, keep track of data quality, and ignite curiosity about the bosque ecosystem. This year also marks BEMP’s 20th anniversary!
See you out on the bosque trails!
This and other BEMP posts can be found at the BEMPin’ It Up blog.