April 2020 Sustainability Newsletter

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April 2020 Newsletter

The Butterfly Effect

Earth Day and C-19

50th Anniversary of Earth Day  -        Celebrating from Home

All the hives in the community that were abuzz with exciting public activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, have been paused due to COVID-19.  The County sustainability team is feeling the sadness of putting off the eagerly planned, volunteer, community-based planting projects that were to begin in April in each commission district.  It takes some getting used to - this "new normal" - thinking twice before heading to the store, staying close to home, taking extra care of loved and sick ones, conserving what is in the pantry, and going online to chat with friends rather than meeting for coffee.  We have all felt the quieting effects in real life as streets empty and businesses temporarily close.  With so much suffering it can be hard to find hope, but one positive effect of the pause is reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This moment of frozen human activity offers a sigh of relief for our overburdened planet, which is badly needed to slow down the climate crisis and ensure we maintain flowing rivers and healthy forests in New Mexico for generations to come. It remains to be seen which human behavior changes will stay in effect in the long term to keep slowing the release of greenhouse gases. Regardless, we are grateful for the adaptation and resiliency demonstrated by our families, our neighbors, our communities, our health care providers, the essential work force, our governments, and our leaders during this epic time.

In the meantime, much can be done to celebrate Earth Day with pledging climate action, taking actions for the earth from home, planting native, pollinator-friendly plants in the backyard, growing  nourishing food, starting a composting system, creating new family traditions, discovering unexplored County open space, listening to spring birdsong, and learning from the numerous, free, eco-focused online training courses. or be a citizen scientist! The work for the planet doesn't end; perhaps this pause offers us moments to refocus on the home we all share -- from home. 

Let us know how you are creatively increasing action at home and in your neighborhood (while maintaining social distancing until the "all-clear") for Earth Day 2020 and everyday, by emailing or sending your photos to the County Sustainability Office today at sustainability@santafecountynm.gov.

Do you know of an Earth Month event that you would like others to know about?  Register it here! 

STEAM Innovation Expo

STEAM: Inspiring students through Innovation

The Santa Fe Public Schools pulled off another successful expo this year promoting science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Events such as the SFPS Innovation Expo spark the lights of curiosity and subsequent learning in students through projects, exploration, and invention.  With hundreds of students and family members in attendance, Santa Fe County Sustainability staff was thrilled to feature artist Bobbe Besold's impactful "Carbon Footprint" art at our booth and meet so many excited and promising future leaders.  Check out this event next year and bring the whole family! 

Elbow High Five

Sharing and Connecting to Each Other

The Santa Fe County Connect program through the Santa Fe County Community Services Department offers resources and navigators to assist community members, especially during the challenges during these uncharted times.  The service links people with housing, food pantries, child care, mental health providers, and more.  If you or your loved ones need help, search for resources and/or contact a navigator today.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to offer help through volunteering or otherwise, give County Connect a call to find out where they can use your assistance.  Following the wisdom of nature, together, united, and connected, we remain strong and resilient in the face of adversity.

pallet compost system

What Can I Do?  2020 Vision - Reduce and Reuse DIY Projects 

As many of us have time on our hands, organizing closets and storage spaces is bound to be higher on the priority list during this new "stay at home" routine. All of the things collecting dust that you find may be just what someone else could really use right now. Why not use this opportunity to help yourself, your loved ones, and others by finding creative and resourceful ways to repurpose items that would typically end up in the landfill? 

  • Reach out to the nonprofits and organizations in the community (like The Food Depot) and find out what you have that they might need to create valued care packages.  Better yet, facilitate a network of neighbors to amplify the effect!
  • To help avoid touching the face, sew masks from scraps of material or old clothes and share with family and friends, and be sure to stay updated on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for appropriate use of DIY masks.
  • Build a backyard compost bin with crates, discarded pallets, and reclaimed wood scraps. 
  • Repair broken household items guided by information available on the internet or save it for the next SF County sponsored Fixit Clinic, date and location to be announced soon!

COVID-19 Toolkit: Activity Ideas 

Family Activities

Activities for Kids and Parents to Enjoy Together

All Trails App

Trail Mobile App

Backyard Adventure Game

Online Nature Games for Kids

The Years Project

Individual Solutions to Climate Change

Online Gardening Workshops

Free Online Gardening Workshops


Eating Well with Humble Ingredients

Sustainability Comments or Questions?

We are your local advisors on all things sustainability in Santa Fe County. Call us about anything from water conservation, cleaner transportation, solar and renewable energy, composting, recycling, etc. Or let us know what you would like to learn more about in our newsletter. 


Claudia Borchert, 505.992.3044 

Jacqueline Beam, 505.992.9832

Adeline Murthy, 505.992.9862