May 2020 Sustainability Newsletter

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May 2020 Newsletter

Happy Mother's Day, Mother Earth!

SOlar array

For Our Mother – County Electricity Will Be 50% Renewable By 2021

In late March, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved the creation of PNM's Solar Direct Program, which allows the installation of a 50-megawatt (MW) solar array in northern New Mexico on Jicarilla Apache Nation tribal lands. Santa Fe County will subscribe to 2.6% (1.3 MW) of the facility. When the array is completed next spring, this extra influx of renewable energy, when combined with the County’s existing solar panels, will supply over half of the electricity that Santa Fe County uses for its 80-plus facilities! An additional benefit is that the less expensive energy source will save thousands of tax-funded dollars annually. Be sure to thank your County Commissioners for choosing renewable energy for our future! Other program participants include the cities of Albuquerque, Deming, and Silver City, Grant County, Bernalillo County, Deming Public Schools, and Western New Mexico University. Meanwhile Santa Fe County continues to support state legislation to make this type of opportunity—called “community solar”—available to all electricity consumers.

EV charging station

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming To Santa Fe County

Another gift for Mother Earth—on Earth Day NMED announced the recipients of 4.6 million dollars of grants from the VW settlement for projects involving light duty zero emission vehicle (ZEV) supply equipmentelectric vehicles (EV), and alternate-fueled vehicles. The selected projects will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than 40 tons in urban, rural, and Native communities in New Mexico. 

Santa Fe County is proud to receive $20,000 for one Level II EV charging station at the Casa Solana shopping center on West Alameda. Other recipients in Santa Fe County include:

  • Santa Fe Public Schools: $341,700 for an electric school bus
  • City of Santa Fe: $26,303 for one Level II charging station at each of the Convention Center, Railyard, and Sandoval parking garages
  • Santa Fe Community College: $22,298 for two Level II charging stations
  • Marquez Place Lofts: $4,848 for one Level II charging station

RAIN Mental Health Tips

Health: Taking a Break!

The health of Mother Earth is directly linked to our own health. We rely upon the life-supporting functions of this planet to survive and thrive. During these unusual stress-filled times, it is important to take frequent self-care and mental health breaks, especially considering the link between stress and physical health. Try the mindfulness technique RAINS: 1) Recognize what is going on, 2) Allow the experience to be there, just as it is, 3) Investigate with kindness, 4) embrace Natural awareness, which comes when you take a step back and recognize that your emotions do not define your identity (also called “Non-identification”), and perhaps most importantly, 5) practice Self-compassion. All are great reminders for resetting when experiencing particularly difficult emotions.

And remember that the Santa Fe County Connect program through the Santa Fe County Community Services Department is available to help, linking members of the Santa Fe community to housing, food pantries, child care, mental health providers, and more.

Harvesting Rainwater

What Can I Do? 2020 Vision

Follow the Ancient Wisdom of Rainwater Capture and Harvest

Did you know that it takes approximately 53 gallons of water to make a cup of coffee and over 500 gallons to make a t-shirt? The preciousness of water will only increase as drought intensifies and water supply decreases in our arid southwest region. Just as the ocean is comprised of many drops, we all play a role in the overall consumption of water.

As water journeys through a watershed—through creeks, aquifers, rivers, lakes and wetlands—nature does its job of cleaning toxins and pollutants along the way. This scrubbing of water molecules is best done through the powerful agents of plants and filtration of earth and sand. Rain gardens are one way to help nature in this process. They collect water, slow the flow to our rivers, provide more localized moisture, and are relatively easy to create. Check out the water collection estimates of local rain gardens throughout the Santa Fe river watershed. You can install  catchments like this and other landscaping techniques in your own yard to boost both water infiltration and biodiversity!

COVID-19 Toolkit: Activity Ideas 

(Sometimes we need a complete distraction)

Great American Outdoors Act

Show Your Support: The Great American Outdoors Act

Santa Fe Plaza

Explore the World Through WebCams

So many places to explore without leaving your home!

Santa Fe Plaza

Santa Fe Ski Area

Live Bird Feeder, Ohio

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Eagles and Eaglets

Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska (bears!)

Humpback Whale Sanctuary, Maui, Hawaii

Northern Lights (nights only)

Tsavo East National Park, Kenya

International Space Station

How to Establish a High Desert Food Forest

Create a High Desert Food Forest


Visit the Railyard Park Conservancy's virtual Earth Day booths

Wild & Scenic Watershed Association Virtual Film Festival 2020

Watershed Association Virtual Film Festival 2020


Tune into the next Soil Stories on May 19 to learn about soil health

Speaker James Skeet will talk about how the Covenant Pathways and Spirit Farm in Navajo Nation is achieving resiliency and food sovereignty using modern regenerative agriculture techniques and the ancient wisdom of Native cosmology.

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