March 2022 Sustainability Newsletter

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March 2022 Newsletter

Welcoming Spring!



Avo holding the earth

Roundhouse with Statue

New Mexico Legislative Wrap Up

The 2022 state legislative session ended on February 17th. Multiple bills and resolutions relating to sustainability were filed in this short 30-day session. A number of these sparked statewide conversations, but did not pass this session. The HJR2/ Environmental Rights Constitutional Amendment was among the items that generated discussion, but was ultimately tabled. HJR2 would have allowed voters to decide whether to amend the New Mexico Constitution to add a new section that entitles the people of the state to “clean and healthy air, water, soil and environment; a stable climate; and self-sustaining ecosystems.”

On a positive note, several sustainability items did pass this session. Below is a summary of two key bills and one joint resolution that will be moving to the Governor’s desk or to the voters:

  • HB 37, Community Energy Efficiency Development Block Grant: Low-income households face a disproportionately high energy burden, spending a large percentage of household income on energy bills. Poor energy efficiency, due to insufficient insulation or older appliances, often contributes to this burden. HB 37 will create a block grant program to provide funding for local governments and other entities to work with community partners to implement energy efficiency measures in low-income households.
  • HJR1, Public Assistance for Household Services: HJR1 proposes to amend the New Mexico Constitution to allow the Legislature to authorize the use of state funds to provide access to essential household services, such as infrastructure for internet, energy, water, and wastewater. Voters will weigh in on this proposed constitutional amendment at the ballot box in November.
  • HB 163, Tax Changes: This bill provides for a number of tax credits, including extending the availability and funding for credits for installing solar thermal or photovoltaic systems at a residence, business, or agricultural enterprise. This aims to support the transition to clean energy by incentivizing the installation of solar energy systems for electricity, heating, and cooling. HB 163 also modifies the existing Sustainable Building Tax Credit by revising the completion dates for projects to be eligible for the credit.

The Sustainability Office thanks our community for their engagement this legislative session and looks forward to continuing to work together to address sustainability issues!  

Earth Day

Join us for Earth Day!

Every day Open Space, Trails and Parks along with the Sustainability Office, work toward increasing the health of the County's ecosystems to conserve precious natural resources and the services they provide our community. While protecting the environment is central to the County's daily work, the County also hosts a special annual celebration to recognize Earth Day. Last spring marked the largest Earth Day event yet with 150 volunteers coming together over five weekends to plant more than 350 native and drought tolerant plants in every district. County Commissioners, the County Manager, members of the New Mexico Legislature, and members of Congress were among the participants.

The 2021 Earth Day volunteers helped to restore natural areas and beautify gathering spaces at numerous facilities and along the southwest reach of the Santa Fe River. Their hard work created important pollinator habitat, provided for erosion control, and will produce nutritious fruit to benefit our community for years to come.

In keeping with this beloved County tradition, the Sustainability Office is gearing up for another busy Earth Day with the theme of investing in our planet. Plans are underway for one site in each Commission District to be planted with shade trees and pollinator habitat. Areas which will receive focus this year are those that are often underserved. Many families and children alike will benefit from the beautification and green additions in high use and play areas. We invite you to join us in investing in our planet and future by attending these soon to be announced, community-wide planting events.  

Why participate?

Event details will be made available in the April issue of the Sustainability newsletter and on the County website in the coming weeks. No gardening experience is necessary to participate. Staff will provide all the training and tools needed to dig in and make a difference!

Stay tuned for more information in the next few weeks!


What Can I Do? Compost at Home with a FREE Composting Bin!

Applications are now being accepted for the 2022 Residential Composting Program! The Santa Fe County Sustainability Office is partnering with Reunity Resources to offer FREE home compost systems to residents as part of the County's Residential Composting Program. There are two types of composting systems available: straw bale and a black plastic bin. Reunity Resources will work with selected applicants to determine which system is best for their needs and will then install the system and provide the user with an instructional guide, tools, and training. The Sustainability Office is available to provide additional technical assistance as part of the program.

Composting is the gold standard for “recycling” organic materials such as vegetable scraps, leaves, and other organic materials into a rich soil amendment that can be used to benefit your garden and the environment. Given that approximately 40% of household waste consists of organic matter (e.g. food and yard waste), the intention of this program is to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill. This saves residents time and money needed to transport waste to County convenience centers, while reducing the methane emissions generated from landfilled organic waste, and producing an organic material that is beneficial in enhancing soils, plant growth, and water retention.

Participants must be a user of one of the County's solid waste convenience centers and have a valid bag tag or permit number. All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on March 31, 2022. Contact Adeline Murthy at 505-992-9862 or to learn more about the program or visit our website to learn more about composting. Spots are limited, so apply today!


About Reunity Resources: Reunity Resources is a 501c3 nonprofit that operates a regenerative urban farm and compost yard. This closed-loop localized food system promotes equitable food access, and provides agricultural & environmental education to increase access to and participation in sustainable land stewardship. Find out more about their offerings at

Our March Picks

(Click on orange title and text below for associated links and information.)

Land and Water Summit

Land and Water Summit

Thurs & Fri., March 3-4
All Day

Learn about green stormwater infrastructure and low impact design at the 2022 Land and Water Summit held virtually and in Albuquerque, NM.


Banff Mountain Film Festival

Thurs. & Fri., March 10-11 
7:00 PM
or virtually

Check out the outdoor adventure films featured in this year's Banff Mountain Film Festival hosted by the Santa Fe Conservation Trust online and at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day

Thurs., March 3

Check out the events hosted around the globe in honor of World Wildlife Day.

Vital Spaces

Community Art Closet

Sat., March 19
11:00 AM- 3:00 PM

Visit the Community Art Closet on St. Michael's Drive for free art supplies for all skill levels and ages.


3rd Annual STEAM Expo

Tues., March 8
4:30-6:30 PM

Join the Santa Fe Public Schools for a virtual event exploring the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).


Introduction to Worm Composting and Aerated Static Pile Composting

Sat., March 26
9:00 AM- 1:00 PM

Learn how to compost at this workshop hosted at Reunity Resources in partnership with the Quivira Coalition.

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. 


Jacqueline Beam,

Adeline Murthy,

Caitlin Weber,