April 2022 Sustainability Newsletter

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April 2022 Newsletter

Happy Earth Day!



Avo holding the earth


The Sustainability Office Welcomes a New Team Member

The Sustainability Office is thrilled to add new team member Nav Khalsa! Nav will be working to expand the County's volunteer forces in areas such as Earth Day and Open Spaces planting and maintenance events, Adopt a Road, Community Clean Up programs, as well as the 30x30 Initiative, and much more. Read on for an introduction from Nav and get in touch with her if you would like to volunteer.

I am very excited to join the Community Development Department as Volunteer Coordinator this spring! I am passionate about the outdoors, sustainability, and education. My love of nature, and specifically our semi-arid steppe region, began when I was an infant, laying on a blanket in our Espanola community yard. After living in Colorado, Virginia, Los Angeles, India, and the San Francisco Bay Area, I was overjoyed to come back to New Mexico as a resident in 2017.

My professional background started as an early childhood educator, and I hold a BA in Education from Mills College. After 15 years of working with children, I transitioned to a program manager role with Road Scholar (Elderhostel), setting up educational group travel for those interested in the culture and history of the San Francisco Bay Area. As an occasional tour guide for the Road Scholar groups, I fell in love with Bay Area history and California Parks, and became an interpretive guide for Angel Island State Park, Alcatraz NPS, and a volunteer docent for a number of lighthouses, historical buildings, and museums in northern California. These experiences solidified my personal commitment to building strong relationships with people who want to promote sustainable practices to preserve our natural and cultural resources, through education and interpretation.

Since returning to Santa Fe, I have completed the Northern New Mexico Master Naturalist program, become a Certified Interpretive Guide, took part in in-depth training for Citizen Science platforms, and volunteered extensively for some amazing organizations in Santa Fe. I’m committed to forging partnerships that will support our shared goal of sustaining New Mexico’s cultural and natural history, and I look forward to seeing many new and returning volunteers at our upcoming Earth Day events!


Sustainable Spring Garden Prep

Singing birds and warming weather are sure signs that spring has arrived in Santa Fe County! Early spring is a great time to start prepping your garden for planting. Gardening in the high desert can present a unique set of challenges, but with a little planning you can create a beautiful and sustainable green space. Here are a few tips to get started!

  • Think like a raindrop: Santa Fe County received just over 11 inches of precipitation last year. In our dry climate, it is critical to plan your garden with water conservation in mind. Look for areas where rainwater naturally collects, such as near gutters, canales, and soil depressions. Making small adjustments to your landscape, like creating soil depressions in garden beds, can help to direct rainwater towards your plants. Rock features can also be designed to resemble beautiful river beds that funnel rainwater where it is most needed. Excellent examples of rain harvesting landscapes can be found right in our own backyard. Click here for photos and a list of locations.
  • Leave the leaves: Leaving some leaves and other fallen plant material in place can help to nourish soils, provide nesting material for birds, and create habitat for helpful insects. Looking for a place to drop off excess green waste? Residents who have purchased a Santa Fe County solid waste punch card may bring brush and tree waste to the County convenience centers at Jacona, Eldorado, and Stanley. Green waste is also accepted at the Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station (BuRRT) for a fee. BuRRT also offers free drop off days throughout the year. Click here for a schedule.
  • Check your irrigation system: Opt for water-wise irrigation technologies and regularly check your irrigation system to make sure it is operating properly. Encourage plants to develop strong and healthy root structures during the growing season by watering deeply and infrequently.
  • Plan to group plants by water needs: When it comes time to plant, consider grouping plants by water use to avoid overwatering drought-tolerant plants and under watering plants that require occasional supplemental water. The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer’s Xeriscape Guide recommends dividing your space into three zones. Beginning from the furthest to the closest to building structures: Zone 1 features drought-tolerant plants that require little to no supplemental water once established, 2 includes plants that may need occasional supplemental watering (once a week or less), and 3, "the oasis" contains plants with the highest water-use. Look for a cool space where water naturally collects for Zone 3, such as at the base of a slope on the north side of your home.
  • Incorporate native plants: New Mexico is home to an array of stunning wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, and trees. These plants are well adapted to our high and dry climate, which means less maintenance! Incorporating native plants into your landscape can turn your yard into a welcoming retreat for local birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Click here for a list of plants native to Santa Fe. Keep in mind that some native wildflower seeds may need to be cold stratified for several weeks before planting.

Happy gardening and happy spring!

earth day

Join us for Community Planting Events!

Santa Fe County is hosting five community planting events, one in each commission district, throughout five Saturday mornings from April to May in honor of Earth Day. We are seeking volunteers to help us plant site appropriate trees, flowers, grasses, and shrubs to provide more shade, restore natural areas, and increase soil health and equitable community access to fruit and other edibles. Join us to grow more green spaces in the county. No gardening experience is necessary. We will provide all the training you will need.

Schedule of events

Two volunteer shifts will be available from 9:00-10:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. until filled. Space is available for up to 20 people per shift. Events will be held on the following Saturdays:

  • April 23: Santa Cruz Public Housing Development
  • April 30: Arroyo Hondo trailhead, southern parking lot
  • May 7: Boys and Girls Club in Valle Vista
  • May 14: Edgewood Senior Center
  • May 21: Camino de Jacobo Public Housing Development

What to bring

You are welcome and encouraged to bring your favorite gardening tools and gloves. We will provide these items if you do not have your own. We recommend bringing sunscreen, a hat, and a reusable water bottle. Water and snacks will be provided.

Sign up today!

Visit www.santafecountynm.gov/earthday for details and to sign up to make a difference in your community!

Our April Picks

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

Green waste

Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency Free Green Waste Days at BuRRT

Saturday, April 2 & Sunday, April 3

Unbagged green waste can be dropped off at the Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station (BuRRT) for free the first full weekend in April, May, and June.

Earth Day

Santa Fe County Community Planting Event at Santa Cruz Public Housing

Saturday, April 23

9:00-10:30 AM and

10:30-12:00 PM

Join Santa Fe County for this community planting event to beautify our community and increase access to sustainable green spaces. Please sign up in advance of the event. 

Santa Fe Brewing

Santa Fe Brewing Company Spring Runoff Event

Saturday, April 16

2:00-10:00 PM

Santa Fe Brewing Company is hosting their Spring Runoff event at the Santa Fe Brewing Company Headquarters to support New Mexico Outdoor Recreation. Admission is a suggested donation and SFBC will be donating all funds raised to local outdoor non-profits.

Earth Day 3

Santa Fe County Community Planting Event at the southern Arroyo Hondo trailhead

Saturday, April 30

9:00-10:30 AM and

10:30-12:00 PM

Join Santa Fe County for this community planting event to restore habitat for native birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Please sign up in advance of the event.

Audubon Southwest

New Mexico United game to support Audubon Southwest

Saturday, April 23

7:00 PM

Audubon Southwest is joining new Mexico's professional soccer team, New Mexico United, for a special game day. A portion of each ticket sale will go towards Audubon Southwest's work preserving the Rio Grande for birds and people. 

Great American Clean Up

Great American Clean-up

Saturday, April 23

9:00-12:00 PM

Keep Santa Fe Beautiful is hosting the Great American Clean-up event. Participants must register in advance of the event. This event coincides with free trash day at BuRRT and the Caja del Rio Landfill. 

Visit the Santa Fe County Solid Waste website for information on the County's solid waste program.

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, jybeam@santafecountynm.gov

Nav Khalsa, nkhalsa@santafecountynm.gov

Adeline Murthy, amurthy@santafecountynm.gov

Caitlin Weber, cweber@santafecountynm.gov