Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge
 

What's happening at the Refuge?

The Refuge and the Friends are always busy, managing wildlife and introducing the public to the wildlife and nature. The blog "What's happening at the refuge" will keep you up to date with what's going on.
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  • 06 Nov 2016 9:00 AM | Joe Zebrowski (Administrator)


  • 11 Jun 2016 11:00 AM | Adam and Sonya Berg (Administrator)

    Come join in the fun at Maxwell NWR 50th anniversary celebration.  Lots of fun activities for families.  Food will be available.


    MAXWELL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

    Flippers and Feathers Fun – Saturday, June 11, 2016

    Join us from 11am to 3pm for a day of activities!

    • §  Hay ride
    • §  Canoe paddling
    • §  Lunch available
    • §  Historical photos will be on display for our 50th Anniversary

          – come share your stories!

    Sponsored by The Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge


    Go to flvnwr.org for more information.

                                                    Want to become involved in the Friends of Las Vegas

    and Maxwell National Wildlife Refuges?

    Contact us at 505-426-5958!


  • 21 Nov 2014 3:19 PM | Jo Rita Jordan (Administrator)

    Highlands Part of Unique Bison Conservation Partnership

    Margaret McKinney/Highlands University


    Four groups gathered at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge Oct. 23 2014 to celebrate a unique partnership aimed at bison conservation.




    From the front left are left Eliza Montoya, Denver Zoo/Highlands biology graduate, Sarah Corey-Rivas, Highlands biology professor, Shantini Ramakrishan, Highlands biology graduate student, and Jim Fries, Highlands president. From the back left are Joe Zebrowski, Highlands Rio Mora liaison, Brian Miller, wildlife biologist, Rob Larrañaga, Rio Mora NWR manager, Phil Viarrial, Pojoaque Pueblo Bison Program director, and Luis Ramírez, Denver Zoo Great Plains program director.


    Las Vegas, NM: A Highlands University biology professor’s research to increase the genetic diversity of the bison conservation herd from the Pojoaque Pueblo is part of a partnership that is the first of its kind in the country.


    The pueblo is the first tribe in the United States to graze bison on federal land; in this case the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas. On Oct. 23, the Pojoaque Pueblo, Highlands University, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Denver Zoo celebrated a partnership focused on bison conservation.


    Phil Viarrial, Pojoaque Pueblo Bison Program director, said biology professor Sarah Corey-Rivas’ genetic research is essential for managing the tribe’s bison herd.

    “The genetic research that Dr. Sarah Corey-Rivas does is important because it helps us prevent inbreeding in the herd”, Viarrial said. “In our culture, we have a deep respect for bison, and they are extremely important to us for ceremonial and spiritual reasons.

    “Historically and currently, bison have nourished Native American people with their meat. Their horns and bones were also used for tools and weapons and their hides were used for shelter and clothing, including costumes for traditional feast days,” Viarrial said.

    “Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge brings people together”, said Rob Larrañaga, manager of the Northern New Mexico National Wildlife Refuge Complex for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This historic partnership focuses on long-term bison conservation that honors native cultures and traditions tied to the land.”


    North American bison are a species of concern. While more than 30 million bison roamed the Great Plains in the 1800s, only an estimated 29,000 live in the wild today.

    Corey-Rivas said that bison help restore healthy grassland ecosystems because the way the animals graze promotes greater diversity in plant species, which in turn increases the diversity of bird species.


    “With bison, we’re very concerned about the historic loss of diversity in the species and the unknown consequences”, Corey-Rivas said. “For example, we might have a population of bison that don’t have the genetic immunity to fight disease transmitted by cattle, elk or sheep. Protecting genetic diversity also increases the chances of bison surviving adverse conditions from climate change, such as severe drought.”

    For her research, Corey-Rivas collected bison hairs from the herd at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge. Then she isolated the bison’s DNA from hair follicles in her Molecular Biology Laboratory at Highlands, involving her students in both elements of the research process.


    “We analyze the bison’s mitochondrial genes, which are structures in cells that convert energy for the cell and have their own DNA”, Corey-Rivas said. “We use mitochondrial genes because they give so much information on historic lineages and can also be used to identify bison that are cattle hybrids.”


    Corey-Rivas isolated a potentially unique lineage of North American bison through her genetic research on Pojoaque’s herd and will continue to study its pedigree.

    Brian Miller, a wildlife biologist and former executive director at Wind River Ranch, was the first to work with the InterTribal Buffalo Council to establish a bison conservation herd at the ranch. Wind River became the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge in 2012, the same year the partnership was formalized.


    “It’s critical to know bison lineages for broader conservation of the species across North America”, said Miller, who collaborates with Corey-Rivas on her research. “The research Sarah does is very important because we want to prevent the loss of significant and potentially rare genes that could be crucial to conserving wild bison.”

    Other Highlands professors conducting ecology and conservation research at the wildlife refuge include biology professor Jesús Rivas and natural resource management professors Edward Martiñez, Sara Brown, and Craig Conley.


    “Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge is a very significant site for Highlands University faculty and student research dating back to when it was the Wind River Ranch”, said Jim Fries, Highlands president. “We’re thrilled that this partnership has evolved in a way that supports our university’s research.”

     

  • 20 Aug 2014 4:38 PM | Jo Rita Jordan (Administrator)

    Attention to Nature Lovers and Birders:

    Important News from Philip Garcia, Biologist, LVNWR

    Philip has designated Crane Lake and Browns Marsh to receive over time, a portion of the year's water allocation from Storrie Lake. Philip optimistically hopes that water in these two ponds will last into November and winter months, inviting shorebirds and waterfowl to stop and even stay!

    For the Fall Flight Festival and many nature lovers this is good news, especially since Browns Marsh provides the most accessible place for bird sighting!  It will take some time to see the water there; Philip is releasing water into it slowly. Philip warns that water in Brown's Marsh will temporarily increase mosquitos and flies but he adds, "ducks love bugs." So, hang in there, and keep watch until the weather cools down and the birds fly in!

    The bulk of the allocated water is stored at Bentley Lake. Sadly, the current water at Melton Pond, so nice to see by the visitor center, will slowly disappear as it is designated for irrigating the west side fields.

  • 11 Jul 2014 3:48 PM | Jo Rita Jordan (Administrator)


    Sonya Berg organized a weeding party on July 10, and the workers showed up to separate wheat from chaff (or gaillardia from bindweed). It was great fun, and another party is set for July 24, this time with music.


    See the workers grubbing out weeds in the photo album.

  • 21 Jun 2014 10:08 AM | Adam and Sonya Berg (Administrator)

    Work at the Pollinator Garden at LVNWR Visitor Center is going slowly but surely. Remember, the tortoise and the hare!  We still need more hands to help us get ahead of the weeds in order to give all of those wonderful native plants a chance.  If you love being outside and helping the butterflies, bees, and birds, contact Sonya Berg at 425-6680 or berg.sonya42@gmail.com.  I will meet with you at the VC and get your started on this important venture.

  • 28 May 2014 4:48 PM | Jo Rita Jordan (Administrator)

    The Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge proudly wrote this letter to the Monarch Watch in support and approval of the monarch habitat garden project here at Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge and La Milpa Community Garden in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

     

    These gardens will be used as learning resources for the community and schools. Inviting schools to participate in the gardens allow students to interact with the garden, ask questions, observe the life cycle of plants, record data, learn about genetic engineering, insects, plants, soil, weeds and gain awareness of the balance of life.  This also helps children appreciate the history of gardening in this area and recognize water as our most precious resource.


    These efforts engage communities and youth to nurture an appreciation of wildlife conservation and foster a better understanding of the role of the Service and the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) in conserving natural resources.  An important element is to provide an understanding of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service mission and work and how it relates to people and their well-being.  The goal is to understand the values of the community, and why communities are important to us. The emphasis of this approach is adding value to existing partnerships, as well as, adding

    value to school, youth, university, and employment partnerships .

     

    These native wildflower demonstration sites attract monarchs during their spring and fall migrations.  Our gardens serve as an educational space to inform youth about the importance of species conservation , as well as to support science and math learning.  


    This year Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge's visitor's center demonstration area will be designated as a Monarch Way station on September 28 at our annual Concert for the Birds event.




    We are also sponsoring an Adopt a Monarch Butterfly program to raise and release tagged butterflies to aid in the study of their epic migrations to and from Mexico. Local people can adopt a crysalis, then tag their own butterfly and release it to the migration. Learn more about the program at www.flvnwr.org/Monarch


    .

     

  • 09 Feb 2014 6:39 PM | Adam and Sonya Berg (Administrator)
    Join Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge for the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count - ITS EASY AND FUN!
    Count birds anywhere you like for at LEAST 15 minutesundefinedor even longer if you wish. Keep track of the kinds of birds you see and how long you watched.
    Make your best estimate of how many birds you saw of each species. For example, 5 Northern Cardinals, 3 American Crows. Huge flocks may be a challenge, but your best guess is still valuable.
    Enter your list(s) online at www.BirdCount.org. Put in a new checklist:
    --for each new day --for each different location --for the same location, same day, if you counted at a different time of day
    Check it out at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/
    Photo: Join Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge for the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count - ITS EASY AND FUN!
    Count birds anywhere you like for at LEAST 15 minutesundefinedor even longer if you wish. Keep track of the kinds of birds you see and how long you watched.
     Make your best estimate of how many birds you saw of each species. For example, 5 Northern Cardinals, 3 American Crows. Huge flocks may be a challenge, but your best guess is still valuable.
     Enter your list(s) online at www.BirdCount.org. Put in a new checklist:
    --for each new day --for each different location --for the same location, same day, if you counted at a different time of day
    Check it out at http://gbbc.birdcount.org
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Friends of Las Vegas (New Mexico) National Wildlife Refuge

FLVNWR@gmail.com

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