Mission Outdoors - October 20 a big success
Sierra Club Mission Outdoors - The Organ Mountains Campout
by Liz Walsh
As you know the Sierra Club’s mission is to explore, enjoy and protect the planet. Through our four Mission Outdoors programs, we are expanding the conservation movement by providing access to outdoor experiences for more people, organizing grassroots and administrative support for the value of outdoor experiences, and building alliances and partnerships that involve diverse communities in protecting their natural heritage. Part of this initiative focuses on engaging military families and veterans.
On Oct 20, 2012 the Mission Outdoors – Military Families and Veterans program hosted an event at Aguirre Springs in the Organ Mountains just outside of Las Cruces. Families from Ft. Bliss were invited to camp out and hike with Sierra Club leaders from around the country including our own Richard Rheder. Families set up camp and learned about the site from local BLM representatives. Also on hand were local military history experts, Jim Eckles and David Soules as well as Debbie Hendrix, the Ft. Bliss Blue Star Families Director.
Around 11:30am we split into groups of hikers – some energetic folks set off on the 4 mile Pine Tree loop trail while another group of us did a smaller 2 mile hike. It was a beautiful day for a hike and we enjoyed the many wildflowers that were still blooming, the scenery of the trail and the magnificent view of the valley. The kids really enjoyed the bingo activity, identifying local plants, climbing on boulders and looking for the great tarantulas that were out in force.
I enjoyed talking with and meeting the families from El Paso, many who had never hiked in the Organs and most knew little of the Sierra Club. It was a great opportunity to connect with them and hope that some will join us for the presentation on Nov 1st on the Sierra Club initiative to gain National Monument status for the Organ Mountains.
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