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STEM Summer Field Trips

Through our partnership with the STEM Collaborative Center, we took students out to three field locations in New Mexico as part of their STEM Summer. This program is part of the STEM University which offers free events and projects for UNM students to explore different UNM STEM degrees and STEM career options.

For each trip, we took extensive field notes at each location, documenting the date, time of day, description of the location, weather, and other pertinent information (i.e. habitat, elevation, ecozone, etc.), along with sketches and written descriptions of species composition and any other information students felt relevant. At the end of each trip, we summarized and synthesized these field notes.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

We systematically walked and record observations of birds and other flora and fauna of the areas (also known as field transects) along the Canyon Trail, Boardwalk Loop, Low Flow Channel, Observation Blind, and Farm Loop Observation deck #7. We focused on the effects of water availability and the effects on species composition and diversity across the diverse riparian habitats.

Observing Life Zone Changes along the Sanida Mountains

We explored the impact of environmental changes such as elevation on flora nd faunal composition. We hiked in the Juniper, Pinon-Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, Oak, Mixed Confier, and Spruce-Fir life zones. We discussed both the rain shadow effect (East vs. West side of the mountain), as well as effects of elevation and slope.

Macroinvertebrate Identification, and Understanding the Impact of Invasive Species on the Rio Grande

We collected, examined, and identified macro-invertebrates in the Discovery Pond, followed by a walk along the Bosque Trail to observe and discuss the effects of invasive species on the flora and fauna of the Rio Grande. Our discussion include the challenges associated with these topics with regards to restoration and conservation efforts.