This past week I visited our three interns from the Blanca Wetlands site. For those of you who don’t know, Blanca Wetlands is located near Alamosa, Colorado, which is about a four-hour drive (NOT including dreadful traffic), from Boulder. And even though both towns are surrounded by mountains, they are very different. Boulder is an outdoorsy urban city with a huge university right in the middle of it. On the other hand, the San Luis Valley is composed of a number of small agricultural towns with a small university somewhere in the mix (I got a little disoriented with my directions), with mountains on every side. Bu it’s a cool place, with lots of different types of hikes. You can hike up the plateaus or mountains, around the wetlands, or through the sand dunes.On our first day of arriving, we wen to the BLM office where we were greeted by Tayler and got our own personal tour around the offic. Afterwards, we talked about the event with Boys and Girls Club, then Chu-yu and I called it a day since we spent most of the day traveling.
The second day, I went out with the crew to see how they conduct their shorebird surveys. We drove around the wetlands, which have different types of ponds like freshwater and saltwater. The wetlands are an important habitat for migratory birds because they provide nesting material and lots of food for the birds. We mostly saw American Avocets, but there were some Willets and plovers sprinkled in as well. We also saw American White Pelicans, which aren’t shorebirds but are very huge and monstrous looking birds. Afterwards they drove me around the BLM lands and we saw the Rio Grande and some of the beautiful mountain region that the BLM manages. I also got to watch them change a tire, since a rock had popped a hole in it.
On the third day, we went to Blanca Wetlands with the Boys and Girls Club of San Luis Valley. I had so much fun with the kids. We started off the day with a game of Common Ground, then did a bird walk, learned about the archeology of the area, played the migration game, golfed to save birds, and the kids got to go out into one of the salt ponds and learn about the invertebrates that inhabit them. I think it was a great day for the kids to get outside and learn about all of the cool and interesting things they have in the Valley. Chu-yu took pictures and videos of the day and she also fell into the salt pond, but the camera was okay. I helped out and watched the team do their thing. It was a great day, and a really fun trip. It was nice to step out of the northern Colorado vibe and see something new.