Hi there everyone, Ricky Martinez here, your Environment for the Americas Intern and San Luis Valley Bureau of Land Management Intern. I am coming at you today from beautiful Alamosa, Colorado, to talk to you about how the San Luis Valley is a haven for wildlife and how there are many efforts that are being made on a day to day basis to ensure a good quality of life for many wild species.

I want to start off by saying I had a wonderful and privileged opportunity of getting a tour of the Baca National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), which is a refuge not open to the public that is currently managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Baca NWR is 92,500 acres and is located in the northeastern part of the San Luis Valley. The Refuge has a diverse combination of scrublands, grasslands, wet meadows, playa wetlands, and riparian corridors. The refuge was set aside not only as an additional haven for migratory birds and resident wildlife, but also for its importance in a broader conservation effort to protect wildlife, habitat, and water of the northern San Luis Valley.

The tour was led by Ron Garcia, the Refuge Manager and Law Enforcement Officer for the Baca NWR. We went on a two-hour tour where he showed us new electric fencing they are installing to keep the elk from destroying the willow trees in riparian habitats. This habitat is crucial for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, which has a status of endangered. He also took us through the meadows that fill with water and are full of life during the spring and summer. He explained to us how he uses cows to graze the meadows to keep them in prime condition. On the tour we saw many species of birds, mammals, fish, and amphibians.

The refuge is full of life and is definitely a haven for many species. I believe that it is important that agencies work together, such as the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many more, to pursue the goal of protecting as much land as possible for all species, especially threatened and endangered species. As I mentioned before, this work is being done day in and day out, so stay tuned for the latest on amazing and inspiring projects that are being worked on to protect the lands and life within it. Thanks, and see you soon.

My research partners Tifany Rubalcaba and Alex Mullins listening to Ron Garcia, the Baca NWR Refuge Manager, explain the function and quality of the meadows habitat.

Me (Ricky Martinez) examining the meadows habitat at the Baca NWR.

A herd of elk at the Baca NWR, one of the many species that call the refuge haven home.


Ricky Martinez

Im Ricky Martinez Metropolitan State University of Denver Alumni (BS Biology). Also I am a SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps Alumni (2016-2017). I currently am interning with the San Luis Valley Bureau of Land Management. I consider myself an ornithologist and I love birds.

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