Our Work

Las Cruces Sun-News
By Jennifer Romero, Guest columnist
10/27/2013 

Living in the same community for your entire life, it is easy to take it for granted. Part of your daily activities does not usually involve thinking about the uniqueness of the desert environment. As a native New Mexican, I fell into this mindset quite often until I became a member of the Green Team, an environmental education program for youth that is managed by Groundwork Doña Ana County.

In my three years as a Green Team member, I have helped build hiking trails, volunteered for the National Parks Service, planted trees, and surveyed for historic and prehistoric artifacts throughout Doña Ana County. From these experiences, I have come to believe the creation of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument will stimulate people both within and outside the community to re-evaluate the negative connotations they may have of the deserts and New Mexico as a whole.

The desert can be a harsh environment, and the need to protect it is often not evident. When I visit areas of the proposed national monument and discovered artifacts from ancient communities, I realize the cultural significance of this area. I realize how amazingly resourceful these ancient people were. The desert also contains remnants of more recent history such as bombing targets from World War II, which provide a wider range of historical significance to the area. By protecting these areas for future generations, humans will have a link to the past that they can personally experience and accept as their own no matter what their ethnicity is.

The proposed Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument allows you
escape from the stresses of everyday life. I have climbed to the top of some of the peaks in the area, and the views are amazing. When I look out at such a scene, I realize how large the world is and know that while I am only one person, I have the capacity to experience it to the extent I choose. It is easy to get stuck in our own little box of thinking, but these unique locations allow us to see the beauty of our surroundings and to establish a wider view of life as a whole.

Overall, the title of a “national monument” is significant in itself. Before my involvement with Groundwork, I did not know about the historical significance the land around me had. Growing up, I was somewhat embarrassed to come from New Mexico when all the “important” states like California and New York barely knew it existed. Now, I am proud to be a New Mexican because of the beautiful landscape and heritage the state has. And I believe the national monument will attract tourists to experience the living culture of New Mexico as well. I plan to have a career as a wildlife biologist and having the opportunity to work within the monument would be rewarding because I would see others discovering years later the environment I fell in love with.

I would like to close by emphasizing these public lands belong to all of us. Although we cannot survive without the life that nature provides, we have the power to destroy it. It is also within our power to protect nature, and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will protect everything from the time-worn resources of the land to the human emotions born within its boundaries.

Jennifer Romero is a member of the Oñate High School Class of 2013 and Groundwork Doña Ana Green Team.

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Wilderness Protection Campaigns

  • Rio Grande del Norte

    Rio Grande del Norte The Rio Grande del Norte has shaped the lives of the people who have lived and visited the area for so many generations. Read More
  • Organ Mountains

    Organ Mountains The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument protects a New Mexico legacy spanning Pre-American, New Mexican, and American history. Read More
  • Pecos Wilderness

    The Pecos Wilderness, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, encompasses 223,637 acres spanning the Carson and Santa Fe national forests in northeastern New Mexico, and is the source of the Read More
  • Gila Campaign

    Gila Campaign The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has been busy working on many fronts in and around the Gila Wilderness, the birthplace of the wilderness protection movement and our state’s largest wilderness. Read More
  • Victories

    Victories The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has had several major victories since the organization was founded in 1997. Read more about our conservation victories below. Read More
  • Outreach and Education

    Outreach and Education In 2013, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance launched a pilot Wilderness Education project to test a model of environmental education. We tested a three-tiered approach for environmental education that begins in Read More
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News About the Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks Campaign

  • OMDP turns 3 — is it bringing visitors, money to the area! +

    LAS CRUCES - Three years ago, President Barack Obama declared the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument  after decades of grassroots efforts

    Read More
  • NM Mayors: Wilderness designation preserves important lands +

    NM Mayors: Wilderness designation needed

    Printed in the El Paso Times and Las Cruces Sun News

    Ken Miyagishima, Nora Barraza,

    Read More
  • Diverse coalition praises effort to preserve special lands in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (2) +

    Legislation introduced by Sens. Udall and Heinrich would protect wilderness within the national monument

    Las Cruces, New Mexico (June 10,

    Read More
  • Help Us Protect the Organ Mountains +

    2015 10 22 15 15 27

    Read More
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Testimonial – Angel Pena +

    Testimonial – Angel Pena 

    Read More
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