August 2007

We were a bit late with our granting process this year. Normally, we meet with the rangers in February or March when the Friends Board approves projects we will fund for the coming year. We held this year's meeting the middle of July. The rangers couldn't develop their budget, which includes requests for grants, because Congress was late with the federal budget for 2007.

In addition, Congress approved a new funding approach called the National Park Centennial Initiative. The Park Service can match requests from its units for up to $100 million per year in dollar-for-dollar grants until 2016-the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. Each unit park must match its grant requests up front with non-federal cash. Each grant must relate to one of five goals: 1) Stewardship, 2) Environmental Leadership, 3) Recreational Experience, 4) Education, and 5) Professional Excellence. Details concerning grants are still sketchy and details of transactions are fuzzy, but the Bandelier rangers want to use some Friends money as matches for this first cycle.

So here are the Friends of Bandelier grants for 2007, 2008, and possibly into 2009.

Centennial Matching Grants: $40,000. Bandelier applied for two matching grants for FY 2008 and FY 2009 (the Federal fiscal year begins in October.) Matching Grant #1. $25,000 (our half, $12,500) Facilitated Focus Groups to target underserved, non-traditional visitors, in this case, Hispanic people from northern New Mexico. Chief of Interpretation Lynne Dominy finds that focus groups are effective for Bandelier and the Park Service. She used them recently in designing new exhibits for the Visitor Center. Bandelier is asking for a total of $25,000 to hold eight sessions. The rangers have long noted that Hispanics rarely come to the park; their visitation rate is about 5%. The question is, why? Superintendent Darlene Koontz and Lynne express frustration in how even to begin to address the question. It has to be addressed if National Parks can remain relevant in light of changing demographics in the U.S. (And, after all, Hispanics pay taxes too.) Darlene and Lynne feel that focus groups are the most logical way to proceed; they hope to engage local Hispanic leaders to help them with the task, and are quite excited about the prospects.

Matching Grant #2. $55,000 (our half $27,500) Sustainability. This grant is currently amorphous; projects haven't been chosen yet. Darlene wants to engage staff and the public in choosing the projects. For the matching grant application, Lynne doesn't need specifics at this time. Part of the rationale is that "going green" is the right thing to do, and it should save Bandelier money in utility bills. Also, the Park Service wants to be considered a leader in reducing the carbon footprint in the country. Some projects mentioned were installing solar panels for electricity at the campgrounds, more efficient windows for the buildings, purchasing a hybrid automobile. The rangers want the projects to be visible and obvious. The Board is uncomfortable about this grant, but Lynne had to submit the application by the end of the week. Darlene pointed out that we must approve specific expenditures as they come along. However, as a matching grant, all funds must apply to projects that fit the criteria of "sustainable."

Darlene says that the rangers are interested in ideas from the public. Why not let them know your ideas? Darlene_Koontz@nps.gov (note the underscore between first and last name). At last word, Bandelier's grant application had passed the Denver Regional Office and was sent on to the Washington Office.

The other grants are regular requests (not matching). The 90th Anniversary Celebration seems a long time ago now, but part of the rationale for Bandelier's choice of 90th events was to try new things that the park might want to schedule on a regular basis. Two events were so fabulously successful that Darlene asked us to fund them again next year.

Cultural Demonstrations: $2,100. Bread-baking ($900) in the Bandelier horno. This event is wildly popular with the public, and Lynne reports that people from the pueblos are expressing more interest in demonstrating. Remaining dates for 2007 are August 18, September 30, and October 13. Pueblo dances for summer holidays ($1,200) really amount to more than just the dances. The dancers tell about their lives and some of their adventures. One leader told about their dance tour in India where they drew huge crowds. Audiences there wanted to see REAL Indians!! Remaining 2007 dates are September 2 Labor Day Sunday and September 30. September 30 is Fall Fiesta at Bandelier.

Fire Management Insert in the Los Alamos Monitor $1,100. Bandelier conducts prescribed burns when conditions on the ground are right. Whenever people see smoke, they start calling the park and the county; the park wants to be proactive about public concerns. This will be Bandelier's third fire insert; the Friends also paid for the last two. Bandelier puts the inserts in the Monitor because most of the calls are from Los Alamos. Bandelier will hold some public meetings this fall concerning fire management. One of the proposals will be spring prescribed burns. These meetings are usually poorly attended, but spring burns may bring people out-the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000 started as a prescribed burn.

Appraisal for Helen Cordero storyteller doll. Amount not determined. A generous couple is willing to donate the doll for Bandelier's collection. It would be a priceless acquisition. Darlene is not allowed to pay for appraisals with Park Service funds. Lynne is reluctant to ask the donors to pay for the appraisal, so is asking us. The park needs an appraisal before they can accept the gift; the donors need a value for their tax deduction.

Helen Cordero was from Cochiti Pueblo and essentially invented storytelling dolls in 1964. She couldn't make perfectly symmetrical pots like her peers, so they suggested she try making dolls instead. Her first storyteller doll was of her grandfather telling stories to his grandchildren; one of the children is Helen herself. That first doll is now at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.

Website Intern, $4,300. Darlene wants to upgrade Bandelier's website and add technology to make it more useable. She is especially interested in providing teacher training materials on the web. Also, to remain relevant, the parks need to attract younger visitors. The web seems to be the mode of choice. Darlene assigned Sally King as web ranger for one year, but Sally doesn't have the time or expertise for basic website structural development. Lynne contacted the local school district about a high school student who could provide assistance in setting up a better, more interactive website for Bandelier. The school identified Colin MacArthur as an exceptional web person. (Colin is known as the Bill Gates of Los Alamos High.) He will get class credit in addition to being paid. After the site is set up, it should be easy enough to maintain. Colin has his own business; the $4,300 for one school year (August to May) is half his standard price. Darlene can't use federal money to hire Colin.

Our total grants for this granting 2007-2008-2009 session comes to $47,500 plus appraisal. Much of this amount is profit from the Pendleton blanket fundraiser.

Please recall our grants in 2006 for acquisition of modern puebloan crafts for the Bandelier collection. All the pieces that we commissioned come from a pueblo traditionally associated with Bandelier, except one-Ulysses Reid of Zia Pueblo made the atlatl; he is the only person left in our area who knows how. The six pieces are now in the Bandelier archives. The pieces will represent the cultures for posterity; each tribal council approved the finished work. The pieces are:

  1. white women's moccasins by Gary Roybal of Santa Clara ($225);
  2. storyteller doll by Ada Suina of Cochiti ($2,500);
  3. atlatl, 10 arrow shaft bases, 3 arrow shafts with points, arrow bag by Ulyssess Reid from Zia ($500)
  4. a traditional embroidered white manta by Isabel Gonzales of San Ildefonso ($1,500)
  5. traditional Zuñi olla by Noreen Simplicio of Zuñi ($900);
  6. a copy of the Zuñi migration mural by Geddy Epaloose of Zuñi, ($3,000). Prehistorically, the Zuñi were a wide-ranging tribe and have maintained traditional ties to a number of national parks throughout the Southwest, including Bandelier.

In the end, we didn't pay for all the pieces. Lynne obtained a separate grant to acquire items for the new exhibits in the remodeled Visitor Center. That grant had restrictions, stipulations, deadlines, and caps on individual items. The Simplicio and Gonzales pieces fit the requirements so Lynne used funds from that grant. She wanted to save our money for other things because we are more flexible. Our total comes to $6,225.

Ranger Sally King takes photos of the works as they come in. Our webmaster, Laurie McGavran, puts full color photos on our website. Laurie also added Sally's summer photos of the hike up Cerro Grande. The trail opened in 2005 and has become one of the most popular hikes in the park.

Our grant of $1,750 to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture helped with the exhibit of Pablita Velarde works in the Bandelier collection: $900 for two Santa Clara dance groups on opening day, and $850 for an ad in the Pasatiempo section of the Santa Fe New Mexican. The Velarde is truly a beautiful exhibit. If you come to Santa Fe before January 6, 2008, be sure to put MIAC on your agenda. Wednesdays are free for New Mexico seniors; Sundays are free for all New Mexico residents; ID required.