Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Wood chips fly as Virginia Villegas (left) and her brother Pedro Villegas pull branches from a pickup truck to feed into the chipper during Chipper Day in Placitas. The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District contracted family owned Los Arboles Trees and Landscaping of Albuquerque to turn the property clearings into mulch.
Photo credit: —Bill Diven

Coronado district residents chip in for fire reduction

~Signpost Staff

Placitas residents hauled nearly forty loads of tree and yard trimmings to a wood chipper set up in June to reduce fire danger around homes. The effort was sponsored by the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District whose underlying goal is to prevent soil erosion.

"We're interested in doing it as a conservation measure to protect the soil," district Trustee Patricia Bolton said. Wildfires destroy ground cover, which then contributes to erosion, she added.

Joe Fusco said he has taken advantage of the district's wood chipping during each of his three years in Placitas. This year he brought three pickup loads after cutting and trimming on his property in advance of Chipper Day. "There's lots of standing dead wood," he told the Signpost. "We cleared our junipers close to the ground… We sure appreciate them doing this."

Bolton said she counted at least 37 loads with a lot of residents making multiple trips. Suggested donations of $5 for small loads and $10 for large one netted $163, she added.

The resulting mulch is offered free to anyone who will carry some away. This year, one person took it all, Bolton said.

The Coronado district is part of a national program started during the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. Aimed initially at poor farming practices that encouraged erosion, it has grown to include working with landowners on fire reduction and others other issues that affect soil and water conservation.

Local environment talk with Michael Crofoot

The Las Placitas Association invites you to attend a talk given by Michael Crofoot on the environmental history of Placitas at the Placitas Community Library on July 29, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The talk will start in the time of the dinosaurs with real, take-home samples of Placitas petrified wood and local fossils. Then, Crofoot will try to paint a picture of the plants, animals, and ecology in the Indian prehistory of our area. From there, Crofoot will work through the environmental history of Placitas in fifty-year increments, starting from 1830 just before the Great Fire, to 1880 just before the Great Grazing, to 1930 and the Great Dying, to the 1980 Great Invasion, to 2030 and the time of Great Renewal. The program is free and open to the public. Michael Crofoot invites you to be “astounded, perplexed, and exhorted.”

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