Volunteers lead the way in Roundhouse, Bosque

We have a new media celebrity in the Rio Grande Chapter. Janie Chodosh, who was interested in lobbying on the coyote-contest bill, appeared on KNME-TV as well as KUNM radio and several newspapers in a report created the morning of Wildlands, Wildlife and Water Day at the Roundhouse.

Our chapter director, Camilla Feibelman, was filmed training a big group of volunteer lobbyists and teaming them up with old hands like Melinda Smith and our Legislative Team chair, David Coss, to learn how to lobby.

Thanks to KUNM and KNME for their super report. The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, with partner groups including Conservation Voters New Mexico and Environment New Mexico, held three lobby-training sessions in Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe prior to the legislative session. The trainings, coordinated by volunteer Diane Reese and assisted by local legislators, helped citizens feel comfortable advocating at the Roundhouse.

Chapter lobbyist Dan Lorimier said the citizen lobbying support was key to killing many bad bills, including an attempt to weaken the Mining Act that our chapter worked very hard to successfully pass 20 years ago.

We helped fill virtually every legislative hearing room on days that bills we supported or objected to were being heard. We trained our local kids group, Global Warming Express, to help them advocate for action on climate change on Renewable Energy Day at the Roundhouse — where Sierra Club Director Michael Brune spoke. Thanks to everyone who helped. Y’all ROCK!

In Albuquerque, the Bosque team awoke one day this winter to find out that Mayor Richard Berry had allowed earth-moving equipment to plow a 6-foot trail through sensitive areas of the state park. This work, prior to completion of dialog between concerned citizens and the City, was totally inappropriate.

The Central Group’s Bosque Action Team is now involved in negotiations with the City to reroute a portion of the trail that is too close to the Rio Grande. Check out the Bosque Team’s website, savethebosque.org. A million thanks to the many involved, and particularly to Richard Barish and the councilors who supported the bill to block the work until a plan was completed.

— John Buchser, Rio Grande Chapter chair
Featured photo “New Mexico State Capitol east entrance” by N salazar – Own work.
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Volunteers lead the way in Roundhouse, Bosque