Earlier this week our 7th-10th graders from the Española Public School District took advantage of the gorgeous spring weather and ventured out to Pilar, New Mexico to explore a bosque ecosystem along the Rio Grande.
The bosque of the Rio Grande is a lovely and unique environment that encompasses the riparian forest and floodplain around the river. Willows and cottonwood trees are common native vegetation, although invasive tamarisk has taken over in many areas.
We began the day with some time to explore and take notes about this ecosystem and its characteristics.
Students practiced making objective observations of several trees in the bosque.
Because of the recent warm temperatures and melting snowpack, the Rio Grande is running pretty high. The nearest stream gauge reported a discharge of around 1200 cfs, and the water level had been steadily rising.
After a quick lunch break, students hiked up to a bench in the Rio Grande Gorge. From this perspective we had a fantastic view of the bosque ecosystem, as well as the rocks that surrounded us. We discussed the geology of the area and the Rio Grande Rift.
After all of this exploring, we needed a break in the shade. We took advantage of one of the gorgeous group shelters in the new Rio Grande del Norte National Monument to rest in the shade and fill out our ecosystem worksheet. We spent some time comparing this ecosystem to the others we’ve visited.
We had a fantastic trip, and our students now understand a great deal about the bosque ecosystem. Next month we’ll be on to a different location!