Workshops, Field Trips, Hikes

Friday Activities

Registration for Concurrent Workshops, Field Trips and Hikes on Friday, July 26, are on a first-come, first-served basis. Please choose one. The trips will involve carpooling—please be prepared to take others if you have a larger vehicle or contribute gas money to drivers. Hikers Only: you will assemble early, before the Sagebrush Inn serves breakfast. Please be prepared with your own breakfast food. Boxed lunches provided.


A.   Design a native garden
Are you overwhelmed trying to figure out how to create a native garden?  Let Judith Phillips, author and professional garden designer, give you ideas on what to consider and how to proceed.  You will bring a site plan of your space drawn to scale and photos of the area you want to design on an iPad, laptop, or phone.  Even if you don’t finish, you’ll know how to plan your space and what kinds of plants will work in your garden. Detailed instructions will be sent to you prior to the conference.  Limit 10

B.  Identifying conifers
Can you tell a pine from a spruce from a fir? Have you ever tried to use a simple key when pictures don’t give you enough information? Renee Galeano-Popp, former forester called “The Pine-Cone Lady” for her vast collection of pine cones from around the world, will show you how to identify the most common northern NM cone-bearing species. She will also take a trip through the plant kingdom to learn what conifers are and where they fit in with other plants. Bring a pen or pencil to use with handouts. Indoors, 2 hours. Limit 15

C.  Make a cyanotype with native plants
Cyanotype is a sun-printing process first developed in 1842. We will be using jacquard fabric with non-toxic chemicals to make impressions, in shades of indigo blue, from any object that casts a shadow.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own plant material, toys, feathers, lace, etc. to ‘play with’ on six different 8 ½ x 11” pieces of fabric.  Catherine Langley will lead you through this workshop which is easy and fun with impressive results.  Limit 18 Materials fee $20.

Created by Judith Phillips

Field Trips

D.  Tour Three Unique Taos Gardens
The first tour stop is the UNM Taos campus, recently designated a Bee Campus USA affiliate. The Taos NPSNM Chapter, through liaison Roberta Chambers, is assisting with the planning and planting of the new native pollinator garden near the bee hives. A campus tour also includes the native landscaping, sculpture and future observatory. Second stop is Jan Martenson’s almost-all-native gardens on a sage-scrub mesa. Going on 16 years old, Jan’s gardens are filled with native plants from local nurseries and of course the Taos Chapter’s greenhouse. Third stop is Dan Jones’ property where his SpiriTaos Gardens demonstrate a creative blending of true NM natives with other climate-appropriate plants. The gardens, set in lowland meadows with berms for drainage, are influenced by learning from and mimicking Mother Nature. Chairs will be available to sit and eat your packed lunches while soaking in the beauty. Difficulty: Easy Distance: carpool between locations. Limit: 24

Photo credit Mary Adams

E.  Exploring Bee Diversity Along the Rio
Wander along the edges of the Rio Grande River near the John Dunn Bridge and learn about the wild bees that live there.  Olivia Carril, author and bee researcher, will explain bees’ resource requirements, including floral preferences, nesting needs, and habitat associations.  We will collect bees with nets and examine them with a magnifying glass and with printouts. Limit: 12


F.  Native Seed Collection
Learn how to collect seeds from native plants and which plants are valuable resources for restoration and rehabilitation projects. Your leaders will be members of the Institute for Applied Ecology seed-collector teams. Supplies will be provided.  Distance: Less than 2 miles Difficulty: Easy  Location: Public lands near Taos, NM, specific location based on seed maturation TBD closer to date. Limit: 15


Please be sure that you are comfortable hiking at these elevations and distances. Hikes will leave early to ensure parking at trailheads and avoid early-afternoon lightning. Assemble at 7:15 am in the Sagebrush parking lot to car-pool for all hikes. Restaurants in Taos open later than this hike start time (including the Sagebrush Inn), so please bring your own food for breakfast. A packed lunch will be provided. Hiking distance and duration is up to the group leaders. Stop in a cool, forested area to eat your lunches.


 1.  Williams Lake: From the hiker’s parking lot in the Taos Ski Valley, at an elevation of 10,300’, we will walk 2 miles through floristically rich areas to a sub-alpine lake (elevation 11,040’) at the base of the majestic western slope of Wheeler Peak (the highest point in NM). Our route includes a small marsh, deep forest and sub-alpine and into the alpine ecosystems. Distance: 4 miles RT Difficulty: Moderately-difficult Elevation gain: 840’ Limit 12

2.   Gavilan Trail: This moderately-difficult, steep trail, off the Taos Ski Valley Road begins at 8949’ elevation and ascends 2.4 miles through the shady forest canopy to a large meadow filled with wildflowers at an elevation of 10,815’. A large variety of high-altitude, shade and sun-loving plants will be observed along the way. Distance: 4.8 miles RT Difficulty: Moderately-difficult Elevation gain: 1,866’ Limit 12

3.   Rubezahl Trail: We start at the Bavarian Restaurant in the Taos Ski Valley (elevation 10,247’) and climb a short distance (50’) to a lovely waterfall at the base of the trees above lift 4, filled with marsh plants and flowers. We continue down the trail for approximately 1 mile through an area under rehabilitation from a severe blowdown event 2 years ago to an elevation of 9093’. Due to increased sun exposure and disturbed soil as the trail descends, we may observe more variety of high elevation flowers than usual. Distance: 2 miles RT Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 1,154’ Limit 12







 4.   Agua Sarca Trail: This fairly gentle uphill trail begins at 8,737’ elevation and travels through meadows and forests along a small stream to an elevation of 9,522.’ The trail revealed more than 70 species of flowers during a hike last July by members of the Taos Chapter. Distance: 5.7 miles RT—but we rarely go more than halfway. Too many flowers! Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 785’ Limit 12

5.   Angostura: We’ll begin this hike at the upper trailhead at an elevation of 10,400’ and hike downhill to a series of waterfalls at 9,700’, passing through the burn scar from the Hermit’s Peak fire of 2022. This hike is an excellent example of seed bank viability after a wildfire, revealing the healing power of the landscape through a plethora of wildflowers returning life to a fire-devastated area. Distance: 4 miles RT Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 700’ Limit 12

6.   Staurolite Trail: The trailhead is at the bottom of the horseshoe curve on NM68, about 15 miles south of Taos at an elevation of 6966’. The shady path along a forest road crisscrosses a small creek through mixed forest for about 2 miles to a small meadow at an elevation of 7756.’ Distance: 4 miles RT Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 790’ Limit 12