2023 Membership Meetings

We strive for a mix of informative, educational, and entertaining topics each year including talks focused on enhancing our knowledge of like-minded organizations to help accomplish our mission of supporting the Forest Service. The FOSM board of directors was presented with a list of 32 such organizations in January 2022 and each member asked to choose four she or he would like to hear about at future membership meetings. Results from the weighted-choice poll have been used in choosing speakers since then. 

The roster of speakers for our 2023 meetings was:

  • April 4, 2023 – Sandia Ranger District update and priorities. Crystal Powell and Julie Padilla
  • May 2, 2023 – Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association (AMBA). Hannah Russert
  • June 6, 2023 – International Mountain Medicine Center. Trevor Mayachak
  • July 11, 2023 – Bernalillo County Open Space. Adam Splitek (note week delay because of holiday)
  • August 1, 2023 – Cibola Search and Rescue. Shannon Braune
  • September 5, 2023 – Sandia Mountain Natural History Center. Paul Mauermann
  • October 3, 2023 – FOSM year-end update and election results. Mike Madden

We experimented with doing hybrid meetings, in-person and on-line, using an iPhone to connect to Zoom. Zoom participants ranged from three to a dozen or so.

We greatly appreciate Pauline Ho graciously volunteering to talk about a trip she and Rick Buss made to Midway Atoll, where they served as volunteer albatross counters, should one of the scheduled speakers need to drop out. That need did not arrive, but we will hear from Pauline in 2024.

April 4, 2023 Meeting

We finally were back in the Sandia Ranger Station Conference Room after 42 months!

Members obviously were looking forward to resuming in-person meetings—our first since October 2019—as evidenced by an almost full Sandia Ranger District (SRD) conference room. District Ranger Crystal Powell and Acting Deputy District Ranger Julie Padilla brought us up to date on happenings in SRD during the past year and SRD’s plan of work and priorities for the coming year.

  • Crystal Powell, the District Ranger at Sandia since 2016, has 23 years of service with the USDA Forest Service. Until the past few years as the District Ranger, her career has focused on her passion of recreation and public information management. She has worked in 4 of the 9 Forest Service Regions, on 6 National Forests, in 5 states from the east to the west at the District and Forest Supervisor’ Office levels as well as on a National Recreation Area. Until 2015, Crystal also served in a logistical role to a Type 1 National Incident Management Team, which is an all-hazard team essential in management of, and response to local/regional/national emergencies, natural disasters and public events. Originally from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Area — and a Steelers and Penguins fan!!! — she graduated with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management from Slippery Rock University – yes it is a real school! Her children are four-legged and fuzzy rescues. Warning – she can talk dogs for hours!
  • Julie Padilla is a life-time resident of Albuquerque and began her career with the Forest Service in the Southwestern Regional Office in 2017 working in the Office of Communications and Engagement. She moved to the Cibola Supervisors office to support Public Affairs and Recreation Management prior to coming to the Sandia Ranger District as the Recreation Manager. Julie earned a degree in Conservation Biology from the University of New Mexico and is passionate about connecting people to the land, developing partnerships and encouraging a new generation of land stewards. Outside of work Julie enjoys spending time with her kids, traveling and spending time in nature.

Some asked during our two years of virtual meetings whether it would be possible to continue to use Zoom for those who find it difficult or impossible to attend in-person meetings. Wifi unavailability makes doing our meetings difficult. Nevertheless, we ran an experiment using an iPhone as the transmitting source. Communications were essentially oneway (live streaming) with viewers’ video and microphones disabled. Chat was used for questions/comments from viewers. Despite a few technical glitches, the experiment largely was successful with 8-plus members joining upwards of 50 people in the conference room.

Links to presentations (PDF files):

May 2, 2023 Meeting

Hannah Russert told the 30 or so of us in the conference room and five on line about the Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association (AMBA) and their exciting plans for improving mountain biking trails on the east side of the Sandias at our next meeting. A lively discussion session ensued.

Speaker bio – Hello! My name is Hannah Russert, I was born and raised in southeastern Minnesota, but have been in Albuquerque for just shy of 5 years. I escaped the Midwest to attend graduate school at the University of New Mexico, where I earned a Master of Science in both Biomedical Engineering and Project Management. Currently, I hold a full-time staff position, as the Technology Marketing Manager, at UNM Rainforest Innovations (essentially the technology transfer and economic development branch of UNM). In this position, I am responsible for providing project management and direct support in the planning, development, and coordination of marketing efforts directly related to UNM RI’s active patent, trademark, and copyright portfolios. In addition, I assist in identifying potential commercial partners and evaluating the benefits of new technologies from staff, students, and others affiliated with UNM. In my free time, I am an active Board Member and now the President of the Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association (AMBA). My primary areas of focus for AMBA include grant identification/writing, trail maintenance and advocacy, and ride leading. Besides mountain biking for exploration, hanging out with friends, and generally being outside, this year will be my first full semi-professional enduro/downhill racing season! Balancing all of that plus raising two black labs, pretty much sums up my day to day!

Click above to access story.

Talk abstract – AMBA in collaboration with the Sandia Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest, was awarded the NMEDD Outdoor Rec Trails+ Grant to build upon and improve the existing downhill designated mountain biking trails on the east side of the Sandia Crest. This scalable project was scoped and approved in the USFS’s April 2021 Sandia Trails Improvement Project but required supporting labor and funding from the biking community and collaborating organizations. The project will use a hybrid development approach, pairing machine (via Rocket Ramps – contract in progress) and hand-built (volunteer) construction mechanisms, to create unrivaled progressive features, while maintaining the character and experience of the existing trails.

Live Streaming – Our 2nd trial at using an iPhone and Zoom to live stream for members who couldn’t make the in-person meeting again had issues, but we plan to see if the third time will be a charm.

Links to presentations (pdf files):

June 6, 2023 Meeting

Topic – Overview of the International Mountain Medicine Center—who they are and what they do—paired with a presentation of the Tram rescue in which IMMC was involved on New Years Day 2022.

Speaker – Trevor Mayschak, our scheduled speaker, isn’t feeling well, but Jason Williams, IMMC Director, graciously agreed to stand in for him.

Jason Williams BS, Paramedic, DiMM
Senior Faculty Lecturer – University of New Mexico, Department of Emergency Medicine

Jason is the Director of the International Mountain Medicine Center at the University of New Mexico where he and his faculty train healthcare professionals from across the globe in mountain emergency medicine and rescue. Jason is a paramedic and holds his Bachelors in Emergency Medicine; he obtained his International Diploma in Mountain Emergency Medicine in Switzerland under the shadow of the Matterhorn. He is the founder of UNM’s Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM), a member of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue, chairs the international DiMM Regulation and Assessment Committee, and is on the board of directors of the Wilderness medical Society. Jason is a past member and president of volunteer-based Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council and formed University of New Mexico’s first helicopter mountain rescue team in collaboration with Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit. He has been featured by the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation and has rock climbed throughout world. Despite his breadth of world travel, he’ll let you know this any day: “Nothing beats climbing a granite cliff face in the Sandia mountains with my life-long climbing partner/wife and teaching our five year old daughter to share our love for New Mexican mountains”.

Livestreaming – Our attempt at using an iPhone and Zoom to livestream the third meeting for those unable to attend in person went fairly smoothly except for synchronization issues with videos embedded in the IMMC presentation.

Links to presentations (pdf files):

July 11, 2023 Meeting

Adam Splitek, Program Coordinator, educated us about Bernalillo County Open Space.

Speaker – Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Adam has called New Mexico home since 2014 and Albuquerque home since 2019. His role as Open Space Coordinator with Bernalillo County includes planning and facilitating hands-on projects and educational activities with a variety of partners as well as handling a variety of logistical needs related to the County’s open space properties. Adam holds a BA in Economics and previously spent 5.5 years in Taos with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps managing forest restoration, trail construction and other outdoor projects for youth and young adults throughout the upper Rio Grande region. He also spent 3 seasons doing field-based conservation work in the backcountry of Colorado and Wyoming as well as 5 years in Ecuador, first as a coordinator for volunteer and service-learning programs and later as an English teacher and photographer.

Program abstract – Adam’s talk provided an overview of Bernalillo County Open Space (BCOS) as well as highlight several county-managed open space properties in the east mountains including Carlito Springs, Tijeras Creek (currently co-managed with Bernalillo County Public Works), Ojito de San Antonio, Sabino Canyon, Sandia Knolls, and Sedillo Ridge (currently closed). Adam discussed current and future activities planned on these open spaces and opportunities for collaboration with FOSM in fulfilling the BCOS mission/vision.

Links to presentations (pdf files):

August 1, 2023 Meeting

Our own Shannon Braune and two colleagues told us about Cibola Search and Rescue and showed us a drone that they use in searches and rescues.

Speaker – Hello, my name is Shannon Braune. I am a New Mexico native, dog mom, chaos gardener, tree hugger and probationary member of Cibola Search and Rescue. I have been a registered nurse for 13 years, primarily in the emergency department. I currently coordinate an Emergency department nurse residency program at Presbyterian hospital. Prior to nursing I worked in public health and was an EMT-B and Combat Medic in the Army Reserves. I have been involved with Cibola Search and Rescue for about a year and am currently on the public relations committee. I learned about Friends of the Sandia Mountains when I volunteered to provide medical support for the 2022 Sandia Snowshoe Classic. I have since become a FOSM member and hope to become more involved in the amazing work you all do.

Program abstract – This talk will consist as a general introduction to Cibola Search and Rescue including who we are, what we do, roles within the team, typical calls, membership/training, how we serve our community and how FOSM and CSAR can collaborate more in the future.

Links to presentations (pdf files):

September 5, 2023 Meeting

Paul Mauermann, Director of the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center, aided by his colleague Daniel informed us about their organization.

Speaker – My name is Paul Mauermann and I am the Director of the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center. I have been at the SMNHC, a partnership between the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and Albuquerque Public Schools, for 23 years. I’m a native of Philadelphia but came to New Mexico as a park ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. My degree is from the University of Delaware in History and American Studies, but I have fallen in love with the world of informal education because I think it adds the context and realism that formal education often lacks.

Program abstract – I will be talking about the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center. Many people don’t know very much about the SMNHC so I will be talking about our educational programs both in the Sandias and across the state. I will be also touching on the science that the SMNHC is involved in. As part of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science a big part of our job is to continue to learn about the Sandias and New Mexico. Our “research” has been around forest health, ecology and the animals of the Sandias – especially bears.

Links to presentations (pdf files):

October 3, 2023 Meeting

During the last membership meeting of 2023, FOSM elected Jenny Blackmore, Jamey Browning, and Joe Meade for two-year terms on the board of directors. Four officers were reelected for another one-year term: President, Mike Madden; Vice President, Cliff Giles; Secretary, Silke Bletzer; and Treasurer, Tim Brown.

Fiscal Year 2024 Board members: Joe Meade, Mike Madden, Jamey Browning, Silke Bletzer, Cliff Giles, Tim Brown, Sam Beard, and Jenny Blackmore. Not shown: Sim Cook, Byron Garner, Steve Roholt, and Eric Russell.

President Mike Madden thanked outgoing board members Don Carnicom, Joelle Hertel, and Dave McCreery for their service. Don, a co-founder of FOSM, had served on the board of directors since 1997.

Additional information about current and past FOSM officers and board of directors can be found here.

After the election, Mike Madden, Sam Beard, Tim Brown, and Cliff Giles presented updates regarding past and future activities, projects, finances, and programs. Presentation slides are available here.