Youth outreach – service projects

FOSM continues to support the partnership between the Forest Service and Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps (TTYL/YCC) whose goal is building “… a collaborative, cohesive and multi-disciplinary continuum of mentorship and support for local youth who are passionate about tackling climate change and pursuing conservation work, including: job and life skills training; youth development resources; leadership opportunities; climate change education; and social action projects.”

FOSM partnered with Troop 9 of the Boy Scouts of America in 2022 to buck, split, and haul fire wood for donation to the Mountain Christian Church Wood Ministry.

September 24-25, 2021 – Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps Assists FOSM in Graffiti Removal at CCC Water System Canyon

In the 1930s, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) constructed Juan Tabo Picnic Area and included an extensive water system. They constructed a large concrete cistern about 100 feet east of La Luz Trailhead parking lot with buried galvanized pipes connecting it to the water source up the canyon about 1/5 mile. The water source was a dam reservoir located just above an eleven-foot waterfall. The reservoir behind the dam is now filled with silt. Recently the Sandia Ranger District (SRD) found graffiti at two locations in the canyon and requested that FOSM remove them. The TTYL/YCC (Talking Talons) crew worked with FOSM on Friday and Saturday, and their project for these days was removal of this graffiti.

The graffiti removal chemical is applied three times with a waiting period of 3 minutes between the applications to give time for the chemical to dissolve the paint. Frequently, it helps to scrub the wet area with brushes with plastic bristles to improve the removal of the paint. After the paint is dissolved, the chemical and paint mixture is removed by applying water with a brush or the FOSM battery-powered low-pressure washer. Usually, it is not possible to remove all the graffiti; therefore, some color remains on the stone as you will see in the photographs below. A few gallons of the chemical and water were carried by the volunteers from the parking lot to the site of the graffiti.

FOSM members working on this project were Jerry Pekarek and Sam Beard. Talking Talons crew members were Seth Castillo, Rios Fernandez, Orion Francis, Blake Dimon, and Caleb Castillo.

September 22, 2021 – Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps Assists FOSM in Clearing Brush at Capulin Snow Play Area

Talking Talons member
Seth Castillo mowing snow play area

FOSM volunteers and Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps (TTYL/YCC) crew members mowed the Capulin Snow Play Area (SPA) sledding slopes and completed cutting brush in the parking lot traffic island. Manny Chavez, Sandia Ranger District Maintenance Supervisor, hauled the large self-propelled mowing machines to Capulin SPA and taught the TTYL/YCC crew members how to safely operate them. Manny and the crew members mowed the old and new sledding slopes.

The TTYL/YCC crew members were Seth Castillo, Caleb Castilla, Skyler Mund, and Blaze Dimon. FOSM members were Cliff Giles, Sam Beard, Steve Roholt, Jerry Carroll, and Eric Russell.

September 10, 2022 – Scout Troop 9 and Other Youth Help FOSM Split Firewood

Four FOSM volunteers, six Boy Scouts from Troop 9, four other youths, and six parents worked on a project in lower Capulin Picnic Area to buck, split, and haul fire wood for donation to the Mountain Christian Church Wood Ministry. One of the parents, Chris Weil, was Lou’s contact with the Scout Troop. At 9 am all the participants signed the JHA form in the picnic area parking lot, and hard hats were handed out. The group then moved down to the area near the restroom.

The FOSM members were Sam Beard, Jerry Carroll, Michael Arndt, and Lou Romero. Lou managed the project, Jerry and Michael bucked down trees, and Sam organized the movement of the rounds from the field to the splitter. All ten youths rolled or carried rounds to the splitter where the parents helped with the splitting and loading Chris Weil’s large dump trailer.

The project bucking and splitting began at the restroom level. Most of the two down trees above the road had disappeared, but several rounds were bucked and taken to the splitter. Jerry then bucked the tall fir that he felled a few weeks earlier, and all these rounds were moved, split, and loaded. The trailer was not full; therefore, the splitter was moved up the road to a location just below the gate. Jerry and Michael bucked two logs below the road, and the youths moved the rounds up to the road where they were split and loaded on the trailer. The full trailer contained 1.5 cords of split wood.

Lou led the truck and trailer and the youths and parents to the Mountain Christian Church woodlot to watch the trailer dump the load of wood. The group concluded the project by forming a circle and reciting the Boy Scout Law.

Project co-leaders, Lou and Sam, were very satisfied with the accomplishments and the overall success of the project. All ten youths eagerly participated in moving the rounds to the splitter and in loading the trailer.

June 2023 – Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps Members assist FOSM with Several Projects

After a one-year hiatus, the Forest Service and Talking Talons Youth Leadership partnership resumed. FOSM was privileged to work with an industrious crew of 7 youth lead by Jared Moyers. Other TTYL members were Kineo Memmer, Assistant Crew Leader, Olivia Lopez, Ella Cook, Levi Gloetzner, Mari Salley, and Robbie Larrison.

Four principles were emphasized in training the TTYL crew members: safety, teamwork, work ethics and leadership. Working with TTYL provided an excellent cross-generational, collaborative experience.

June 14 – Members of the TTYL/YCC crew at the completed gate
June 15 – Splitting wood in Nine-mile Picnic Area

July 15, 2023 – Scout Troop 9 and Dads Help FOSM Process Firewood

Luke Buelow, Matt Groff, Caleb Groff, William Weil, Chris Weil, Alexandria Buelow, and Scoutmaster Jason Buelow at Capulin Picnic Area

Four scouts and three dads from Troop 9 helped process donation wood in the Capulin Picnic Area. The original plan was to move wood from 9-Mile Picnic Area, but the contractor renovating the site did not change the lock on the gate as promised.

As appropriate for working with a scout troop, Sam Beard and Lou Romero were prepared with Plan B. The scouts first loaded wood that previously had been bucked into one-foot rounds in the upper snow play area of Capulin PA while Sam and Michael Arndt bucked a previously felled white fir in the lower area. After finishing their work in the upper area, the scouts rolled the newly bucked rounds down a hill where their dads loaded them into Chris Weil’s trailer for hauling to the Mountain View Christian Church wood lot.

The scouts accompanied the trailer to the wood lot where they spent the rest of the morning stacking previously dumped piles of split wood to better organize the lot for truck and trailer access and egress.

Project Leader Lou Romero’s report of the event can be read here.

Click on any photo below to enlarge it for a better view.