At the end of January, Andy Nadeau and Kathy Allen traveled to central New Mexico to kick-off an NRCA for Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. The Monument consists of three distinct units, each supporting the ruins of the 17th-century Spanish mission and historic Native American pueblos. While Salinas Pueblo Missions is known for it's cultural resources, it also supports a diversity, from the pinyon-juniper woodlands common to the New Mexico mountains to rarer cottonwood groves along natural drainage areas. The wooded area provides habitat for a variety of birds as well as mammals including black bears, elk, pronghorn, and bobcats. The Monument also contains numerous Permian fossils (plants, marine organisms, insect trackways) and is a Certified International Dark Night Sky Park. The highlights of the trip for Andy and Kathy were finding Native American pottery shards at the Gran Quivira Unit and seeing ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings) at the Abo Unit.
Gran Quivira Unit