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April 23, 2019
Flocks of Sheep and Goats to work their magic in Railyard Park’s native grasslands

Railyard Park Conservancy’s Earth Day Celebration and Graze Days Demonstration

April 27, 2019

noon – 4pm

Railyard Park – 740 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe NM 87505

Contact/More Info: Railyard Park Conservancy Executive Director Christy Lee Downs – 505.316.3596, [bot protected email address]

 

On Saturday, April 27, the Railyard Park will be embarking on a new  (and yet ancient) venture to restore native grasslands in the Park. The project is called Graze Days and employs sheep and goat grazers in this urban grassland restoration effort. The Railyard Park Conservancy is partnering with the Quivira Coalition and the City of Santa Fe on this three-year project to rebuild soil nutrients and structure, and restore the health of the Blue Grama grasses and other native plantings in the highly visible section of the park, on the corner of Cerrillos Rd. and Guadalupe St.

The Graze Days project kickoff will coincide with the Railyard Park Conservancy’s park-wide Earth Day Celebration from 12-4 pm. Visitors to the park on the 27th will have the opportunity to observe the intricacies of the animals working while local ranchers and conservation volunteers educate visitors and answer questions.

Professional goat herder Amanita Thorp and her team at Horned Locust Goatscaping, will manage the flock for the day and throughout the multi-year project. Mobile solar-powered fences will be in place to migrate with the flock’s location, targeting specific invasive plant species and problem areas that have developed since the Park’s inception in 2008. The native grasslands are a core feature of the drought-tolerant landscape design that also benefits the native insects and birds. The goal will be to holistically restore the one-acre area of the park’s Blue Grama grassland in need of specialized care, while helping to engage and educate the community on the importance of utilizing livestock as an effective tool for land management. “The Graze Days project is another creative project by the Conservancy that brings it all together – education and improving the environment,” says Bob Siqueiros, Railyard Projects Administrator for the City’s Public Works Dept. The Conservancy’s Executive Director Christy Downs sees the project as an opportunity to create connectedness as well. “Part of the motivation for this project was to also be a catalyst for positive interface between people and animals, and foster the respect and admiration needed to be positive stewards, especially in our children.”

“Well-managed grazing has numerous benefits for grasslands, even in urban settings. Ultimately, we hope Graze Days creates a space for the community of Santa Fe to learn about the critical roles rangelands play in the health of our food systems, communities and the planet.” Says Arielle Quintana, the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Quivira Coalition. The Santa Fe based non-profit Quivira Coalition, who specialize in building biodiversity and resilience on working lands, are helping to guide the Railyard Park Conservancy and the City of Santa Fe in their first urban grazing project. The City’s Parks Department is a primary collaborator with the Conservancy on this project as well, with Parks Dept. Senior Director John Munoz saying “the goatscaping demonstration falls right in-line with our aim to care for our city in a naturalistic and responsible manner. This is more an innovative approach vs. just an ancient approach. In reality these animals are more effective than machines and there are many benefits, especially to our environment.” The Conservancy manages the Park’s programming and is the non-profit organization that provides community stewardship for the care, educational programming and public art in the Railyard Park and Plaza in a unique public-private partnership with the City of Santa Fe. The Conservancy and its partners invites the public to share in this free unique learning opportunity that will have the whole family captivated.

 

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