Free Composting Classes

July 2, 2014 by  
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Free composting classes and vermicomposting classes too? I’ll need my rubber gloves for this one!

As far as I’m aware, there are three advantages of composting.  Firstly, it’s a good way to dispose of veggie peelings and other food and organic waste, including leaves and cut grass. (The smart people at the Open Space Visitor Center tell me that food waste is the single largest and least recovered waste stream in the USA.)

Secondly, composting is great for mulching and aeration if you’re into organic gardening, rather than buying commercial fertilizers. And last but not least… it’s free!

I’m no gardening expert. (Mr Cheap has the green thumb around here. With the exception of my lovingly-tended herbs, I usually only have to look at a plant and it withers… even if I have my make-up on.) But I’ve planted a strip of green beans, kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli this season, all nourished by our own compost, and they’re doing pretty well so far. Fingers crossed!

If you’re interested in learning about composting, Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters offer a bunch of free composting classes for all ages at various locations, including vermicomposting or composting with worms.

Although the classes are free they usually require registration before the event, so check details at the link to see where to phone or email to register for each class, as well as full info on times and locations.

Updated dates for summer 2014: These are the upcoming free composting classes for the next few months, but check the schedule in case of additions or changes:

  • July 23 : Home Composting in the Desert 6:00 pm (UNM Continuing Education)
  • July 26 : Home Composting Basics 10:00 am (Palo Duro Senior Center)
  • August 7 : Home Composting Basics 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • August 9 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 10:00 am (Palo Duro Senior Center)
  • August 17 : Home Composting Basics 1:45 pm (Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta)
  • August 30 : Home Composting Basics 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • September 11 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • September 18 : Home Composting Basics  5:30 pm (Loma Colorado Public Library)
  • September 27 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • October 9 : Bucket Composting with Bokashi Method 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • October 15-November 8 : Master Composter Training Wednesdays and Saturdays (Bernalillo County Extension Office)
  • October 25 : Bucket Composting with Bokashi Method 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)

–Tania


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Free Bee & Pollinator Awareness Day: June 22

June 21, 2014 by  
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Free honey tasting, meet beekeepers, and learn all about making your garden bee-friendly, or even keeping bees yourself, at the Bees, Bats, and Butterflies event on June 22, 2014.

Oh yes, it’s a free bee freebie!

So no, you don’t get free bees, but when you buzz down to the Bee, Bats and Butterflies Pollinator awareness day at the Open Space Visitor Center on Sunday June 22 between 10 am and 3 pm, you do get to taste honey and see a bee hive. You can also learn about pollinator-friendly plants to grow in your garden, and meet an Albuquerque beekeeper to find out how you could do it yourself.

Other activities for adults and kids include:

  • Put on a beekeeping suit and have your photo taken (sounds fun! How will anyone know it’s YOU though?)
  • Make a native bee house
  • Make pollinator plant seed balls
  • Make rolled beeswax candles
  • See the Wings of Enchantment Butterfly Life Cycle display
  • 10:30 am: Presentation on the Butterfly Life Cycle, Wings of Enchantment
  • 11:30 am: Bats as Pollinators presentation by William Gannon, a UNM Biologist
  • 1 pm: Mead Making presentation with Phil Grosfblatt
  • 2 pm: Basics of Beekeeping Presentation

They are also promising pollinator plant giveaways. See all the Bee, Bats, and Butterflies Pollinator Awareness Day info at the link.  The bee celebration takes place:

  • When: Sunday June 22, 2014
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Cost: Free!

This is part of the National and New Mexico Pollinator Week, an initiative to raise pollinator awareness of species vital to our food systems and economy. We love the bees here at Albuquerque on the Cheap, and if you’re interested in keeping bees yourself, don’t forget to check out the Albuquerque Beekeepers Group which is a great resource for anyone interested in urban beekeeping.

Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW (between Montano and Paseo del Norte).

–Tania

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Free Meet A Wolf

December 12, 2013 by  
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Meet a friendly wolf (or two!) and celebrate the “Howl-i-days” on Sunday December 15, 2013.

This free wolf encounter event is one to note on your calendar for Sunday if you’re as fascinated as I am by these beautiful and mysterious beasts. Meet the real thing for yourself in a Wolf Meet and Greet presentation on December 15 at 12:30 pm at the Open Space Visitor Center.

Stephanie Kaylan of the Wanagi Wolf Fund will take at least two of her friendly wolves or wolf-dogs along. Hokshila the timber wolf will be there, and Bindi the wolf too. I know from experience that Stephanie is a very lively and interesting speaker on the subject of wolves and their relationship with humans. In fact, you can read my profile of her in a series I wrote of MSN.com Albuquerque Insider Profiles  for their Re:Discover Albuquerque project.

The family-friendly event is free, although donations to the non-profit Wanagi Wolf Fund are welcome as this is a holiday fundraiser.  There will also be a photo-op with a wolf for a donation. You can shop for wolf calendars, stocking stuffers and wolf-fur filled ornaments, and check out the raffle.

It’s usually wise to arrive early to be sure of a seat at the beginning of the presentation, as late arrivals are not always  guaranteed admission.

Interesting note: Wanagi is Lakota for “The one who guards and protects the spirits of those who have passed onward.”

  • When: Sunday December 15, 2013
  • Time: 12:30 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Admission is FREE but donations to the Wanagi Wolf Fund and Rescue are very welcome.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)

–Tania

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Return of the Sandhill Cranes Festival

November 14, 2013 by  
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The annual Return of the Sandhill Cranes celebration is back on November 16 and 17, 2013, offering plenty of free fun, including Tai Chi. (You do it with the cranes, although who knows if the cranes will join in?)

Albuquerque’s Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration this weekend at the Open Space Visitor Center gets us all in a flap on Saturday and Sunday November 16 – 17. It’s a great opportunity to join with others to see the sandhill cranes traveling south for the winter. Whenever I see the large flocks of cranes migrating along the Rio Grande Valley I’m awed by their beauty and grace.  I often want to fly away with them but I haven’t got the hang of that bit yet.

The free family event is not just about birdwatching through the viewing scopes, however. The line up includes:

  • A guided Bosque bird walk (8:30 am on Saturday) plus a couple of fly-in and fly-out walks
  • Tai Chi with the cranes at 9 am on both days
  • Silk painting demonstration at 11 am on Saturday
  • A tin punch workshop at 11:30 am on Saturday
  • Two performances of the musical Love in the Bosque by Phil Bock, about a romance between cranes who pass through Albuquerque along the Rio Grande. (Cute! The performances are on Saturday at 1:30 and 3 pm.)
  • See Wildlife Rescue birds from 10 am – 2 pm on Sunday (I always love that!)
  • The Albuquerque Origami Society – they usually get everyone making origami cranes
  • Films including Waking Up Crane and Stories of Wolves
  • Children’s games and crafts, and solar scopes for everyone!

See the full Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration 2013 schedule as some events only happen once. And check the times for anything you especially want to do, as all events are subject to change.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)

–Tania

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Recycled Art Fair 2013

April 17, 2013 by  
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The City of Albuquerque’s fifth annual Recycled Art Fair talks trash on April 27-28, 2013, with plenty of free family fun and the chance to browse the unique and very earth-friendly work of upcycled arts and crafts people. The event takes place over two days this year, instead of just one.

The Albuquerque Recycled Art Fair at the Open Space Visitor Center is on Saturday April 27 and Sunday April 28 from 10 am to 4 pm, and admission is free.

First off you can see recycled art – a.k.a. upcycled art – made from discarded materials, for sale in the vendors’ booths. I guess at least you know that every piece of art is unique! Then check out the exhibit in the visitor center gallery: Revived! Lost, Found and Reinvented Objects of Art show.

The event also includes live music, arts and crafts workshops and other activities. Details are sketchy at time of writing, but here’s what I know:

  • Saturday April 27 features music by Juniper Hill and the Andy Moss Celtic Trio, plus a workshop on plantable stationary.
  • Sunday April 28 features storyteller Rachel Carson, kids’ activities, live music, a workshop on papermaking, games and prizes, a raffle, plus info from City of Albuquerque Solid Waste Department folk who’ll be there to answer your questions about recycling in Albuquerque.

Check out the Recycled Art Fair schedule for the latest details.

  • When: Saturday and Sunday April 27 and 28, 2013
  • Time: 10 am – 4 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Free

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)

–Tania

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Attracting Hummingbirds to your Backyard

March 27, 2013 by  
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I love my hummingbirds, and they are exceptionally clever as they always return each year in exactly the same four-day period. How do they do that? I can barely make it to a lunch date down the road in a punctual manner, and these birds migrate over enormous distances to flap outside my window dot on time, demanding “where’s the feeder, then?”  The poor wee things always arrive so thin and hungry-looking.

If you’ve got questions about hummingbirds and how to attract them to your own backyard, plan ahead for this free event at the Open Space Visitor Center on Sunday April 7, 2013, starting at 2 pm.

Naturalist Roberta Beyer of the Fat Finch boutique for birders in Los Ranchos leads the two-hour program, with tips on how to identify and attract hummingbirds, orioles and goldfinches. Everyone will receive information on the care and feeding of the birds, and advice on the best types of plants to grow to lure them to your home. That’s something to hum about!

Wildlife Rescue of NM will bring live birds to the event, plus you’ll find Fat Finch store supplies such as bird feeders.

Although the Attracting Hummingbirds event is free, you do need to register in advance, by calling (505) 897-8831.

  • When: April 7, 2013
  • Time:  2 pm to 4 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors Boulevard NW
  • Price: Free, but register in advance with Open Space Visitor Center on (505) 897-8831

Note that the Visitor Center is still closed until April 5 while they gussy themselves up with facility improvements.

–Tania

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Free Star Party: March 2

February 28, 2013 by  
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Feeling star-struck? Take a tour of the constellations and hear about comets at the free and family-friendly Star Party on March 2, 2013.

The Albuquerque Astronomical Society and the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center team up to host a star party on Saturday March 2 from 6 pm to 9 pm.

They’ll be studying the heavens with the astronomers’ telescopes to get an up-close-and-personal view of the stars and planets, plus green laser guided tours of the night sky. There will be two talks by Dr. Barry Spletzer during the evening:

  • 7 pm – The basics of amateur astronomy.
  • 8 pm – A talk on comets and the PANSTARRS comet due in March and the ISON comet due in November.

Astronomy Magazine honored The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) with the 2011 Out-of-this-World Award for excellence in public educational programming. I’m not surprised because whenever I encounter TAAS members at public events they are always fantastically helpful and informative, and I’ve seen some amazing sights up in the skies under their expert guidance. They’ll have telescopes on hand, or you’re welcome to bring your own.

The Albuquerque Astronomical Society Star Party goes into orbit:

  • When: Saturday March 2, 2013
  • Time: 6 pm – 9 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Admission free! No reservations are required.

Note that this will be one of the last events at the Open Space Visitor Center before it closes from March 4 to April 5, 2013, to gussy itself up with improvements to the facility.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Blvd NW, between Montaño and Paseo del Norte.

–Tania

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Free Birding Workshop

January 30, 2013 by  
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Here’s one for the birders or the wannabe birders…

The Open Space Visitor Center hosts a free Back Yard Birding workshop on Saturday February 2, 2013, starting at 2 pm. Naturalist Roberta Beyer of the Fat Finch boutique for birders in Los Ranchos leads the two-hour event, discussing the native and migratory wild birds you might spy in your back yard or natural surroundings.

Although the workshop is free, you do need to register in advance, by calling (505) 897-8831. Tweet tweet, my lovelies!

  • When: February 2, 2013
  • Time:  2 pm to 4 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors Boulevard NW
  • Price: Free, but register in advance with Open Space Visitor Center on (505) 897-8831

–Tania

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Free Star Party: October 6

October 1, 2012 by  
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Feeling star-struck? Take a tour of the constellations at the free and family-friendly Star Party on October 6, 2012.

The Albuquerque Astronomical Society and the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center team up to host a star party on Saturday October 6 from 6 pm to 10 pm.  

They’ll be studying the heavens with the astronomers’ telescopes to get an up-close-and-personal view of the stars and planets, plus green laser guided tours of the night sky, and talks on amateur astronomy and asteroids.

Apparently The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) was honored with the 2011 Out-of-this-World Award for excellence in public educational programming by Astronomy Magazine. I didn’t know that, but I do know that whenever I encounter TAAS members at public events they are always fantastically helpful and informative, and I love looking throught their telescopes. Under their excellent guidance I’ve seen some amazing sights up in the skies, and in a week when Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will be turning our eyes skyward anyway, the star party sounds like a fun way to continue the theme.

The Albuquerque Astronomical Society Star Party goes into orbit:

  • When: Saturday October 6, 2012
  • Time: 6 pm – 10 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Admission free!

No reservations are required. They’ll have telescopes on hand, or you’re welcome to bring your own.

This star-gazing event is suitable for children and adults, and you even don’t have to wear pointy ears. But I don’t suppose anyone will complain if you do.

If you have eagle eyes you may notice, as I do, that the Open Space event page says in one place that the party is on October 7, but all the info I have, including the TAAS own events calendar, says the evening is indeed on October 6.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Blvd NW, between Montaño and Paseo del Norte.

–Tania

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Free Urban Farm and Harvest Festival: September 16

September 10, 2012 by  
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They’re making hay while the sun shines at the annual Urban Farm and Harvest Festival at the Open Space Visitor Center on September 16, 2012.  It’s a free event for all the family, and the festival at the 24-acre working farm and wildlife preserve celebrates urban farming and traditional local agriculture – and offers lots of free kids’ activities too!

The Albuquerque Urban Farm and Harvest Festival includes:

  • Live music including the Tumbleweeds and Apple Mountain
  • Hay bale rides
  • A farm-themed kids’ costume parade (11 – 11:30 am)
  • Magic, juggling, harvest games, and a kids’ art table
  • Beekeepers and a presentation on beekeeping at 11:30 am and honey harvesting at 1 pm
  • Live raptors from Wildlife Rescue (1:30 pm)
  • The Home Farming Revolution Book signing and talk at 3 pm with authors Zoe Wilcox & Melanie Rubin
  • Other workshops and demonstrations including a tin punch workshop, the history of food in New Mexico, water harvesting, and beneficial bugs!

I’ll be there with Mr Cheap, because he’s a “beneficial bug” and I’d love to find out more about him :-) Well, also I love the Open Space Visitor Center, and I wrote about them and this event in a magazine article for Urban Farm magazine as well as for MSN.com, so I’m not going to miss this fifth annual festival!

They’ll also have green chile roasting, and local artisans and farmers will do their thang in the booths, including sales of local foods.  It should be a lovely way to spend a Sunday, celebrating Albuquerque’s food and farming heritage.

See the full Urban Farm and Harvest Festival schedule

  • When: Sunday September 16, 2012
  • Time: 10 am – 4 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: FREE!

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)

–Tania

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I WISH YOU A GOOD LIFE.