Bachechi in the Time of COVID

A double rainbow over the Bachechi Open Space Environmental Education Building reminds us all that COVID pass. In the meantime, we can celebrate our own resilience, adaptability, and the luck we have in enjoying natural spaces close to home. 

Bachechi in the Time of COVID

Since we’ve entered into the Era of COVID- our work with the Sunday Family Funday and the Speaker Series Program lineup here at Bachechi Open Space has found its resilience to the times and has gone digital. The actual Environmental Education Center and parking lot here at Bachechi has been closed since we completed the NOLS WFR course here last March, but the trails here have remained a popular destination for folks in the community to seek escape from all the #stayinghome and #quarantining restrictions. The community accesses the park from the Alameda Open Space lot. We’ve made the most of this situation and used the physical kiosks in the park as a means to share outdoor ed activities with park goers, but we’ve also taken our Nature Pack materials and brought them online.

We are mentoring a former trekker, Mia JespersenChavez, who attends a local charter high school, and she is adding a great dynamic to the Bachechi offerings. She assists in content creation of our family activity downloadables, and is learning how to support the tech piece on our live stream events.

We are midway through our lineup of 24 Speaker Series events that we’ve brought online this year. As our guest presenters, we’ve been able to feature Gulch full-time staff in their areas of expertise such as the Geology of the Middle Rio Grande valley, nature sketching, and Healthy Camp Cooking. Thanks goes out to our staff who helped present: Lezle Williams, Ben Holt, Brad Jeffrey, Alizah Simon, and Kendall Anderson. We are also continuing to network with local organizations to bring workshops to our community and internet at large. Our three areas of focus are around the Land, People, & Culture series, the Backyard Science series, and the Sense of Time & Place series which also includes creative and wellness-themed workshops. Going online, we’ve been able to extend our reach from being able to fit 30 or so people in a physical space in the environmental ed classroom to over 1,100 views for one event! On average, each of our events are viewed (at least in part) by 100-300 people per event. Most of the events are live streamed onto the Bachechi Open Space Facebook page, and some are more intimate and require registration and are held in a free, but private, Zoom video session. If you haven’t already checked them out- we invite you to head over to our Facebook account and look at the videos link on the page to find one that suits your interests. We’ve covered everything from using the iNaturalist app to composting with worms, to adapting your home/yard to be more resilient in wildfire territory, yard yoga, and so much more! In November we will have a private event with a Chautauqua artist who will interact with you as if she were the living/breathing Rachel Carson!

We are learning a lot about resilience whether it be in our role here at Bachechi or from Basecamp. Here, at Bachechi, we had a late freeze in early spring and we lost all the fruit on the trees in the orchard. But, the grapevines were inspiring, although they lost their first attempt at growing grape clusters to the cold, they sent out a second wave of sprouts which produced fruit at 20% capacity. We learned that a grapevine would be able to resist a second freeze and on its third attempt, it would spend the growing season establishing a stronger root system and focus its efforts on foliage production so it can capture as much energy as it can through photosynthesis. When looking at how the Gulch is adapting to a freeze of sorts on its summer and fall trek season- it’s amazing to reflect on how we’ve utilized all capacity to expand our root system and capture what energy we can by showing up with care for our community in digital and innovative ways.

 One of the joys of caretaking at Bachechi is…


 …the delicious home-grown grapes!

Marnie Rehn

Bachechi Caretaker and Field Instructor