Valles Caldera Celebration

This past Saturday, Sewanee professors Ken Smith and Deborah McGrath were invited by  US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to participate in the inauguration of the National Park Service’s newest acquisition at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico. Smith , a presidential appointee who was the chair of the Valles Caldera Board of Trustees, was included on the speaking agenda and delivered remarks about the Preserve and its prior management. Secretary Jewell spoke about the beauty of the Preserve and the need to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was used to purchase the Preserve from private landowners in 2000. New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and retired Senator Jeff Bingaman spoke about the political maneuvering that helped create the Preserve and the need to be forward-thinking about conservation in the United States. The Governors of the Jemez and Santa Clara Pueblos also addressed the crowd of 500, and they emphasized the religious significance of the Preserve to their people who have used the resources of the region for thousands of years. Stories about the event can be found in the  Albuquerque and Santa Fe newspapers. Secretary Jewell (third from left) is shown here with Professsor Smith and three fellow board members.