During the final day of Ranger Training, crews receive a personalized, thought-provoking speech about preservation, conservation and enrichment for future participants. Though a Ranger will lead each of their crews during a summer in the Wilderness Pledge, every speech, discussion or moments spent doing this is unique and special for that crew.

The impact that the Wilderness Pledge has on a crew can be profound. Through the WP, a crew will spend time thinking about what preservation and conservation mean and how those principles are exemplified right in front of their eyes here at the ranch.

By the end of summer 2010, we will have over 63,000 hours of conservation service given to the ranch by the 21,000 plus participants completing their 3-hour service projects during their trek.

The Wilderness Pledge and Conservation Projects are an essential part of every crew’s experience and vitally responsible for preserving Philmont’s beauty and splendor for future generations.

The participants and staff that experience Philmont will always have these parts of our sustainability to thank for their wilderness adventure that lasts a lifetime.

The summer of 2010 has been a great success for Philmont’s Sustainability efforts. The largest success is thanks to the publication of this very newsletter, the Philnews. Through submission of nine articles in nine weeks, I have been able to educate the reading audience about various initiatives that the Ranch has done for many years. For two decades our Motor Pool Shop has been using old motor oil to heat their shop in wintertime. The Ranch has a great capacity of reusing boxes and packaging material. Philmont Scout Ranch has a forestry management plan that includes responsible timber cut methods and an educational Demonstration Forest initiative has started to educate our staff, participants and visitors to greater lengths thanks to the Visiting Forester Program.

Many first time recycling efforts were begun this season. Thanks to the cooperation of staff across the Ranch, aluminum cans, plastic #1/#2 and corrugated cardboard were collected and transported to Angel Fire from June 15th – August 20th. Over 30 blue recycling containers were distributed to offices and departments to aid in the sorting and collection of cans and bottles and 36 white paper collection bins were sorted for the Taos Recycling Facility. Hopefully these bins will be a familiar part of each staff member’s responsibilities for future seasons. The recycling efforts will be continued throughout Philmont’s “off season,” including Autumn Adventure and Kanik programs, thanks to the seasonal and permanent staff members that remain here at the Ranch.

Forty tons of corrugated cardboard, 1.5 tons of aluminum cans and 4 tons of plastic #1/#2 were taken to the Angel Fire Recycling Facility this summer.*

New prospects challenge Philmont in the future. Next summer’s operations hope to include baling our cardboard on site and receiving payment upon pickup by an Albuquerque paper processing company. We also hope to solve the dilemma of what to do with all the empty and half-used aluminum iso-butane fuel canisters. Other projects include a battery recycling project and possibly recycling used cooking oil from our kitchens.

I’d like to thank all the departments and individuals who aided my efforts this summer. I wouldn’t have succeeded in representing and making it happen for the Ranch had it not been for countless work day helpers, self-starters in each department and willing minds and hands to help me.

By Sarah Burgess

*Corrected figures. Inaccurate figures were printed in PhilNews final issue.

Cardboard photo courtesy elvissa.