Seventeen Cuba Middle School (CMS) students spent this year’s National Public Lands Day (Saturday, September 26) on a Hike with their Principal. Organized by CMS Principal Lynn Vasquez, the hike allowed students to learn while being physically active and enjoying the outdoors. Mr. Dennis Vasquez, Park Superintendent for the National Park Service (NPS) and Principal Vasquez’s husband, also joined the group for the hike.
Dr. Richard Kozoll and the UNM SEPA team (Sally Davis, Alejandro Ortega, and Kathryn Peters) created mini-lessons in the biology and geology visible on the hike. Some of the students became teachers too as they shared knowledge on native plants and their medicinal uses.
The hike took place on a segment (part or section) of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). The CDT goes all the way from Mexico to Canada. Each year about 200 people attempt to travel the entire distance. This feat takes about 6 months! Most of the CDT is located far away from towns and cities so people camp in their tents along the way. However, Cuba, NM is one of three current “Gateway Communities” to the CDT. This means that Cuba is close enough to the trail that hikers from out of town can use the motels, restaurants, and stores. This also means that residents that live in Cuba or nearby areas can use the trail for day-hikes themselves!