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Photos and article by Socorro High School students, Bethany F., Addison S., and Maria R.

On May 6th, 2024 our small group of students from Socorro High school toured Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. We first started off in the Visitor Center where we were introduced to our amazing tour guide, Alex Harper. Alex gave us an overview of the refuge, taught us how to properly use binoculars and how to properly bird watch in a way that would not bother the environment. We got to view all types of birds with the refuge’s equipment. We saw Black-chinned Hummingbirds, House Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Bullock’s Orioles, Mourning Dove, etc. They were all very unique in color and shape, and we also were able to learn many facts about how the birds survive. By using our resources, we were able to spot the differences in each species and identify them.

Bosque del Apache has 409 different species of birds, which makes it one of the most diverse areas for bird species in the United States. Every fall and winter thousands of migratory birds flock to the refuge. Beyond its avian inhabitants, Bosque del Apache is also a home to a diverse array of other wildlife. Bosque del Apache offers a unique blend of natural beauty, wildlife diversity, and outdoor recreation that appeals to visitors of all ages and interests. There are a lot of beautiful sounds that come from birds and other animals. Our tour guide, Alex gave us three minutes to simply listen to the different sounds around us, whether it was bird calls, the wind through the trees, or even something as simple as the sound of critters. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel disconnected from nature because of our devices or being too busy with work. But at Bosque del Apache, you can take a break from the outside world and connect with nature.

At the Visitor Center, we were introduced to many interactional dioramas that all ages can enjoy and learn from. They also had an amazing gift shop! We got to see the different feathers of species that we had observed and learned about some of the key differences. Alex even showed us the eggs that some of these birds produced. Even though they were manufactured, they showed us important information about these specific species. These first hand experiences taught us so much about the different species in our environment.

After this we went on the Rio Viejo Trail to spot other wildlife. We walked for about an hour and we all were so amazed by the environment. We spotted lots of different wildlife, for example some students witnessed some deer and even some coyote tracks, and we even came across a male Summer Tanager. By being respectful to the environment and learning how to politely interact with our surroundings, we were able to see so many incredible things throughout our trip.

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