56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023


Mimi Stewart









     WHEREAS, New Mexico is well known for its beautiful and abundant resources, which provide ecological, cultural and economic benefits and make New Mexico the land of enchantment; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico's forests cover almost one-third of the state, or twenty-four million seven hundred thousand acres, with forty-two percent being privately owned, including tribal lands; and

     WHEREAS, forests provide essential ecological services, such as providing a habitat for wildlife, oxygen, clean water, the uptake of carbon dioxide and cooling temperatures. As one student said, "Forests are not just trees, they are life.". As another student said, "If forests disappear, many species won't have a home."; and

     WHEREAS, forests provide cultural connections that are essential to the rich heritage of New Mexico, and families throughout New Mexico have loved the land, including forests, for generations. As one student said, "My grandpa and I go to the forest to hunt piñon nuts."; and

     WHEREAS, the loss of forests takes away the culture, way of life and income for many New Mexicans — from grazing, collecting firewood, harvesting medicinal herbs and wood for latillas, hunting and other activities; and

     WHEREAS, outdoor recreation, including recreation in the forests, brings in billions of dollars to New Mexico's economy and makes up more than two and one-tenth percent of the state's gross domestic product; and

     WHEREAS, mental wellness, which can be found through connection with the forest, is priceless. As one student said, "The forest is a peaceful place where I go to clear my mind.". As another student said, "Forests provide sanctuary."; and

     WHEREAS, forests are under threat from drought, catastrophic wildfires, rising temperatures, trash, overcrowding of trees and bark beetles. As one student said, "Everything in the forest is connected. If one thing dies, others die, too."; and

     WHEREAS, people can help prevent catastrophic wildfires by putting out campfires, not throwing cigarette butts out of car windows and educating others about how to keep the forest safe; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico's 2020 Forest Action Plan calls for the support and expansion of public outreach and education to "foster a society that supports watershed restoration activities and values resilient and healthy forest ecosystems"; and

     WHEREAS, many New Mexicans are unaware of the importance of forests and the threats to them; and

     WHEREAS, the urgency for forest education is growing, and education and outreach can help develop the next generation of environmental stewards;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the importance of forests to the state be recognized for the forests' ecological, cultural and economic purposes; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the governor be requested to declare a forest appreciation day; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state agencies involved in protecting forests be commended for those agencies' efforts and be encouraged to continue to work with private landowners, tribal entities and other voices to protect the forests; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state agencies involved in protecting forests be encouraged to continue to invest in education and outreach, using social media, student work and other out-of-the-box ideas to raise awareness about forests and to continue to provide funding for student experiences, such as field trips to forests and other outdoor learning opportunities; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all New Mexicans be encouraged to help protect the state's forests by being good stewards of the land and leaving no trace while out in the forests by removing trash and fully extinguishing campfires; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor, the New Mexico outdoor recreation division of the economic development department, the state forestry division and the state parks division of the energy, minerals and natural resources department, the state land office, the department of game and fish and the office of natural resources trustee.

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