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Articles of Incorporation

The articles of incorporation and By-Laws for our Organization Incorporated in the State of Arizona, December 1, 1980

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Past and Current Projects from 1980 to 2015

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ZEROwaste Project 2013

ZEROwaste Project

In 2012-13 Amaterra has provided a $1000.00 micro-grant to support the ZEROwaste project in Albuquerque, NM. The project was devised by an employee from Soilutions, Inc., http://www.soilutions.net/, named John Shaski (Ski). The premise of the project is to engage and encourage both vendors and market attendees about the process and importance of waste classification and sorting. During the Downtown Growers’ Market trash cans are removed and collection stations are set-up throughout the public park.

Each station asks people to sort their trash into three categories, recyclables, compostables, and trash. At the end of each growers’ market Ski takes the recyclables and compostables, and leaves the remaining trash for the Downtown Albuquerque Action Team. The team is responsible for cleaning the park and disposing of the trash after the growers’ market.

The ZEROwaste project currently is supported by volunteers with some support from Soilutions Inc. Soilutions Inc. provides the containers at each sorting station and a truck to haul the recyclables/compostables away. This is not a money making venture for Soilutions Inc. or Ski, but a means to introduce waste reduction and management concepts to participants at a community event such as the local growers’ market.

Amaterra determined that the best way to support this project would be to provide funding for the creation and production of educational materials detailing the classification and end-use pathways for each type of waste material collected at the growers’ market and to provide an annual report detailing how much waste was collected and then diverted to either a recycling or composting center. The goal of this project is to help educate not just the general public but also local decision markers about the importance of sorting the waste that is generated at community events. If this project is successful it can be scaled to include other growers’ markets in the Albuquerque area, and possibly other community events.

The project was arranged by our Vice President, Shawn Hardeman, supporting this endeavor with direct community involvement.


Dr. Irwin-
As team leader for the ZEROwaste initiative I wanted to contact you in appreciation for the Amaterra grant we received.

In our 2011 effort to collect and recycle ALL waste generated at the Downtown Grower’s Market we managed just over one ton of material.  84% of that material was found to be readily recyclable.

Our success flies in the face of assumed public apathy and highlights the inadequacy of the available infrastructure.

We are currently engaged in a re-branding of the ZEROwaste_initiative that will raise its profile substantially.  Future plans include expanded infrastructure and manageability that will allow us to broaden the scale. More eyes and ears, more material recovered, more momentum towards a more efficiently managed waste stream.

Please kindly take stock in the nurturing role Amaterra has taken in this endeavor.  We’ll be sure to let others know.

Regards, John ‘Ski’ Shaski

2013 Washed Ashore Project

2013 Washed Ashore Project

fishtrashsmallThis project uses giant sea life sculpture made entirely of marine debris to teach children and adults how to help save our seas. A $1000 grant in 2013, arranged by Board member Joe Swaffar, helps develop educational materials for the classroom.

Look at the program and a more detailed view of the project by opening their PDF:

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Gerdemann Botanical Preserve and Garden – 2012 – 2013

2012-13 Scenes along the Gerdemann Botanical Preserve and Garden public nature path built with the assistance of Amaterra

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The trail starts here!

Located in Yachats, Oregon, the preserve’s mission and  activities parallel the mission statement of Amaterra and make it a worthy recipient of one of our $1000 micro-grants. Gerdemann Botanical Preserve and Garden is the life’s work of plant pathologist, Dr. James Gerdemann, who collected plant specimens and seeds from his world travels and labored to adapt them to the unique climate of the central Oregon coast.  The 3.5 acre protective conservation easement contains numerous plant species, many of which he created, while emphasizing rhododendron  (700 plants), magnolia and cacti.

The conservators/owners, Jerry and Kathleen Sand, manage the site. They facilitate educational programs and research and apprenticeship opportunities with the state universities. Also, they foster  public access via tours and  children’s programs.

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Moms and Tots on the Public Footpath, entering the wetland boardwalk sedge section midst native hemlock and spruce trees.

Detailed information and many excellent photos can be accessed at  their web-site, gerdemanngarden.org.

Amaterra’s grant was used to promote public access to the site and enhance the educational experience of visitors.   A system of durable identification signage was purchased and installed on a public trail at an estimated cost of $300.  The remaining $700 funded a raised-access segment of the trail through a micro-wetlands section created by a spring and creek.  Both activities enhance public use and the educational impact of this unique site.

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Looking across the bridge

A small bridge over Mitchell Creek with steps leading to Rhododendron ‘David’ and old English hybrid.

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Flower Arches

Large Rhododendron ‘Wisp’ arch over the Public Footpath, in full bloom March-April.


This grant was arranged by
Amaterra Director, Joe Swaffar

Camp E.L.I.T.E. 2013

2013 Zambia E.L.I.T.E. project

Be Strong. Be Equal. Be Elite – Empowering Leaders in Training and Education

In 2013 Amaterra has provided a $1000 micro-grant to support Camp E.L.I.T.E., a leadership and empowerment program designed for young men aged 14-18. The camp focuses on eighth grade students in Zambia. Two young men will be selected from their community and accompanied by a mentor to attend the week-long seminar. The camp is designed to encourage gender equality, equity, and life skills development. The program for boys will focus on Leadership, Gender Roles, Communication, Safer Sexual Practices, HIV/AIDS, Sports, Teamwork, and Life Skills. Upon completion, these young men will return to their community and work with their mentor to reach out and teach others in the community. This project is similar and parallels the “GLOW” project for young women.

During the ELITE camp, each of the boys will partner with a boy from another community, and will work with a LIFE (Linking Income with Food and Environment) Peace Corps Volunteer. These LIFE PCVs will work hand in hand with the boys to teach them and then assist them in learning how to plant fruit trees in the orchard at Mansa Secondary School. There will be a minimum of 15 groups, each planting a tree.

We will also be giving each boy one tree to take home and plant at their homes. They will be equipped with knowledge regarding Agroforestry and integrated conservation farming utilizing trees in their fields and gardens, and will be linked to three organizations in the Mansa Provincial capital that will provide them with access to trees and resources in the future.

Each Group of boys will also receive specialized, Zambia focused environmental education on the importance of trees. We’ve invited the DFO – Which is the District Forestry Officer – from the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture, under the Forestry Department, to lead a presentation on the importance of trees and the protection of the environment. This is specifically focused on preventing the Chitemene (slash and burn) model, and on encouraging natural resource management – working to combat the massive forest and brush consumption by the rural charcoal production industry. As this is a major income source in rural communities, this is particularly vital in conservation efforts.

Their final Agriculture focused sessions will dive into Integrated agriculture, agribusiness, and IGAs. We will have a presentation from highly successful local farmers who come from a village and rural background and poultry keepers on how to start up IGAs and what good business practices are. We will also talk a bit about cash crop agriculture and ask the boys to come up with a crop suitable for their area that could be grown to be sold at market, these crops will then be sourced (if seed is available) for their use to start a demo plot. As almost all participants are subsistence growers, this introduction to business skills and sustainable/eco positive crops is another essential part of the development cycle, both for income generation, and for land productivity.

GRANT ARRANGED BY DAVID BERGER AND FUNDED AUGUST, 2013.

Camp GLOW – Zambia 2013

2013 Zambia “GLOW” Project

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Glow Camp staff

A $1000 grant from Amaterra has been provided to Peace Corps Volunteers (PVSs) for a program empowering young women in Zambia, Africa. The program focuses on 8th grade school students. Each Peace Corps Volunteer brought two young women and a mentor (one adult) from their communities, to participate in a week long empowerment camp. The camp focused on life skills, women’s rights, sexual health, nutrition, and leadership. Also the young women were taught about good food, the dangers of teenage pregnancy, communication, and good farming practices. Of special significance for the mission of Amaterra, each participant learned about home/kitchen gardens, composting, income generating agricultural activities focusing on sustainable practices, and food security.

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Glow Camp participants

After the camp the two participants and their mentor returned to their community with the Peace Corps Volunteer, over the next six months the young women and PCV formed a GLOW (Girls Leading our World) club in their community and recruited young women in each zone to share the lessons they’ve learned and help support each other. The goal is that by the end of six months a minimum of 300 young women will have been trained and receive support from this program across the province. Six months after (within a year of their initial training) the groups will be asked to coordinate with their Peace Corps Volunteer and host Learning Exchanges with local schools and nearby communities, sharing their experiences, lessons, and successes/failures.

Those young women they select in the community will be asked to form their own GLOW groups which will support each other within their WARD. The groups are encouraged to be self-sustainable from the beginning with the PCV’s acting as  mentors, co-facilitators and supporters, not leading or dominating the programs activities.   Amaterra Board Director, David Berger is in Zambia and has worked to help set up this program. We have been informed that, without our grant, the program could not have become a reality: a perfect partnership for Amaterra.

The grant is being monitored by the Peace Corps volunteers with oversight by Peace Corps Administration with David providing additional monitoring and oversight on behalf of AMATERRA. See the video montage of the training, featuring the young women, their mentors, and the facilitating PCVs.

Thank you Director David Berger for arranging this one.

Native Seeds/SEARCH 2012 Grant

Native Seeds/SEARCH 2012 Grant

2012 Grant for Native Seeds/SEARCH

For many years Amaterra and members have supported Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona.

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…so many possibilities

Since 1983, they have become a major regional seed bank and a leader in the heirloom seed movement. Their seed bank is a unique resource for both traditional and modern agriculture. It includes 1800 varieties of arid-land adapted agricultural crops, many of them rare or endangered. They promote the use of these ancient crops and their wild relatives by distributing seeds to traditional communities and to gardeners world wide. Currently they offer 350 varieties from the collection grown out at their Conservation Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Also, many of their seeds and associated products are offered through an online store, annual seedlisting, and retail store.

During the past couple of years, Bill McDorman, the Executive Director of Native Seeds Search, and Belle Starr, the Deputy Director, have instituted and conducted a number of one-week Seed Schools in Tucson, drawing people from all over the country. Their goal: “to inspire and empower a diverse selection of new ‘seed citizens’–passionate growers, inventive breeders, and careful curators of the planet’s tiny life-conducting jewels.” The passion of these two individuals for seeds is awe-inspiring.

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squash blossoms

Because the Tucson Seed Schools have become so popular, there is now a need to widen the program and conduct the schools in locations throughout the United States, as many participants at the Tucson school have asked that Bill and Belle come to their state to do so–particularly in light of the drought that is affecting so much of the country. This will require new curriculum to include information for a wider range of growing areas.

For those who would like to learn more about the organization, check out their website www.nativeseeds.org/.

This grant was arranged by Amaterra Director, Nancy Wall.

The Sierra Ancha Project 1995 – 1996

The Sierra Ancha Project 1995 – 1996

Sari6_r1_c2The project sought to document cliff dwellings and other prehistoric sites in the Cherry Creek area of east-central Arizona.  In 1995 and 1996, major expeditions were mounted to revisit all of the cliff dwellings and other sites recorded since 1981, and to conduct additional survey work to locate new sites in middle Cherry Creek.  Four weeks were spent each fall with dozens of volunteers from all over the world.  Over the two seasons, nearly 20 cliff dwellings were fully documented and more than 40 new sites were recorded.  The documentation involved completion of more than 1700 forms, 40 rolls of black and white film, and over 20 rolls of color slide film.  We now have a great dataset of site condition at this point in time, and learned a tremendous amount about the construction and remodeling of the sites.  We also placed long-term temperature recording devices and have thousands of lines of data documenting diurnal temperature fluctuations in the sites and in the canyons.  These data show the importance of passive solar heating in the siting of these villages.

“The project was made possible by the Tonto National Forest; Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona; Statistical Research, Inc.; Earthwatch; and Amaterra.  Without the help of Amaterra, the field projects in 1995 and 1996 would not have been possible.  Amaterra supplied a vehicle, a large tent, a generator, a camp kitchen with complete set of cooking and other supplies, water system, housing for participants, and the labor to put up and take down the camp each field season.  These items and assistance made a very difficult and primitive camp situation bearable, and even enjoyable, for the staff and volunteers.  The staff and volunteers offer their deepest thanks for the support.  Your invaluable help made the project possible!”

-Rich Lange, Project Director

The Tumamoc Hill Desert Laboratory 1992 – 1994

Tumamoc Hill Desert Laboratory 1992 – 1994

     saguarostumamocThe Desert Laboratory was founded in 1903 by the Carnegie Institution to further arid lands research. Scientists early on established permanent vegetation research plots on Tumamoc Hill, an 869-acre preserve now surrounded by Tucson city development. Some of these same plots continue to be studied making the Desert Laboratory one of the longest environmental reasearch projects in history. Today the photographs and collections of the laboratory form the basis of understanding of how our present environment is part of a long continuum of desert change.

Amaterra provided mailing list soft-ware, helped create a newsletter, and participated in fund raisers to raise public awareness and support for the Desert Laboratory.

OUR THANKS TO AMATERRA

“This newsletter would not be possible without the enthusiastic support, energy and skills of Amaterra, a non-profit organization in service to the Earth.

Amaterra sponsors caretaking projects throughout the Southwest: at Sand Canyon Pueblo in Colorado for over a period of eight years, they cataloged plants and animals, collected meteorological data, and built a field research support facility for Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. At the Nature Conservancy’s Canelo Hills Preserve near Sonoita, Arizona, they restored some of the preserve’s nineteenth century buildings and provided round the clock caretaking for two and a half years.

Amaterra has now chosen Tumamoc Hill and the Desert Lab as a place worthy of protection, preservation and sponsorship. Our deep thanks especially go to Roger Irwin, president, board member Otis Bronson and Advisory Committee Member Nancy Wall. Otis Bronson, in particular, is contributing his skills as layout editor for Tumamoc. Amaterra donated the Filemaker Program which has facilitated our communication and record keeping beyond measure! Finally, Amaterra contributes significant financial support for the publication of our newsletter. Muchas gracias,” Martha Ames Burgess, Editor (October, 1993)

Find out more about Tumamoc today at: http://tumamoc.arizona.edu/

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The Sand Canyon Pueblo Project

The Sand Canyon Pueblo Project

   Sand Canyon Pueblo 1985 -1993

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Sand Canyon Pueblo (A.D. 1250)  is one of an unknown number of settlements developed in the thirteenth century by the ancient pueblo people in Southwest Colorado.  The Pueblo is located at the head of Sand Canyon, a tributary to the McElmo Creek, a few miles west of Cortez, Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park.  The Pueblo consists of 400+ rooms, 89+ kivas (underground ceremonial structures), 15+ towers, at least one water 1985reservoir, a cliff dwelling, and a D-shaped bi-wall structure and a Great Kiva.

Our desire to support the research program of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colorado led Amaterra to begin work in 1985.  We believed that this work of studying, nurturing,  and honoring the past, and the lives of the ancient ones who built Sand Canyon Pueblo, enabled them to have a voice to speak to us about today’s human interface with the environment.

Many of our members feel that Sand Canyon Pueblo is a sacred site of great importance to those who built it.  Our concern for the Earth and its special places requires no less of us than to treat them with appropriate care, to nurture them, and to touch them in ways of active respect.  This was the heart of Amaterra’s presence at the Pueblo.

Direct Support-  Care of the Pueblo and assistance to the CCAC staff included site security to prevent unauthorized intrusion during the most intense periods of excavation, and the building of on-site kitchen, dining, laboratory, meeting, storage, and housing facilities.  Later, by assisting in final landscaping of the backfilled areas of the Pueblo, members helped to hasten the time when the site returned to the state it was in before excavation began.

Trail Building-  Many trails were built to assist  with public interpretation and the prevention of damage to the site.  Through numerous such activities members sought to create a harmonious and caring atmosphere associated the the human involvement at the Pueblo.  This was perhaps the most important direct contribution of  Amaterra to the Pueblo.

Plant Studies-  Members collected and identified plants in the immediate area of the Pueblo.  At one time our on site herbarium consisted of more than fifty species of plants.  To assist Crow Canyon Center’s phenology project we made regular observations of the seasonality of a number of plant population in the area.   The archaeologists have determined that the particular plants were of interest to the builders of the pueblo.

Meteorology-  Members built and maintained three weather stations in the area.  The main station was located at the Pueblo, the second, in the canyon below, and the third two miles to the west near one of the Center’s experimental gardens.

Animal Studies-  Members identified forty-nine species of birds and seventeen species of mammals and reptiles at the Pueblo.  We published pamphlets describing these animals for visitors to the site.

Evening Programs-  Through the years, members provided many evening programs for the Center.  These often included preparing and serving meals for as many as sixty people.  Numerous campfire talks provided programs of interest both to the Center’s staff and to the public.

Student Internships-    During each of the years of Amaterra’s work at Sand Canyon Pueblo from five to ten student internships were made available to students who were at least eighteen years old.  These two week long internships provided full room and board.

“On behalf of the Board, the staff, and the participants of Crow Canyon, please accept our sincere thanks for Amaterra’s years of service and support at the Sand Canyon Pueblo excavations.  Scientifically, these excavations have been enormously important.  As a theater for popular education, they have been enormously successful.  That success was made possible in no small part by the remarkable efforts of you and your organization.  Again, thank you for your years of volunteer support.  I very much hope that Crow Canyon and Amaterra can work together again on future projects.”
-C. Paul Johnson, Chairman of the Board, CCAC August 27, 1993

“…They (Amaterra) provide us with environmental monitoring, interpretive, caretaking and logistical support at a remote 13th Century archaeological site that is the focus of our long-term research program.  The result has been a tangible increase in the aesthetic, natural and cultural quality of the site and an increase in appreciation of those qualities by visitors who come in contact with Amaterra volunteers…”
-Ian Thompson, Executive Director, CCAC December 29, 1987

For more information about the current programs and activities of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.

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Amaterra: Caretaking Canelo Hills Sanctuary 1987 -1989

Amaterra: Caretaking Canelo Hills Sanctuary 1987 -1989

   Amaterra: Caretaking Canelo Hills Sanctuary 1987 -1989

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During the spring and summer of 1987 Amaterra began caretaking and restoration of Canelo Hills Sanctuary as a service project for the owner -the Arizona Nature Conservancy. Amaterra’s overall goals were to provide site security, restoration and repair of the historically important buildings, greet and assist visitors, assist in research, and protect the valuable ecosystem. Karen Seger served as project director and liaison between Amaterra and the Nature Conservancy. Under Karen’s leadership Amaterra members were able to provide year round seven day per week caretaking of the property and the maintenance of a an interpretive visitor center for the public. All Amaterra members directly involved with the work of Canelo became members of the Nature Conservancy. Members kept detailed weather records and regularly assisted the Preserve Manager in stream flow measurements.

Amaterra completed all of its major goals during the twenty-eight months ending September 1989. In order to continue the work, after this date, several members organized a group named, “Friends of Canelo.” Although, at that time, Amaterra officially ceased its work at Canelo, “Friends of Canelo” continues the work to this day.

  “On behalf of the Nature Conservancy, I would like to extend a thank you to Amaterra for the many contributions to the Conservancy’s Canelo Hills Cienega Preserve between 1987 and 1989… Much very important work occurred during Amaterra’s service time at Canelo including the stabilization and restoration of the historically significant buildings on the preserve.  Much of the work, if not performed when it was, would have allowed conditions to deteriorate to such an extent that we might not have been able to continue with them…Thank you for your dedication to Canelo and I look forward to working with you in the future.”

-Jeffrey Cooper,
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve Manager, August 2, 1994

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