The iconic formation called Ship Rock sails like a stately clipper ship 1,700 feet above the surrounding desert of northwest New Mexico. It’s the craggy remnant of a volcanic explosion that occurred about 30 million years ago, with long dikes extending from its base.
Long before Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere, turquoise was an exceptionally prized stone—used in jewelry and masks, for example. But the blue-green mineral doesn’t occur naturally in many of the same places where such artifacts have been found in the Southwest.
“Few countries in the world present so marvelous a variety of scenic features as Arizona,” wrote author George Wharton James almost a century ago. “What a wonderland of wild cactus growth, of solitude, of mystery, (and) of silence it is!”
Chaco Canyon National Historical Park is noted for amazing structures called Great Houses – massive buildings constructed by the Ancestral Puebloans, who inhabited the nearly treeless high desert of northwestern New Mexico a thousand years ago. Besides local stone and earth, nearly a quarter million trees were harvested for beams in the buildings.
This year marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty, an agreement signed in 1916 to help conserve, protect, and manage migrating birds and their habitats throughout the U.S. and Canada. The 100th anniversary is a reminder that such birds play vital ecological roles. They are also good indicators of the health of our environment.