Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument Group Receives BLM Partnership National Award
On Feb. 26, 2014, the Bureau of Land Management New Mexico State Director Jesse Juen presented Arizona’s Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument with the BLM’s 2014 “Public Lands Partnership Excellence” National Award. The Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument were honored for their outstanding service to the BLM in the management and protection of the Monument’s valuable natural and cultural resources.
"The BLM’s partnership with the Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument has been invaluable to increasing local community involvement and promoting land stewardship within the Monument and beyond," BLM New Mexico State Director Jesse Juen said during the awards ceremony in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The BLM New Mexico State Director also noted that, in light of the impressive growth of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System and the subsequent increase of recreational demand on the public lands, the support of Friends groups are all the more vital. The BLM partnerships help the agency to provide high-quality interpretative and educational programs.
"They help the BLM better serve the public by helping to provide diverse programs and products, improving and staffing visitor facilities, and acting as true ambassadors for the BLM, particularly in very remote locations," Jesse Juen said.
The biannual award recognizes an interpretive association or friends group that has a formal assistance agreement with the BLM and has demonstrated exceptional support for the agency’s interpretive, educational and/or public outreach programs. BLM State Offices nominate agency partnerships for the award. The award was presented during the annual conference of the Association of Partners for Public Lands— the umbrella organization for interpretive associations and friends groups that have formal agreements with federal and state agencies. The award comes as the President releases the FY 2015 budget, which includes funding for a National BLM Foundation that leverages partnerships to support public land management and outreach.
The Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument have logged thousands of hours completing numerous stewardship projects and community outreach. Their exceptional service has included trash clean-up at the Monument, patrolling cultural sites, public educational programs, data collection of water resources, archaeological surveys, and site documentation projects.
The Friends’ valuable contributions to the conservation of the Monument have included wet and dry mapping of the Agua Fria National Monument on or near the summer solstice, the hottest, driest day of the year in the area. The project engenders stewardship, educates stakeholders, and contributes to the preservation of instream water flows. In 2013, volunteers mapped nearly 47 miles of the Agua Fria River and its tributaries.
The Friends have also helped to preserve the outstanding cultural values and objects of the Monument, which features one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. Volunteers have conducted on-site interpretive development at two historical sites: the Teskey Home Site and the 1891 School House through educational programs and site tours for the public. During the 2012 Arizona Statehood Centennial, the Friends submitted the BLM’s 1891 School House Interpretive Project to the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission as an official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project. In addition, the Friends have initiated monthly field days to document identified archeological sites. Since the establishment of the field days, over 1,200 volunteer hours have been logged for field-based archeological investigations alone.
Learn more about the BLM-managed Agua Fria National Monument in: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/natmon/afria.html