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WILD'N OUT: Students Visit National Wildlife Refuge

Valle De Oro
Fall 2017 Environmental Philosophy class: visiting Carruthers Professor David Schwartz pictured far right.

Students in the UNM Honors College seminar “Environmental Philosophy” visited the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) just south of Albuquerque, NM, on Saturday, October 28, 2017.  The seminar, led by visiting Carruthers Professor David Schwartz, has been examining the environmental practice of ‘rewilding,’ which aims to restore developed lands back to their natural state prior to human intervention. 


“Valle de Oro is a real-life instance of rewilding, right here in Albuquerque, and visiting it was a great opportunity for the students to see rewilding in action,” says Schwartz.  Students spent almost three hours at the refuge on a guided tour by Valle de Oro staff.  The students learned the history of the land and how it is being transformed from a working alfalfa farm back to its original ecological state of wetlands and grasslands.   The students hiked through the Bosque forest and along the banks of the Rio Grande River, seeing numerous species of birds, including majestic Sandhill cranes.  

According to Valle de Oro staff, plans for the refuge incorporated input from local residents so that the refuge will serve not only the environment but also the needs and interests of the local human community.  As one of only a handful of urban wildlife refuges in the United States, Valle de Oro aims to help people who live in urban and underserved areas to reconnect with wild nature.  More about Valle de Oro NWR can be found at

Valle De Oro Photo Collage

Honors Students Bosque Group Photo