Notes From the Road: Sunrise Memories, Part II

Sunrise Springs GardenFacilities Update 
It is just in the planning stages but come next spring we may be seeing the first official Sunrise Springs Farm. The area being considered for our farm is the vacant land between the swimming pool and the arroyo.  If things work out, we will have fresh organic produce from our own farm to serve in the Blue Heron.

The Spa-Administration Building
It was in the mid-1980s when the original owner decided to add the spa/administrative office building. This was designed to be part spa and part movement-meeting space, with a somewhat oddly-shaped treatment rooms upstairs. Downstairs as you walked in from the kitchen side of the building, there was a retail space to your right, and walking forward passed the bathrooms you entered a large room with a wooden floor and large indoor plant gardens on each side of the room.

In the northwest corner of the room there was a seldom-used fireplace with an intricate tile features created by local artist Jenny Lind. The room was the site of weddings, meetings, conferences, receptions, memorials, and other events. Many of the indoor garden plants were rescued and have been relocated into various buildings throughout the property. Unfortunately, there was no way Jenny Lind’s fireplace tile work could be saved, although a tile counter that resided in the old Blue Heron restaurant was salvaged and given to someone who has a sincere appreciation of Jenny’s work.

Connections to Sunrise
Last I wrote I told of the years 1995 to 2000, when Desert Academy had leased the building above the ponds, and when my daughters attended school here. One of my personal highlights was when I got Chuck Robinson to come speak to one daughter’s class. Chuck was the reluctant developer of Las Lagunitas subdivision. The partnership that initially proposed the elaborate country club-golf course-town home and condo development fell apart over water rights issues.

At that point Chuck, who was an inventor-entrepreneur, took over as the head of the development. He was easy to deal with, respectful of our community, and Chuck became a friend. There are many highlights to Chuck’s life including creating innovative methods of moving mining slurry down a mountain in South America, redesigning large ore carrying ships so they could carry oil back on their return trips from Saudi Arabia, being Deputy Secretary of State under Henry Kissinger, and designing wake-less boats for the canals of Venice where he had a second home. Chuck passed a couple of years ago but he is remembered as true gentleman and friend by many in our community.

Santa Fe River Traditional Communities Collaborative
I have written of this group before but recent developments have changed the picture. The following is an update.

Along with Felicity Broennan, former Executive Director of the Santa Fe Watershed Association, I have co-chaired the Collaborative for over four years. The group was initially established at the direction of the US Forest Service to help plan a river restoration from the community of La Cieneguilla to the village of La Bajada, about a ten-mile stretch of the Santa Fe River.

The latest development is that the beaver appear to have left the area. This is an unexpected development but not that unusual. Beaver can and will migrate when food sources have been depleted. We are assuming that is what happened. Our group can now focus on ensuring we have a healthy river with a certain and steady flow of water that provides for a beneficial riparian environment, as well as providing water for the centuries-old agricultural traditions of the small farming communities along the river.

The Collaborative’s efforts will focus on finding funding for water quality testing, working on remedies for water quality issues, and working with the City of Santa Fe and other governmental agencies to ensure there is a steady flow of water in the river.

Guest Comments:
Sunrise Springs was a sanctuary; it was just what we needed.

Sunrise gave me the space to make a difficult life decision.

Carl Dickens

Carl Dickens, Human Resources Coordinator
Carl Dickens grew up in New Mexico, his parents having met and fallen in love here. After a brief stint in Alaska, the family returned to the warmth and light of the high desert. Carl was raised in the farming community of Los Ranchos, in the North Valley of Albuquerque, among alfalfa fields and arroyos. He began working at Sunrise Springs in 1984, the same year he and his young family moved to the valley. Carl remained at Sunrise Springs for five years, returning again in September of 2012. Carl is active in the local community and is passionate about the history of the area, preserving its agricultural traditions and water conservation.