Displaying items by tag: El Malpais National Monument
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 22:11

Live. Laugh. Lava.

     The National Park Services of El Malpais National Monument is a conservation area that’s over 350,000 acres that is primarily covered in lava flows that have contributed to creating a beautiful landscape of untouched lava fields as far as the eye can see. The terrain can be challenging and dangerous to navigate, but must be done in order to reach majority of the beautiful cave sites. The caves out here in El Malpais are really interesting lava tube caves that were formed thousands of years ago underneath the lava flows as the volcanic activity cooled. Once cooled, these caves were used as shelter for local natives in early civilization which now leave them full of history that is directly tied to the first tribes of this land.

     The mission of El Malpais National Monument is to protect and preserve, for the enjoyment of current and future generations, some of the most unique and fragile lava tube caves in the world, along with their resident bat colonies. And I’m happy to say that I’m spending my days hiking to these caves just about every day, navigating the lava fields and immersing my efforts in collecting information that furthers the El Malpais mission.

     My first several weeks here have been a blast! I’ve been part of a super friendly team of professional cavers and scientist who’ve been tasked with a project of creating very detailed illustrative cave maps and conducting some archeological inventories to help the archeology team in locating anything that we come across such as pottery sherds, bones, petroglyphs, and primitive tools. The maps that we are drawing are done in a sequence as we slowly work our way from the front of the cave and move to the very end of the cave system or vice versa. We methodically piece them together as we map around 50ft sections at a time, sometimes this includes getting through a tight squeeze of passage or staying in a super small compact space and finishing the sketch, which is always a good time J Some of these caves also require a firm grasp of technical rope entry skills in order to access and honestly are an incredible amount of fun to do. With that being said, my days out here in El Malpais are oh so rewarding as I am loving life and I would highly recommend coming out here to check out this magnificent natural landscape.  

Published in HAF intern blog
Tuesday, 04 June 2019 05:23

This Trail Leads to New Mexico!

Hey everyone, I’m supper excited to say that I will be a Cave Technician intern this summer with the National Park Service at El Malpais and El Morro National Monuments!

Raised in Southern New Jersey most of my days were spent working on my uncle’s farm and camping in the Pocono Mountains. After high school I served five years in the U.S. Navy onboard Submarines in Norfolk, Virginia where I gained an accelerated leadership and a love for teamwork. Throughout my life I’ve always had a natural passion for being outside, but it wasn’t until I started working as an Adventure Trip Leader at the University of Maryland when I realized that I could turn my passion into my career. I really enjoy being a trip leader because I get the opportunity to network and promote great mental health practices, all while showing students some of the east coast’s finest outdoor recreation.

At UMD I’m a Geographical Information Science major with a focus on remote sensing and will be graduating this December. I found GIS because I not only get to enjoy the working outside, but also  demonstrate my love for coding, and most of all have the chance to create large scale visual map representations that promote living together and building a better future for our planet. Along the way, I’ve certified as a Rock Climbing Instructor, ACA Class 3 Whitewater Kayak Instructor, in Swift Water Rescue, and Wilderness First Responder, which has really inspired me to expand my field work experience. My natural drive for helping others also lead me to mentoring incoming veteran students on campus as a Peer Advisor for Veteran Education.

This internship resonates with me because I have the chance to demonstrate my technical skills towards making a meaningful impact on the bat habitats in the southwest. Along with that, I have the rare  opportunity to work with the National Park Service community and learn from some of the most powerful minds in the outdoor fields. I’m looking forward to immersing myself with the caves and ancient architecture in El Malpais and El Morro National Monuments this summer.


Stay Tuned!

Published in HAF intern blog
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 15:03

Angel Lopez

Hello! My name is Angel Lopez, I'm a student veteran and Geographical Information Science major at the University of Maryland. I currently work as an outdoor Trip Leader for the Adventure Program at UMD. Other than having great GIS system technical skills, my rock climbing instructor certification, WFR medical training, and outdoor leadership skills prove that I love working in the field. I'm also a strong believer in creating a friendly work environment with my fun attitude and encouraging others by spreading optimism. As a Peer Advisor for Veteran Education at UMD, I help incoming student veterans transition to campus lifestyle seamlessly. Outside of work, you can find me whitewater kayaking, mountain biking or hiking with family and friends.

Published in Intern Bios
Monday, 09 July 2018 14:01

My first culture shock in El Malpais

Hey Everyone,

Well this is my first time posting a blog and it’s been three weeks since I’ve arrived in Grants, New Mexico. For those who don’t know, I’m a city girl. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I haven’t traveled anywhere until now. When I say it was a real culture shock for me is an understatement. Coming from a big city to a small town was a big surprise. I arrived to the Albuquerque Airport and everyone was so calm. I didn’t see a lot of people like I had expected from my experience being the LAX airport. Little did I know, I was going to a smaller city.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 13:58

The Experience I Didn't Know I Needed

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a whole month since I got to Grants, New Mexico and my goodness has it been quite the experience so far! Being from such a big city, I didn’t know what to expect while living in Grants. I’ve noticed a lot of changes since I started living here. One of the biggest ones is how relaxed and at peace I feel here. Everything is so calm and when I go out for a run, the scenery that surrounds me makes me feel amazing and happy. Another thing I have noticed is that I don’t have headaches like I used to get in the city. This is the much needed change of scenery that I didn’t know I needed.

Published in Blog

Hi Everyone,

For the most part these past couple of weeks have been rather calm. I’ve been working on the project that I’ve been assigned to. So my work so far has consisted of interviewing various people, transcribing and compiling the information I gather. Well last week on Friday, I got to go to an event called Ancestral Lands day in celebration for Latino Conservation week. It happened in El Morro and it went from the morning to around 3 or 4 pm in the afternoon.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 16 August 2018 13:48

My Last Week in El Malpais

Hi Everyone!

This is my last week in El Malpais and I’m sad that I will be going soon. I was fortunate enough to be able to have such a fun time this past week. Being able to not only visit New Mexico but also Denver, Colorado has made this summer one of the best ones I’ve had yet. Meeting everyone else that was part of LHIP was amazing because I got to hear the all about the projects they did this summer. It was a packed 4 days but it was all worth it. I made some great new friends that I hope will keep in touch even when time goes by. I want to thank all the LHIP staff for putting in so much work to make this workshop happen. Without I don’t think I would’ve been able to see how beautiful Denver is anytime soon. Going to this workshop helped me in so many ways because I was surrounded by people I can relate with in so many ways and connect with them in ways I couldn’t with others. Everyone was so positive and encouraging, that I’m happy I was able to meet them.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 29 November 2018 15:55

Stephanie Cruz 

Stephanie Cruz is a first generation Mexican American junior in California State University, Los Angeles. She is majoring in Anthropology and a minoring in Marketing, while also acquiring statistical skills. She aspires to have a career doing research for the marketing department of businesses using ethnographic methods to collect data on different cultural groups and analyzing the data using statistical and ethnographic analysis. As an undergraduate student, she has had the opportunity to participate in research projects from studying and looking at different views from within the Wiccan community to looking at different food systems in Los Angeles county cities. She hopes to do a research senior project on how and why Latino youth (18-24) use social media to assimilate into American culture but also maintain their own ethnic identity. She hopes that by going into business with her Anthropology degree and experience, she can make a change on how businesses market to different ethnic groups to provide what they need and want while still be culturally sensitive. She was stationed in El Malpais National Monument this summer working to preserve the history of land use while learning more about the people from the community.

Published in Intern Bios