Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) spent Wednesday afternoon getting his hands dirty in Bandelier National Monument.
Heinrich worked two hours with a preservation crew composed entirely of Puebloan youth who are helping to restore Tyuonyi Pueblo on the Main Loop Trail.
The Bandelier Preservation crew is a pilot program sponsored by AmeriCorps and the HandsOn Preservation Experience (HOPE), a National Trust for Historic Preservation program.
“The idea there is to give tribal members the opportunity to do this historic preservation work on ancestral lands,” said Leon Natker, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) coordinator for Bandelier crews.
RMYC is overseeing the Bandelier Preservation Crew as well as the Bandelier Conservation Corps, which has been in existence five years. The conservation crew draws on Anglo, Hispanic and Puebloan youth from the local area, including Los Alamos and Española.
Crew members earn a stipend somewhat better than minimum wage. If they complete a minimum of 300 hours they receive an educational award of $1,212 that can be applied to college or trade school.