Improved Quality of life:: Meditative Atmosphere + Medicinal Plants Kathrine – Schanwald Faul

Diminished levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia among college students is ideal for academic/lifelong professional success. According to a survey of 190 universities, 61% of students reported having anxiety, 49% suffer from depression, and 45% claim they are stressed out (CCMH 2016). Sleep disorders are now recognized as a public health concern with significant consequences on the academic life of students (Choueiry, Nour et al. 2016). Busy schedules, skepticism about meditation and plants with medicinal qualities, and a lack of meditation/relaxation areas on college campuses, Capstone 499 Projectfurther advances these issues.

Practicing meditation has been proven to affectively decrease stress levels. In addition, plants with medicinal qualities such as valerian, skullcap, peppermint, and lavender offer the same relief. The yurt acts as a meditative atmosphere where individuals may go to sit and quietly meditate, study, read, smell the aroma of depression and stress fighting lavender, and/or pick up a tea bag of anxiety- soothing valerian. Combining medicinal plants, suggestions and tips on meditation types, and a relaxing environment results in an easily transportable installation designed to improve quality of life.

Edible Plants of Albuquerque & Beyond – Allison Merrell

Knowledge of the plants that surround us and their uses has been passed down for centuries, and this project sought to make this information more accessible through free zines and plant identification walks. Knowledge of forgeable wild plants and their uses is very much a food justice issue. Food justice and food sovereignty movements critique the structural inequalities that play into the unequal distribution of resources among people, and through this project I hope to stimulate these conversations with my community members and create space for the inclusion of foraging in this dialogue. The zine 6FF3A199-691F-4705-9EBC-FAC38C222734includes monthly in-season wild edible plants, how to identify them, where to find them, and how to prepare them with other local seasonal ingredients into delicious vegan recipes. I focused on both the inclusion of local fresh produce and the exclusion of animal products in my monthly recipes to try to create a collection of recipes tied together by their sustainable nature and to paint the fullest picture of what what one of many options for a unconventional sustainable diet can look like. A parallel to conversations about food justice is the discussion of the disproportionate amount of resources required to support an omnivorous diet as opposed to one free from animal products. While some education on vegan and vegetarian diets was included in the zine, I believe the silent exclusion of animal products from my recipes speaks to the ease of reducing meat and dairy in one’s own diet on any scale.

Check out the full recipe book.

Blooming Desert: Integrating Xeriscape -Alma Flores

Educating about the environment begins with understanding what people already know about the issue. Most people have a general sense that water is precious to the state and with that said people still view water as a concern that isn’t their problem. By shifting the mentality of abundance that the state will provide, to conserving water starts with educating people to integrate exactly that. My project promotes native plants that are less water intensive by showcasing how practice and beautiful native plants are, all in effort to encourage conservation methods through xeriscape.

Sustainability Capstone ‘Snapshot’ – Justin Kerstetter

The basis of environmental communication studies can be explained by one simple question; “what is nature?” is it trees and streams and oceans? Is it open space or national parks? Any person studying environmental communication would know that nature is everything; while forests and mountains are certainly part of nature, so are cities, landfills, and especially people—there is no divide. This separation that most ArtShowCapstonepeople create in their mind is reproduce in many ways by society, so it can be difficult to grasp. However, art can express much more than words, and can be a constructive way to enact change, or even to get someone thinking. That’s why I set up “Nature is Everything”–a pop-up photography show where the goal was to tackle the narrative of what ‘nature’ means and get people thinking about the nature that surrounds them.

499 Capstone Blog – Kristopher Cordova

New Mexico is a state that struggles with poverty, ranking number two in the nation. 17% of Albuquerque’s residents have incomes below the poverty level (Source). The cost of living is by far the biggest expensive these residents must pay. Low-income households essentially pay more for energy simply because infrastructure in these areas are not as sustainable as other areas. It costs more to heat or cool houses when that extra money can be spent elsewhere (Dinan & Miranowski 1989). Current pricing for photovoltaic solar systems in Albuquerque ranges from $7,000 to $30,000. These prices engulf the yearly income of most residents living under the poverty line. By implementing photovoltaic solar systems in low-income communities, the city can provide free energy powered by the sun to families in need. Not only would this help close the gap on energy injustice in the city, but it would also transition the cities energy system to a sustainable system. This comprehensive report would cover the main barriers in adopting solar system, GIS based suitability analysis and research, and an In-depth look to see if solar energy is only being used by middle to upper-class citizens in the Albuquerque area. The goal of this report would be to show the energy injustice in the city, if any, and how implementing solar around the city can be beneficial for lower-class citizens. By doing so create equitable energy for the Albuquerque area.

Blog-able Snap-shot – Miranda Hickman

The Earth is undoubtably facing rapid climate change on a global scale. According to NASA, evidence for rapid climate change includes that of global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacier retreat, decreased snow cover, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and so forth (“Climate Change: How Do We Know?”). Exceeding the tipping point of any of the planet’s boundaries can result in a plethora of problems for humans including social, environmental, and economical complications. It is now more imperative than ever that we address the problems that we face both locally and LaPoGardenglobally by making the environment our primary concern. The first step is acknowledging the fact that we cannot prosper if we exhaust our planet. There are a variety of things that we can do to help save our Earth. Of these solutions includes that of sustainable building development. The implementation of sustainable building design can help businesses and home owners reduce their costs and environmental impact. Green buildings help promote energy efficiency through sustainable design features, improve cost efficiency, limit waste through material efficiency, and help boost the economy (“5 Benefits of Sustainable Building and Home Construction”). The application of sustainable design on a college campus can promote a greater understanding of the environmental problems we face while simultaneously spreading knowledge on sustainable practices.

Art in Service of Climate Education -Heather Averhoff

This acrylic art piece, which took four months to complete, demonstrates the effects of climate change upon multiple biomes within the environment. The goal of this project is to educate the populace on how climate change affects and will affect our planet in a variety of places. The artistic medium is meant to draw the eye and to keep the reader’s attention by luring them to seek out the information scattered across the painting. Art is one form of education that tends to attract more attention and intrigue than a mere article. Therefore, this project utilizes bright colors and varied information in order to encourage the viewer to search for the plain facts presented upon this piece. It is to be displayed in a prominent community location where it can be further viewed by the public in the future.

Blog Snapshot of 499 Capstone Project- Justin Casiquito

My project was designed to educate, build self-efficacy, and promote healthy lifestyles by implementing a strategic plan within the farming community and establishing a foundation that supports both traditional and contemporary farming practices in the Pueblo of Jemez. These efforts would build morale, encourage self-esteem and show how to be resilient. The program begins with the local farmers, then a next step is to implement skillsets with schools, and third is to engage with community and send out shoots of inspiration for others to follow. The people make up the community, this community then creates the culture. Without the people there would be no culture, and with no culture then no community. It is important we count everyone from the youngest to the eldest in this effort because we all make up the sacred circle of life. It is what we experience as a child that will have deep influence on what we do in the future. It is critical that we take steps to improve our communities and provide opportunity for future generations. When we receive and give love, support and understanding it not only builds confidence but also nourishes self-esteem and self-efficacy to be a contributing factor in the community.

The first step in achieving my goal was to live what I visualized in my mind in real time. Beginning with working at an organic farm and followed by creating a small business I started growing and selling a variety of crops in the Jemez Valley. I encouraged organic farming practices as well as traditional and contemporary methods. From then on, I have been doing community work with the local schools as well as tribal programs. When I started this project I wanted to expand on something I had created and what I was passionate about. The reasons I started farming and why I went into the Community Health field was to continue our way of life but also to provide opportunity and a way to cope and manage stress and/or depression living in this modern world. For about ten years I have been on this mission to create a resource and

outlook that people can be inspired by. This has taken me on a journey that I believe was necessary to bridge a gap amongst the community. By increasing awareness, knowledge, and education we can make a huge difference. Working with groups like American Friends Service Committee I have been able to establish a hoop house with help from community members at the Riverside Charter School in Jemez Pueblo. We have also been able to add another hoop house at separate location in Jemez and in the process of erecting a third one at a different location from the other two. I also started a small orchard at one of my fields. I planted the orchard in spring of 2019 with help from Bruce Milne and I hope that the trees rooted well. The support from the community has been great and they love to see the younger generation be able to apply the knowledge we have to local community outreach. So far the journey has been great and do not see myself slowing down anytime soon. When I graduate I will continue to live the life I love and continue to contribute my passion for farming with the Jemez community.

Building Change on Campus – JosephFuller

Building Change on Campus: A Comprehensive Plan for Climate Action and Resilience at the University of New Mexico is a compilation of university analysis, recommendations, and useful modeling to be considered for both Climate Action and developing resilience on UNM’s main campus. The document compares elements of the 2009 UNM Climate Action Plan to current standings of the University, updating previous strategies as well as adding new. Discussion of UNM’s current vulnerabilities to impacts from climate change and potential strategies to mitigate such vulnerabilities will be discussed in the plan.
The life of this document will evolve as time goes on. A “Toolkit” will accompany the document electronically and be made accessible to future generations of sustainability students. The “Toolkit” will contain a brief overview of the work done by the person passing it along as well as all the information and research compiled. The “Toolkit” itself will exist as a shared document.
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Check out Joseph’s 499 Capstone Project Proposal and his finished 499 Capstone Project Building Change on Campus.

Blog Snapshot of 499 Capstone Project- Jacqueline Smith

New Mexico’s culture and architecture is unique to anywhere else in the world. There is a lack of communication about what makes the state so unique and what it has to offer, especially in the built environment. Important historic buildings are left to dilapidate, and then torn down and replaced with cheap, unsustainable construction. With Albuquerque growing, and development happening all over the city, it is important to preserve historic architecture. What each person defines as important varies, but there are also some officially recognized as historic buildings – In my project I documented an unofficially recognized structure, a lightning shelter on the UNM North Golf Course Urban open space. As an architecture student who has acquired design skills as well as documentation skills I have found interest in the repurposing of old structures that are no longer in use. Because of these factors and after discussing possible projects with my mentor, Francisco Uvina, the Interim Director for the Historic Preservation + Regionalism Certificate Program, he communicated that their was interest in documenting and redesigning the program for the structure. I have conduced in depth research about existing material on the structure. I then visited the site and created sketches, detail scale floor plans, and a 3D model. I will document the structures current condition and make repair suggestions. I will also make a suggested reuse plan, with a program involving Lobo gardens – since they are planning on expanding to the surrounding area in the distant future. The research, plans, and renderings will then be complied to a portfolio with which I will be publishing online, as well as donate a hard copy to the Fine Arts Library, sharing with the parties interested (Including Bernalillo County and UNM Planners), and finally a submittal to the Historic American Building Society. The benefits of documenting this architecture are economic, environmental, and social. Preserving architecture is economic because it does not require the demolition of the existing structure, and saves on construction costs. Preservation is important environmentally because continuing to use a building rather constructing an entire new one requires less new material. What is specifically important about the Lightning house is that it is traditional adobe construction, a method being used less and less in New Mexico. Most importantly to me and what makes me interested in preservation is that it is not disrupting the existing cultural footprint a building has on a neighborhood, and on people. A city should be honest in it’s origins, as well as offer it’s residents a sense of spirit and nostalgia, this is what makes a city truly appealing, and what makes people proud to live there. People who appreciate their surroundings are more likely to be compassionate to the environment and to others. The goal of documenting the lightning house is to make New Mexicans more informed on the rich history of the state’s built environment, and also provide the designs for what could become a sustainable structure with new life.