Donate-a-Dime Organization of the Month: Open Space Alliance

Every month, La Montañita sponsors a local community-based organization through our Donate-a-Dime bag program.

By Ellen Burgess, Open Space Alliance

Do you enjoy a walk in the Rio Grande bosque, or a hike in the Sandia Foothills? If so, you are taking advantage of one of Albuquerque’s best assets – its public Open Space system.

The City of Albuquerque has protected over 29,000 acres of Open Space for citizens to enjoy for generations to come. These lands are a diverse mix of natural and cultural features located in the Rio Grande bosque and adjacent farmland, Sandia Mountain foothills, the East Mountains, and the West Mesa, including the volcanoes and lava escarpment with ancient petroglyphs. Each year hundreds of volunteers dedicate time and resources to help continue the preservation of these lands.

The Open Space Alliance (OSA) is the non-profit ‘friends-of’ group that supports the city’s Open Space Division – “helping citizens help open space.” OSA’s mission is to promote public awareness and conservation of open space areas; to educate the public about the natural, historic, cultural, education and recreational aspects of open space; and to assist with fundraising for Open Space programs and events throughout the city and at the Open Space Visitor Center (OSVC).

Nestled on the west bank of the Rio Grande, the Open Space Visitor Center is an unexpected sanctuary. Fields devoted to supporting wildlife and migratory birds, demonstration gardens and beekeeping, educational exhibits, a dynamic art gallery, a Bosque trailhead, mesmerizing views, and ongoing programs and events make the Visitor Center one of Albuquerque’s hidden gems. A food forest project at the OSVC is underway thanks to grant funding obtained by Open Space Alliance.

The Open Space Gift Shop at the Visitor Center is open on weekends. It has locally-sourced and green products, books for adults and children alike, beeswax wraps, sunhats, and gifts made by local artists. Gift Shop and art gallery purchases help support Open Space Alliance activities. OSA members receive a 10 percent discount on gift shop items.

Albuquerque is fortunate to have major public Open Space land set aside within the urban setting. It protects, maintains and manages significant natural landscapes and cultural resources while offering opportunities for public enjoyment through outdoor education and low-impact recreation.

Open Space Alliance was established in 1996 by a group of individuals committed to supporting Albuquerque Open Space Division projects and programs. Tax-deductible annual memberships to OSA begin at $15 for students and seniors, and $30 for families. For more information, please visit www.openspacealliance.org or www.facebook.com/ABQOSA, and visit www.cabq.gov/openspace for updated event information.