MPPP held its annual Volunteer Picnic in September at the National Heritage Center (formerly the Oñate Center) in Alcalde. The weather was perfect, and about 25 attended. We all had a very good time getting to know each other better, and discussing MPPP activities past, present, and future. Paul Williams, former Taos BLM archaeologist who played a vital role in the organization's beginning, came from Albuquerque to join us.
The food was outstanding and our annual awards were presented. Our Volunteer of the Year for 2016 is Jan Martenson who spends a lot of time in our office in Velarde doing database work, and digitally tending to our small library. Jan can be seen at nearly all tours and other events where we sell project merchandise. She brings it from the office, sells it and returns unsold items to the office thus boosting the very important revenue that helps fund the project. Jan has volunteered since 2010 and is now a member of the Board of Directors and the Development Committee. We are very grateful for her contributions.
An Education Award was given to Judith Chaddick and Esta Gutierrez who have worked for many years to produce our award-winning 4th-7th grade curriculum, Discovering Mesa Prieta. They recruit teachers through school visits, train them, as well as conduct tours for kids who visit Mesa Prieta after doing classroom work with the curriculum. Their combined decades of experience as local classroom teachers make them uniquely valuable to MPPP's education programs. We thank them both for their important contribution to our work.