Picuris Pueblo and Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM(SCZ) demonstrated their joint sustainable forestry project for interested citizens, US Forest Service personnel, Congressman Tom Udall's office, and members of the press on June 18, 2004. Part of the charcoal oven shows at left.
The event featured a discussion of the valuable products made from "waste" small-diameter trees and brush that is already being cut for fire prevention, a site tour, and a lunch of buffalo stew cooked on project-made charcoal.
Sierra Madre charcoal, from forest oakwood, costs $5 for 10 lbs.
Joe Quanchello, at left, head of the Picuris Environment Dept., and spiritual elder at the pueblo. Everyone enjoys the lunch.
On the left, in the photo at right, Greg Fitch, State Forestry Division Leader, Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources; Adam Rankin, reporter from the Albuquerque Journal.
Luther Martinez, at left, head of the Picuris Forestry Team, and Dale Snake of the pueblo.
Our wood preserving oven is in the distance behind, left to right, Lynda Taylor, SCZ; Antonio Giraldo, Colombia, charcoal/wood preservation expert with ZERI; Sally Rodgers, Environmental Ombudsman, Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department for state of New Mexico; Ignacio Peralta, CFRP Coordinator for USFS Carson Forest; Luther Martinez, head of Picuris Forestry Team; Theresa Aguilar, Congressman Tom Udall's office.
For more, read the Albuquerque Journal article or the Taos News article which needs a few corrections. Please note the following: the caption under the photo shows the wood preservation oven. The charcoal oven is out of sight behind Luis Torres with smoke going through the white pipe to the wood preservation oven in the background. Also our correct name is Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM (SCZ) and we are a non-profit organization of which Lynda Taylor is a co-director.
Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM (SCZ) improved the charcoal making process by adding a 1 cord charcoal oven. Notice the extra reinforcing needed to withstand the heat. The next 4 photos were taken July 8, 2004 by Robert Haspel.
This oven can be filled faster and easier. It takes 2 to 3 days to make charcoal from one fill. Then the oven must be refilled to provide enough fumes for the 2 to 3 weeks needed to preserve the wood in the preservation oven. (See photo above)
Forestry team leader, Luther, at right, gets last minute instructions from Antonio, at left, who is returning to Colombia, South America after supervising SCZ charcoal making trials and overcoming the difficulties encountered. Dale is shown in the middle. Luther and the Picuris forestry team will continue the charcoal making trials. Results of laboratory tests will tell us the best procedures and type of tree to use. Our goal is to create profitable products from wood that is now considered "waste".
At left, the wood is ignited and then the oven is closed to provide the incomplete combustion needed to make charcoal. Over time, charcoal will not disintegrate as plain firewood will.
In the photo on the right, both the charcoal making oven in the foreground and the wood preservation oven are shown. Because the site is on a slant and the charcoal oven is lower than the preservation oven, the smoke rises through the white pipe to enter the preservation oven. The smoke is contained as long as possible before leaving the stovepipe as seen in this photo.
Shown in the photo at left is a taller, wider wood preservation oven that was built in September 2004. Both the first and the second wood preservation ovens are connected to charcoal making ovens underground. A solar cell, at left, provides the energy to pump water needed to contain smoke in the wood preservation ovens. In front is a pile of pecan thinnings to be tested. We believe pecan will make good charcoal.
The taller oven allows SCZ to preserve longer pieces of wood. The ones shown in the photo at right are 8 feet long and are ready to take from the oven. Notice the curved pipes on the right side. They contain water to keep smoke in the oven as explained above.
Members of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) came to look over the SCZ charcoal/wood preservation project at Picuris in October 2004. We are hoping to work with them on the restoration of the Chamisal site on Picuris Pueblo. The photo at left shows Myron Amni, BIA Albuquerque, furthest left. Next is Luther Martinez, leader of the Picuris Forestry Team, then Harry Wheeler, BIA Northern Pueblos Agency, Taos, Robert Haspel, SCZ Co-director, and Randall Baker, BIA Northern Pueblos Agency, Espanola.
JUNE 2005: The charcoal we made from pecan thinnings, at left above, and salt cedar, at right above, is of high quality.
Ofcourse we are also testing chips, sawdust, and branches of salt cedar and pecan woods for mushroom/animal feed and soil production so we can demonstrate value-added uses for the whole trees that are thinned out.
Read the complete story of our progress to date on the first SCZ Charcoal Project with the Picuris Pueblo.
Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM is a public 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
This page was last updated on November 12, 2004
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Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs are © 2001-2004 Lynda Taylor.