The mobile Rangeland Health Kiosk was designed and built under the San Pablo Project as a tool to introduce area residents and other members of the public to the key elements of land health. The Kiosk is a small trailer that is towed to various sites, such as County Fairs, school sites, Chapter Houses, land-related workshops, or any other suitable event, then set up for both static display and active demonstrations. The core of the static display is 5 large posters relating land health to soil, water, and plants, and introducing the basic concepts of land health assessment. Also included are free handouts and the ability to show land-related videotapes or DVDs on a 20 inch TV sceeen. Two large retractable awnings are mounted on the trailer body, providing shade during summer months when shade is desireable enough that that feature alone will draw some people to the display area.
Ground Cover is Good
The core of the active demonstration is a rain simulator, which uses a rotating spray to realistically simulate Southwest rain conditions (large, fast-moving raindrops). The "rain" falls on up to 5 different types of soil cover conditions, ranging from bare dirt to thick vegetative cover such as sod, and the runoff from each sample type is collected in a clear jar. All the samples have the same soil under the cover, that being typical New Mexico soil which is dominated by clay and sand and which has little organic content. The key difference in each sample is the amount of cover, which the simulation then shows makes a dramatic difference in the amount of water and soil retained during a rain. The "rain" falls for approximately 3 minutes, and the runoff collection jars then show and prove just how dramatic a difference there is, in quantity and in quality, of runoff from the different samples. While many people believe bare dirt will "hold" the most rainfall, the simulator shows that the opposite is actually the case, as bare dirt "holds" the least rainfall and causes the largest amount of runoff by volume and by soil carried away. This then shows how critical good ground cover is to land health.
Mobile Education Tool
The Kiosk was made possible by funds from EPA, the NM Environment Department, and the Rio Puerco Management Committee. The Kiosk is operated by the RPMC and is available at no cost for display at area land health related events and demonstrations to schools. For more information, including to see about scheduling the Kiosk display at your event, please contact RPMC.