Westside Campus and Nature

Nick Stern, Staff Reporter | Photos by Nick Stern and Rene Thompson1.3


The Westside campus is favored for its environment, not only among students, but among various wildlife as well, Instructional Technician, Melanie Archuleta-Hallquist said.
There are many roadrunners which, in the spring, can be seen building their nests in different spots around campus, Archuleta-Hallquist said.
R e f e r e n c e Specialist at the CNM Westside library, Amy Baker, believes that the nature environment of the campus is a big part of what attracts people to it, she said.
In the morning hummingbirds can be found all over campus while in the evening rabbits can be found everywhere and if one were to take a three minute walk to the west end of the campus, they would find themselves completely surrounded by the desert, she said.
“It is like you are really living at the cusp of the urban sprawl where nature meets city. You really feel like you are in nature. I think that this campus feeds off of that energy and I think it makes staff, faculty, professors, and students a lot calmer,” Baker said.
Besides rabbits, hummingbirds, and coyotes, there has also been an occasional snake will show up on campus, and recently a venomous snake was seen on campus and had to be dealt with by animal control, she said.
“I was told not to go to my car because there was a snake in one of the bushes and animal control was on their way because it was a venomous snake. Security would not let me go to my car,” Archuleta-Hallquist said.
A coyote once walked right up to the front door of the Michael J. Glennon building and then walked away when it became uninterested, she said.
A family of skunks used to live on campus as well and anyone could smell them when on campus, and after living on campus for about a month the skunks were captured and relocated by animal control, she said.
There is a cat that lives on campus that is known as the campus’ “feral” cat but is prob¬ably not feral at all and has been fed by people, she said.
“I have seen the cat and I have tried to feed it and it ate. I do not think it is feral. I think it belongs to somebody and it just got lost on campus and does not want to leave because there is free food. It is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of lizards and bunnies,” Archuleta-Hallquist said.
Incorporating nature into the architecture at Westside has also been accomplished very well and the new WS1 building is made with walls that are all glass to look out at the great scenery the campus has to offer, Baker said. So on one side of the building there is a vast view of the sprawling desert while on the other side there is a vast view of the Sandia Mountains, and people tend to be attracted simply by how nice it is there, Baker said.
With so many windows and such amazing views of Albuquerque, students are constantly rejuvenated and calmed by every¬thing beautiful there is to see, she said.
“I think they are really trying to make it seem like-instead of working against nature-we are really working with nature,” Baker said.
Another thing that is nice about the campus is the desert inspired fountains that can be found when walking through the campus, she said.
The fountain in the middle of the WS1 courtyard does not use too much water but just enough for some¬one to hear nothing other than the soothing sound of water trickling on the edge of rock, she said.
The shrubbery and landscaping used for the campus also consists of strictly native plants to New Mexico, which is all xeriscaped and consists of what would be found in the desert, she said.
The dedication to natural and native aspects within the campus plays a huge part of maintaining a calm learning environment for students and at the same time, attracting local wildlife of all sorts to the Westside campus, Baker said.
“I think the architecture of this building (WS1) is influencing students to just feel more calm, more Zen, more at peace and I think that is why we are seeing more wild¬life interacting. Part of the reason the hummingbirds probably still come on campus is because they are using native plants,” Baker said.

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