SMU in Taos Biology Students

Students study ground water in our natural environment by visiting Ojo Caliente, a natural hot springs in the Taos area. The mineral springs, deemed sacred by indigenous Native Americans of Northern New Mexico,consist of ten pools with four different mineral waters, Lithia, Iron, Soda and Arsenic.

These students are working on a special assignment: slather mud all over your body and bake in the sun until done.


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Colloquium Lecture Series


On Tuesday night May 25th SMU in Taos began its 2010 Colloquium Lecture Series with Paul Hutton speaking about legendary hero Davy Crockett. Primary sources have recently revealed that Davy actually surrendered to Santa Anna’s army at the battle of the Alamo but fans of the Walt Disney Fess Parker tales still maintain he died a hero.

The Lecture Series continues every Tuesday night until August 3rd.

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WPA Murals

In 1934 Taos artists Emil Bisttram, Bert Phillips, Victor Higgins and Ward Lockwood (known as the fresco quartet) created 10 frescos on the walls of the courtroom of the Taos County Courthouse. The general subject of the frescos is the use and misuse of law. Inscribed under the frescos are titles in english and spanish such as “Avarice Breeds Crime”, “Justice Begets Content”, “The Shadow of Crime” The largest fresco (4′ by 8″) is intitled “Moses the Law Giver” and was located over the judge’s bench.




This Taos Courthouse is now on the State Historical Registry and is located on the north side of the Plaza above such shops as the Taos Mountain Candle shop.

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May Term 2010

Classes have begun on the SMU in Taos and it promised to be an exciting summer for the Fort Burgwin library.

Students from the Fall 2009 term graciously gifted a “Mustang” sculpture to the campus. The wall sculpture measures about 20″ by 30″ and is located just behind the library reference desk.


Another gift for the SMU in Taos campus that has found a home in the Fort Burgwin Library is a
painting given in honor of Governor William P. Clements Jr. The painting, by Gerald Nailor, is entitled Ambush at Agua Caliente. 1851. This was a historic battle that took place during the Season of the Winds in March 1851 where the Picuris and Apache fought the 23rd dragoons of the U.S. Army. The artist was born and raised at the Pueblo of Picuris and his paintings adorn 31 suites at the Hotel Santa Fe.


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Christmas is coming to Fort Burgwin

The air is certainly clear and crisp on the SMU-in-Taos campus and in the library a new exhibit is adding to the holiday spirit. The exhibit shows local decorations of Ojos de Dios (eye of God) made with sticks and bright yarn and Farolitos (commonly referred interchangeably as Luminarias).


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Trail to Cieneguilla

Probably the most important engagement that the Dragoons from Cantonment Burgwin participated in occurred on March 30, 1854. The Santa Fe Weekly Gazette reported that this action “was one of the severest battles that ever took place between American troops and the Red Indians.” The Jicarilla Apaches had been raiding settlers in the area and in response, Lt. Davidson led approximately 60 Dragoons from Burgwin and engaged in an unauthorized attack on the Apache encampment near Pilar, then known as Cieneguilla. The Dragoons were soundly defeated with twenty-two killed and a further thirty-six wounded, along with a loss of twenty-two horses and much of the troops’ supplies.

Consulting resources from the Fort Burgwin Library, SMU-in-Taos Director Mike Adler and Biology Professor John Ubelaker along with some Taosenos who had studied the battle accounts struck out to find the battlesite in the Carson National Forest. The Fort Library has a collection of copies of Cantonment Burgwin postings and correspondance from the Arrott Collection of Fort Union.


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Fall and Winter at the Fort

Well, so much for Fall. It snowed three times at the SMU-in-Taos campus last week. Weather at the Fort is typically 10 degrees colder and much more likely to get snow than the town of Taos. We were so excited to see the beautiful snowy landscape that we drove up to U.S. Hill on highway 518.


Halloween at the Fort brought out students dressed in very impressive costumes. A prize of $20.00 per student was awarded to this group. After the contest, the students drove into Taos for a well deserved night on the town.


Along with the colder temperatures, a new fishing season began. At Eagle Nest Lake the kokanee salmon begin spawning around the first of October. Because these adult salmon die after they spawn, fishermen are allowed to “snag” them using large treble hooks. Here I am with my catch of the day. – and dinner that night.


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Fall at the Fort

Fall has transformed the campus into a picture postcard complete with the vibrant golds and yellows of the aspen and cottonwood trees.


This past weekend was the 27th Annual Taos Mountain Balloon Rally. The early morning sky was filled with brightly colored hot air balloons that resembled Christmas tree ornaments.


The third block of the Fall term has begun. Classes this block include Statistics for Modern Business Decisions, Media and Technology, Introduction to Environmental Sciences
and Plant Biology. Also, the semester-long course, The Taos Experience, team taught by Director Mike Adler and UNM-Taos Professor Sean Murphy continues to the 18th of December.

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Taos Wool Festival

On Saturday October 3 and Sunday October 4, locals and visitors could view the ancient trade of wool weavers and spinners as vendors came together for the 26th annual Wool festival in Kit Carson Park. Alpacas, sheep and even exotic rabbits were on display along with a shearing demonstration. The temptation is great to purchase some of the beautiful yarns to knit that warm winter sweater during the Taos snow days.



Another prescribed burn was conducted by the Carson National Forest at Picuris Peak near U. S. Hill. Smoke could be seen rising into the autumn sky near the SMU in Taos campus.


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SMU-in-Taos Lecture Series

Beginning September 10th, a new lecture series in conjunction with UNM Taos has begun for SMU-in-Taos students. The lectures will alternate locations between the SMU-in-Taos campus and the UNM Taos campus.

The first lecture was Agua y Cultura and featured Sylvia Rodriguez, author of the book Acequia, water sharing, santity, and place. Along with Dr. Rodriguez were Enrique Lamadrid, Literary folklorist and University of New Mexico Professor of Spanish who took his class to a small village in Mexico to study the acequia system and Estevan Arellano, local acequia mayodomo.
Maria-Elena Reyes served as moderator for the lecture. Approximately 85 people attended this first lecture.


Students from the Inaugural Fall class of SMU-in-Taos were recognized before the lecture.


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