The Cibola celebrates three New Mexico SiteWatch award recipients

Albuquerque, NM, March 6, 2019 – The New Mexico Historic Preservation Division is honoring three Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands volunteers for their exceptional contributions to the 2018 NM SiteWatch program.  The NM SiteWatch organization is dedicated to the protection and preservation of archaeological sites throughout the state.  Members are trained to assist land managers with monitoring sites that are in danger of being vandalized or looted.  This year, three of five state-wide awards were given to Cibola volunteers.


“We are grateful for each and every one of our volunteers.  Please join us in thanking them for their generous contributions of time and talent,” said Steve Hattenbach, Forest Supervisor, “and join us in congratulating Eric Rinehart, EF Wade, and Joelle Hertel on their well-deserved awards.” 


Eric Rinehart has been a SiteWatch volunteer since 2014.  Along with monitoring sites on the Sandia Ranger District, he has assisted with forest-wide data management projects.  He created a spreadsheet containing information on each of the forest’s known archeological sites - approximately 10,000 in all!  In 2018, Eric volunteered 300 hours of his time.   


EF Wade began volunteering with SiteWatch in 2017 on the Magdalena Ranger District.  Once a month, he makes a 100-mile round trip excursion to monitor two remote, high priority archeological sites.  EF has also worked to prevent suspected vandalism.  In 2018, he contributed the most site monitoring hours and mileage of any volunteer in the state. 


Joelle Hertel has served as a volunteer with NM SiteWatch on the Sandia Ranger District since 2015.  She managed restoration efforts in the historic Juan Tabo and La Cueva Picnic Grounds.  Joelle contributed thousands of hours raising $30,000 for the project and supervising youth corps and hundreds of volunteers.  In 2018, she worked with the American Carpenter’s Union to restore concrete picnic tables and is currently supervising bench reconstruction in the Juan Tabo picnic shelter.  She facilitated the design of a nighttime gate at Juan Tabo and is in the process of completing interpretive signs at both picnic areas.