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Update from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Thank you SO very much for all of your support of Ghost Ranch. Your love of the Ranch is always appreciated. Here are some updates on Ranch projects and programs this year:

Arroyo, Stream and Aqueduct Restoration from the 2015 Flood
The first phase of the arroyo cleanup and stream restoration has recently been completed. Casa Alegre was torn down, and the debris removed from that site and the Pot Hollow area. While not damaged by the flood, Upper Pavilion was determined to have structural damage during an inspection for its roof repair, so it is not in use and it too will need to be taken down. (1/23/2017 update-Upper Pavilion was demolished in December of 2017.)

Social Center has been transformed into Art Studio space and Youth Program and Cantina has been occurring in the Family Center and its attached Tent space for the past two summers. Longer-range plans for Studio and Youth space are being reviewed and developed.

Use of the water in Box Canyon for irrigation purposes is necessary within 3 years of the flood date to prevent the Ranch from losing water rights dating back to 1897. We at Ghost Ranch are taking the proper steps to ensure we do not lose our water rights while fundraising for the permanent rebuild of the system. The costs for the complete restoration of the stream, aqueduct system (which will be a modern pipe system instead of a concrete structure that could again be damaged) and modern irrigation system, none of which was included in flood insurance, are $535,000.

Other Capital Improvements
Capital improvements of $400, 000 have been or are scheduled to be completed for vehicle repairs, a backhoe, additional emergency exit lighting as required by the fire marshal, testing and replacement of sewer lines and tanks for residences and guest lodging as required by the NM Environmental Department, roof repairs to Upper Mesa Dorms, Staff House and Corral Block, tree trimming and dead tree removal in front of the Welcome Center, Library and Dining Hall, rail replacement in front of the Welcome Center, and other various maintenance projects.

Legal Transition
The Ranch is under a new corporate legal structure while continuing to be under the Presbyterian Foundation to which the property was originally donated by Arthur and Phoebe Pack in 1955. The Presbyterian Foundation now has a direct legal agreement between the Foundation and the 501c3 entity operating Ghost Ranch as the National Ghost Ranch Foundation rather than the former agreement with the Presbyterian Mission Agency for the operational management of the Ranch. The Presbyterian Foundation retains ownership of the property and buildings; the Governing Board of the National Ghost Ranch Foundation is responsible for the legal and financial oversight and policies of the Ranch. The operations are all under the management of the Ghost Ranch staff including those previously under the PMA including cash flow, accounts payable (check-writing and disbursements), payroll, employee benefits, contracts and other administrative functions formerly processed in Louisville.

Program development and other educational, hospitality and retreat areas are retained by Ghost Ranch staff with a covenant to the Presbyterian Mission Agency for mission objectives. Ghost Ranch is now responsible for the annual financial sustainability of its operations and its risk management. The Presbyterian Foundation will review the sustainability goals every 6 months with a comprehensive review in 3 years at the time the legal agreements will be reviewed and updated if needed. In 2016 and in the first 6 months of 2017, budgeted revenues and expenses are on track, as are our annual fund goals (Guest fees cover approximately 77% of operations with the remaining 23% covered by donor gifts.)

The new 501c3 corporate name of Ghost Ranch is National Ghost Ranch Foundation dba Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center. The former NGRF fundraising group is now known as Friends of Ghost Ranch coordinated by Jane Cooper.

Staffing
In the 2013-14 Strategic Plan, a position was created to increase the groups and retreat participation at the Ranch to fill in times of lower occupancy (not as a replacement for educational week long and day program.) Stephen Picha, formerly the Education Director, was tapped into this position due to his success and creativity in programming for the Ranch, his knowledge of the mission and operations of the Ranch, and his prior experience in retreat recruitment. The Presbytery of Santa Fe is graciously and generously offering Stephen workspace and conference room use at its location in First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque. Stephen is working with 2-3 new inquiries per day and has added groups such as Wounded Warriors, church and university groups, family reunions and other retreatants.

Layne Kalbfleisch, Jan Term Dean for the past several years and Ranch instructor, is under contract in the Education Director position. She is developing the program workshops for 2018; catalogs and online program descriptions for 2018 will be completed in the near future. (Instructors can submit course proposals online through our website.)

Both, archaeologist and museum curator, Martha Yates, and paleontologist Alex Downs retired under the former legal structure. The museums are currently being managed by Laurie Magoon, Day Activities Manager, with the assistance of several volunteer docents and exhibit arrangers. Scientific expertise and management are being provided by two scientists from the Tucumcari NM Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory, Gretchen Gurtler and Axel Hungerbeuhler, as well as by scientists on the Ranch’s Museum Advisory Board. Full-time staff in the curator and professional science positions will be added in 2018.

Policies on collections and site protection are being updated by the advisory board for archaeological and paleontological artifacts and fossils.Ghost Ranch is a unique site in several archaeological periods and is the top dinosaur fossil site in the world for the Triassic period.

Linda Seebantz, Marketing Director, took a Marketing position with the United World College and we are now recruiting for her replacement. Linda implemented many tremendous initiatives in marketing and communications and remains a great friend of the Ranch; we wish her the very best!

Santa Fe building (Plaza Resolana-Ghost Ranch Santa Fe
The Santa Fe operations were closed in 2010. The building had aluminum wiring and asbestos and further environmental studies that were required after the building was placed on the market revealed further issues like underground gas tanks. The building was purchased by National Ghost Ranch Foundation in 1990 and donated to the Presbyterian Church; the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Church retained this ownership in the legal transition. The building is being demolished at this point, and the land will be sold.

2017 Programs
Jan Term accredited programs for university students, winter and spring programs, and summer programs resulted in a 12% increase in participants; with strong fall and early winter program registration. All programs in Religious and Spiritual Development, Arts, Sciences, and Outdoor and Environmental Education are unique and exciting but anniversary highlights this year include the 10th year of Earth-Honoring Faith, our environmental justice series developed by Larry Rasmussen, the 40th anniversary of the Gospel Choir workshop led by Todd O’Neal and special guest Richard Avery, and the 60th anniversary of the College Staff program organized by Liz Arenberg. The college staff reunion participants were not a large group but very enthusiastic and willing to continue to work to locate alumni for future Ranch reunions.

Development and Capacity
The positive news for the Ranch is that all mission units and lines of business have steadily increased each year over the last 10 years. However, infrastructure in facilities and grounds, in phone and computer systems, and in staffing have not kept up with the growth.

To address the legacy and sustainability of the Ranch, the Governing Board has contracted with Jack Kirkman, an experienced development, and strategic planning consultant. Jack is working with a Development Team of the Board and the Staff Leadership Team to determine infrastructure priorities, capital campaign and annual fund strategies, and strategic plans to bring the internal systems and facilities to the capacity needed to meet the expectations of current and future guests of the Ranch. As the reports and strategies are developed, we will be sharing the plans and the extent of the capital campaign and annual fund goals. The capital campaign, likely to be a $30 million endeavor, is expected to address flood rebuild including the aqueduct and irrigation system, additional rooms with private baths for guests, volunteer housing, (guests and volunteers are staying in area inns, B&B’s and with gracious neighbors because of our shortage in guest private rooms and staff housing), solar farm, vehicles and equipment, and infrastructure updates. No specific building plans and sites have been determined; to date only the soil study to determine optimal sites for building foundations has been completed.

Community Outreach
We continue our community outreach and local partnerships, supportive of over 60 local organizations. The cattle grazing program, which needed to be suspended for 2 years to allow for restoration of the pastures, was reinstated two winters ago, and is successfully assisting local cattle ranchers.

The Holding Courage retreats for those with cancer in the community grew quickly and several more retreats have been added annually, under the leadership of volunteers Deena Talbot and Maureen Fitzgibbon.

Community Day Camp for local youth increased 25% this year and has been popular since its inception 4 years ago.

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps completed the lakeside trail this year, with funding from the Korea Peace Corps IV 1967 Reunion Group, a campaign led by Ross Pumfrey; the Korea IV group has held tri-annual reunions at the Ranch since 1967 coordinated by Cassandra and Sandy Gaines and will be holding their 50th anniversary at the Ranch this month.

We are developing a partnership with the Los Alamos National Labs Foundation, coordinated between Elizabeth Coronado of the Labs and Layne Kalbfleisch, to develop STEM (now STEAM with an Arts component) education in our museums and in the community.

2017 Annual Auction
The annual online auction will be held this year from September 11 to October 2. If you have any quality items to donate, or are willing to solicit travel vouchers, restaurant and hotel gift certificates, or other items from businesses, please call Mary Martinez at 505-685-1000 ext. 4148 or email at marym@ghostranch.org.

Please go online to the auction site during those dates and help the Ranch while purchasing upcoming Christmas and other holiday gifts, birthday gifts or a present for your own enjoyment!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE OF GHOST RANCH
Your love, your time, your support, your generous and kind hearts, are ALL appreciated more than you will ever know. THANK YOU!

With love, peace and gratitude,

Debra Hepler
Executive Director

 

 

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