Friends announce the creation of a docent program

Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is excited to announce the launch of a new initiative to upgrade the visitor experience at Dripping Springs.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has seen an increase in visitation since its designation in 2014, and nowhere is this more evident than at Dripping Springs. From 2014 to 2019, visitor days have shot up from 23,143 to 115,360. This is a trend we don’t see changing, as the current public health crisis has demonstrated the value our protected public lands holds for all of us. 

A docent program centered at Dripping Springs will provide visitors with knowledge of the history, wildlife, plant life and geology of a truly one-of-a-kind area. Docents will be available to lead hikes for students and families, as well as answer questions for visitors before and after they hit the trails. Most importantly, the docents will teach visitors how we can best protect our cherished landscapes and public lands. 

“Incredible local support, hundreds of thousands of visitors, and the iconic Organ Mountains add up to an exceptional New Mexico touchstone and a thriving outdoor recreation economy.  Those are the reasons why I proudly stood with southern New Mexico communities and small businesses to establish Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a National Monument.” Senator Tom Udall said. “This grant, to provide docents to the Dripping Springs Visitor Center builds on that strong foundation and will help visitors gain a greater appreciation for the biodiversity, geology and human history that have all carved vibrant life into the desert peaks.  Congratulations and thanks to the Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.” 

“I applaud the partnership between Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and the Bureau of Land Management to establish a docent program at Dripping Springs.” Congresswoman Xochitl Torres-Small said. “Our docents will help preserve the area’s strong heritage and pass down generations of knowledge, in addition to sharing our public lands with New Mexicans and those visiting from across the country,”  

“New Mexico’s public lands make a great classroom for students of all ages and I am more than pleased to hear that a docent program is making its way to the Dripping Springs Visitor Center. These docents promote best practices and can truly inspire a connection to conservation, as well as a healthy lifestyle. I thank the Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks for their diligence in securing this program and have faith that this will grow visitor appreciation for generations to come.” – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich  

Patrick Nolan, Executive Director of Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks added, “This program fulfills a long-term goal of the Friends to provide a unique visitor experience at Dripping Springs. We are so grateful for the support from our local Bureau of Land Management office to make this dream a reality.” 

Through the end of the year, Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks will begin the process of recruiting their docent instructors and volunteers to serve as the first class of docents. The first class will be working by summer 2021. Instructors will receive a stipend for their time.

To learn more about how to get involved as an instructor or docent, please email Patrick Nolan at