If you’ve never visited New Mexico, you have the chance to do so through a Rotary Exchange program.
Rotarians from District 5520 comprising New Mexico and a portion of West Texas were in Wisconsin for a visit, and their exchange included the Waunakee club meeting Oct. 10.
Barbara LaGree spoke to the club about Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Silver City where the visiting Rotarians hailed from.
District 5520 includes 68 clubs and is one of the largest geographic districts. Santa Fe is the state’s capitol. It is 121,699 square miles with a population of about 2 million. It receives just 13.9 inches of rain per year and enjoys 360 days of sunshine. The artist Georgia O’Keefe moved there for the light.
Its industries include oil drilling, tourism, mineral extraction, farming, cattle ranching, lumber milling and retail.
One of the oldest cities in North America, it was colonized in 1589, and New Mexico became the 47th state in 1912.
One of the main export crops is chilies.
Albuquerque was settled in 1706 and has a population of 700,000. It’s right on Route 66 and is a mile high city. There you can ski in the morning during the winter months then go hiking or golfing in the afternoon.
It has a diverse culture with Native Americans, Hispanics and Anglos. High-tech industries there include Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories.
Right now, thousands are visiting Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta, featuring two weeks of hot air balloon launches.
Silver City is a much smaller metropolis, with 5,000 residents. It is next to the 3.3-million acre Gila National Forest where Indians built their homes in cliffs and archaeologists enjoy visiting.

The Oct. 10 meeting was also club assembly, so the club heard from committee chairs.
Membership has had no major changes and is looking to add four new members since July.
The international committee is on track to receive a District grant for the girls’ dormitory at Soar Academy in Nakuru, Kenya. Also, Food for Kidz has the volunteer it needs and is hoping to package 500,000 meals on Oct. 20.
The speakers and PR committee has some interesting programs set. Former Dane County Sheriff Rick Raemisch, who went on to a career in corrections in Wisconsin and Colorado, will talk about the correctional system on Oct. 24.
Fellowship has an event planned on Oct. 17 that includes a tour of MERI and a get-together at the new Boston’s Pizza afterwards. The next event will be the Christmas party in January.
Fundraising is working on the Rotary Lights brochure.
Community service has canceled the fall clean-up; the village’s parks department has done a stellar job keeping the areas picked up. There will be work to do in the spring.
Guests: Barb Townley, guest of Jon Townley;
Visiting Rotarians: Barbara LaGree and Brooks LaGree, Albuquerque Del Norte; Kathy Eaton and Bill Evatt, Silver City, New Mexico; Virginia Hamilton, Santa Fe.
Birthdays: Oct. 21, Linda Olson.
Anniversaries: Oct. 19, David and Candace May
Programs: Oct. 17, Mick Holm, Food for Kidz; Oct. 24, Rick Raemisch, America’s Prisons; Oct. 31, Tiffany Schulz, BBB 101.
Greeters: Oct. 17, Jim Elvekrog and Rex Endres; Oct. 17, Gary Epping and Bill Erickson; Oct. 24, Daniel Evans and Jim Fitzpatrick.