This summer, Tumbleweeds begins its 25th year. Almost 100 issues, hundreds of writers and advertisers, thousands and thousands of readers! It’s a good time to be looking back, and looking ahead.
You may have heard this through the grapevine, but I want you to hear it from me: I’m looking for a new owner for Tumbleweeds.
Back in the summer of 1994, when I revamped my little newsletter The Tot’s Hot News for toddlers and preschoolers into the first issue of Tumbleweeds,my little boy was about to enter first grade. Today, he’s 30. Longtime readers have watched him grow up in these pages. You’ve read about my husband’s fishing trips, and the passing of our beloved dog Emily, and the months we spent in a hotel after a burst washing machine hose flooded our house. You followed the last years of my parents’ lives and the ongoing misadventures of our impish cat Misty. You accompanied us through the growth and changes in Santa Fe for two and a half decades—or whatever period you’ve been raising or teaching children in this town.
It’s time to make room for a new set of stories.
Tumbleweeds is still going strong. Despite all you’ve heard about the decline of ad revenue for daily and weekly publications, Tumbleweeds ad sales for most issues of the last year were our strongest ever. We have several new advertisers in this issue, and some who have been with us since our very first issue.
We’re still winning awards. We tied for second place for the highest number of award points in the New Mexico Press Women 2019 Communications Contest—including first place for editing and design in the magazine/magpaper category. We won first place for Will McDonald’s personal essay “He’s Leaving Home,” about his son’s departure for college, and Jocelyn Salaz’s food article “The Secret Ingredient” about making biscochitos with her family; second place for my “Notes from Claudette” columns and Josh Rappaport’s “Practical Math Adds Up to Enjoyable Learning;” and third place for Katie Weeks’ “Observe, Explore, Design & More,” and our office assistant Diane Smogor’s “Inspiring Science.” McDonald’s essay went on to the National Federation of Press Women Communication Contest for first-place winners from all state chapters and took second place. Two years ago the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce honored us as the 2017 Family Friendly Business of the Year.
So we’re still hot.
But it’s time for Tumbleweeds to be someone else’s baby. Our new owner might be a young mom or dad, or perhaps an involved grandparent. It might be a pair of co-owners who divide responsibilities, or perhaps an organization that absorbs Tumbleweeds into its existing operation. He, she or they will have the opportunity to take an established publication into new content areas, new geographic regions, new media outlets and new stories.
This is an opportunity for a fresh set of eyes to observe and respond to changes in the family community. Back in our early days, one of our frequent contributors (the late early-childhood educator Phyllis Nye) used to submit articles handwritten on legal pads. In this issue, we have an article by Ashley O’Malley, president of the Santa Fe Mommy Meetup Group—a way for parents to connect that we hadn’t even imagined back then. Her article, “Fresh-Air Fun,” reads like a good friend’s recommendations of the city’s best parks, playgrounds and hiking trails for children, all field-tested by Mommy Meetup and Hike it Baby members. What changes in our ways of connecting might lie ahead?
You’ll find O’Malley’s article translated into Spanish by Flor de María Oliva, “Diversión al aire libre,” reflecting another change Santa Fe has experienced in the past 24 years—a burgeoning community of Spanish-speaking parents.
Tumbleweeds has seen a proliferation of arts programs in its lifetime—including the excellent Dragonfly Art Studio—whose director, Oceanna Holton, offers an indigo art project to do in your home or summer program; see “Blue Beauty.” You’ll see many exquisite examples of indigo (which predates Tumbleweedsby only a few millennia) at the 16th Annual International Folk Art Market, July 13 and 14 on Museum Hill. Look for details in the sidebar to Holton’s article, and in Tumbleweeds’ summer calendar starting on page 28.
We are fortunate that so many nonprofits have been serving the community for decades, including the New Mexico Wildlife Center, founded in 1986. Director Melissa Moore takes us behind the scenes into the center’s hospital, where abandoned or injured animals are rescued and returned to the wild or kept at the center as “animal ambassadors.”
Carmen Harris takes readers onto trails around and outside of town to look for signs of animal presence in places where they normally reside in her lovely article “The Wonders of the Wild.” Which is nothing ... Youth Services Librarian Walter Cook takes us across the universe, in his “To the Stars and Beyond!”
This year’s state legislative session brought more action for children and families than we’ve seen in recent years—many successes, some failures—highlighted by James Jimenez, the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonpartisan children’s advocacy organization we have admired for years.
Changes in children’s technological awareness in recent years are unfortunately supplanting their awareness of their natural environment. Retired teacher Lynn Grimes shares an inspiring art and writing project she led in Jill Miyagawa’s second-grade class at Turquoise Trail Charter School, based on the gorgeous picture book The Lost Words; see “There’s a Word for That!”
And while so many things change, others stay the same. Grandparents are still nuts about their grandchildren. Gloria Valdez writes about visiting Albuquerque’s Tingley Beach with her grandkids, an easy drive from Santa Fe and perfect for a summer day trip, in “Off to the Beach!”
Whether you’ve been picking up Tumbleweeds for 24 years or this is your first issue, you’re part of a family of people around town and around the world (and some in the next world) who have read, written for and advertised in Tumbleweeds.I called you all together for this family meeting because I wanted you to hear of these changes straight from me—and because I suspect the new owner may be someone who already reads and loves this publication. If this might be you, or your organization, please email me of your interest and tell me a bit about yourself: email@example.com.
Where will the new owner take this publication? I look forward to seeing. In the meantime, dig in to this issue, and have a great summer!
Claudette Sutton is Tumbleweeds' editor and publisher.