In celebrating their 25 years working in New Mexico and beyond, River Source continues to rekindle connections and capacity of people in rural, urban, and tribal communities to the rivers, lands, and regenerative approaches for building watershed resilience. They create participatory science, work-learn internships, and provide ecological restoration and monitoring services using community-centered engagement to harvest collective knowledge and commitment for restoring ecosystems and improve watershed health.
After initiating the first Watershed Academy crew of five youth in July 2020, River Source expanded the Watershed Academy to three communities by hiring and training 14 youth and 2 adults in Santa Fe, Tierra Amarilla, and El Rito. They also hired 10 additional interns during the school year. The work-learn experiences gave youth skills in watershed restoration through shovel-ready, inter-generational water and land restoration work. They built job skills using on-the-ground watershed stewardship practices while honoring traditional knowledge.
River Source worked to build capacity, rather than creating dependency, and identified two “sparkplug” individuals who share our commitment to continuing this work in Tierra Amarilla and El Rito. The water job pathway project created youth engagement in natural resource stewardship that had meaningful public engagement with neighbors, NGOs, business partners and government agencies including Soil & Water Conservation Districts, US Forest Service, and City of Santa Fe.
Photo: Gabe Vasquez, Cristian Chacon, and Jose Ramirez (from right to left) install a Picturepost to track climate change and watershed health conditions in the upper Santa Fe watershed (June 2021).