New Mexico youth making a difference in their community and their lives

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Oct 20, 2017

Photo submitted by Krys Nystrom

The news is full of horrifying and sad stories, especially in the aftermath of the California wildfires.  So much tragedy, it is heartbreaking.  When I was in New Mexico connecting with residents, Krys Nystrom, project manager for the Wildfire Network, introduced me to a very positive story about New Mexico young adults.  It was a group of five young adults who are making an incredible difference in the wildfire safety of their community while at the same time are learning basic forestry skills.


This group of five Santa Fe Youthworks participants were working on a project to reduce fuel loading at the Santa Fe Institute.  The project is funded by the City of Santa Fe’s Verde grant.  This project is the result of collaborative efforts by ten partners consisting of the Santa Fe Youthworks (lead), Wildfire Network, Reunity Resources, the Food Depot, Dashing Delivery, MoGro, All Trees Firewood Inc, Proscape Landscaping, Adelante Program for Homeless Student Services, and Santa Fe Community College.


The project provides assistance for fuels reduction and healthy forest restoration projects.  The students were working on reducing fuels and making necessary erosion control steps that they received guidance with from an environmental professional.

Photo submitted by Krys Nystrom

The students are not only helping their community but also growing in personal qualifications through on the job training and coursework provided. According to Krys, “They have done some fixed plot monitoring training, brown's transects for fuel loading measures, and we're learning how to participate in the Land-Potential Knowledge System by adding soil data to that world-wide database.”  They will get an NWCG S130/190, basic firefighting class and hope to participate on some prescribed fire projects. They will also be interfacing with private landowners to get some people skills, and doing a community presentation at some point early next year to get some public speaking experience.


Do you know youth who would like to be a part of something bigger by helping their communities be more resilient from damage caused by wildfire?  Check out NFPA’s TakeAction website for more information about potential community service project ideas.