Grasslands on the new 842-acre conservation easement in the Galisteo Basin. Photo courtesy of Commonweal Conservancy. (read below)

I don’t know about you, but I was pretty happy to make it through 2020, and I guess I expected 2021 to be better, just by virtue of it not being 2020 anymore!  But as you’ve probably noticed, it isn’t much better, not yet, anyway.  Maybe it was something psychological about anticipating the end of the year (great), and now we are just seeing a long slog ahead (hard).  Over here at our office, it has been hard to gear up for 2021 with the same level of energy and determination.  Do you feel like that?  We keep on keeping on, though, and I hope you are, too.

When you take a minute to reflect, we have much to be grateful for.  We have a new administration that is working to better protect the environment and finally address climate change.  As part of that vision, there is renewed commitment to conserving 30% of the country’s land and seas by 2030, and land trusts are going to play a big part in making that happen.  I am proud to announce another 842-acre conservation easement that we just closed on this week, which is helping to do just that in the Galisteo Basin area.  Read all about it below.   We now have more than 14,000 acres conserved in the Galisteo Watershed stretching from the top of Apache Canyon down into the Galisteo Basin.  Our vision is to create larger conserved areas to protect the biodiversity of life that sustains us, to help plants and animals thrive, as they migrate to higher, cooler and wetter terrain.

You’ve probably read about the extinction crises we are facing worldwide:

  • Up to 30,000 species per year are going extinct: three per hour.
  • Humans have already driven 20 percent of all birds extinct.
  • 12 percent of mammals, 12 percent of birds, 31 percent of reptiles, 30 percent of amphibians, and 37 percent of fish are threatened with extinction.

This is happening because overpopulation, habitat destruction, global warming, and pollution are driving species extinct at an unprecedented rate.  Our work locally to protect the scenic views, open space, wildlife habitat, cultural resources, some with options for public access, is imperative to help the country reach its 30% goal by 2030 and to stem the stresses we are putting on plants and wildlife.  A healthy ecosystem ensures our own health and well-being, so this work is even more critical today than it ever has been.  This definitely puts a little spring back in our steps!  So, while we slog through the pandemic, I hope you will join us in 2021 as we work to put more land into conservation easements as part of an overall effort to better protect nature for ourselves and future generations.



Sarah Noss
Executive Director



Commonweal Conservancy donates an 842-acre
conservation easement to SFCT

White Rock Grotto conservation easement, with a view of Cerro Pelon and the Ortiz Mountains. Photo courtesy of Commonweal Conservancy.

Our friends at the Commonweal Conservancy continue their amazing conservation work at the Galisteo Basin Preserve by partnering with us to protect another large parcel on the southwestern edge of the Preserve called White Rock Grotto.  Not only will 842 acres of gorgeous terrain be protected, another five miles of trails are being planned to add to the 35 miles of trails already in use there.

Mule deer in the Galisteo Basin Preserve. Photo by Melissa Houser.

Why is this work so important?  The Galisteo Basin is a critical wildlife corridor between the Sandia & Manzano Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a critical piece of the Spine of the Continent Wildway, which runs north to south from Alaska to Mexico’s Sierra Madres. The Galisteo Basin Preserve is home to a rich variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles.  Reptiles include salamanders, lizards, frogs, and snakes.  Mammals such as jackrabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, coyote, foxes, deer, White-throated woodrat, Pronghorn antelope, cougar, and bear utilize the property for forage or traversing its arroyos. The Galisteo Basin Preserve is also critical habitat for a large variety of birds that may include the snowy egret, green-winged teal, osprey, bald eagle, golden eagle, northern harrier, sharp shinned hawk, Cooper’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, Merlin, peregrine falcon, blue grouse, great horned owl, nighthawks, swifts, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and a large variety of songbirds.

Obsidian shard in the GBP, most likely imported from the Jemez Mountains. Photo by Melissa Houser.

This landscape also tells the story of place and our place in it.  Revered by archaeologists and historians as a landscape where people have lived for more than 7,000 years, the Galisteo Basin’s mesa tops are etched with the cultural symbols of Tewa Indians and Spanish missionaries.  Congress recognized the cultural importance of the area when it passed the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act in 2004.

Public trail on White Rock Grotto. Photo courtesy of Commonweal Conservancy.

The Galisteo Basin Preserve currently offers 35 miles of publicly-accessible trails, which is the largest publicly-accessible network of trails on private land in the southwestern United States.  12,000 hikers, mountain-bikers and equestrians explore the Galisteo Basin Preserve trails each year—and now thousands more thanks to the coronavirus.

SFCT’s partnership with the Commonweal Conservancy has resulted in the protection of 5,891 acres of wildlife habitat, cultural resources and amazing recreational opportunities covering 15 properties within the Galisteo Basin Preserve.  We send our thanks to Ted Harrison and Gretchen Grogan for partnering with us to save this wide open landscape!

Searching for volunteers to help with our virtual event

Did you see our 2020 virtual event?  You can see parts of it HERE.  We are seeking volunteers for our event committee to help us plan our 2021 virtual event, scheduled for August 26th.  We always need help from people with social media/PR chops or who can help us network in the community to find underwriting support for our conservation work.  Email Joanne at  if you want to join us.  Our kick off meeting will be toward the end of February!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – Two New Programs!

COMING FEBRUARY 4th – TWO new Banff programs for online viewing:
RUBY (8 films) and SAPPHIRE (3 films) Programs
More thrilling films at the same outstanding price! 
$15 for one program; $28 for both 

“Banff always has the best action films every year.  This time we enjoyed them from the best seat in the house too!”  Eddie B

If you haven’t yet seen the AMBER (9 films) and ONYX (8 films) Programs

“Enjoyed the Onyx gift package SO MUCH, we watched all the films twice over a few days — such fun!!!”  -Nancy C

Part of the proceeds support our work. We are so grateful to you for helping us move forward in 2021!

Our fantastic sponsors from last year are sticking with us to make this happen. Please give them a shout of thanks and patronize their businesses whenever you can!

Atalaya Platinum Sponsors


Galisteo Basin Gold Sponsors

David & Pam Fleischaker


Jerry Meyer and Nina Zingale


Sun Mountain Silver Sponsors

Allegra Print and Imaging

Bristol Family Law

City Different Dentistry

Julie Martinez, MD and Patrick Samora, MD

Landseer Management

RKW Enterprises

Rothstein Donatelli LLP

The Running Hub

Santa Fe Prep

Santa Fe Reporter

Santa Fe Title Company

The Simons Firm

Southwest Care Center

Strogard Enterprises

Taos Ski Valley

Ulrich Investment Consultants

Arroyo Hondo Bronze Sponsors

Academy for the Love of Learning

The Broken Spoke

Fire and Hops

Sean Gallagher, Morgan Stanley

Integration Therapy

La Fonda on the Plaza

Land of Enchantment Guides

Mountain Kids!

Neptune Fish Jerky

Positive Energy Solar

Santa Fe Endodontics

Santa Fe Family and Functional Medicine

Santa Fe Film Office

Second Street Brewery


Karen Wolfe-Mattison, Sotheby’s International Realty

2020 Newsletter /
2019 Annual Report

Have you seen our latest newsletter?  It’s a celebration of the trails that sustain us, plus a look at the lands we have recently protected.  Check it out!




New Charitable Giving Tax Deduction

One very positive outgrowth of the current situation is that the long quest for a “universal” charitable contribution deduction has finally been fulfilled.  Historically, a charitable contribution tax deduction has been available only to taxpayers who were willing to itemize their taxes. The CARES Act, however, changes that. Moving forward, even those of you who opt for the standard deduction in lieu of itemizing will be able to claim a charitable contribution deduction, up to $300. More information can be found here.

Also emerging as a result of the CARES Act for some of you is the $1,200 stimulus payment.  If you find that you can spare some portion of that, please consider contributing it to SFCT, and its continued pursuit of future, enriching conservation transactions.

You too can play a role in leaving a legacy!


SFCT depends on the generosity of the community to fund our work.  SFCT partners with our community to keep northern New Mexico’s living lands and people flourishing together.  We protect environmentally significant landscapes, ignite people’s passion for nature and enable the continual regeneration of our healthy place.  If you believe in our mission, please make a donation today!