We are heading into Memorial Day weekend, which celebrates the men and women who died while serving our country.  This weekend, let’s also remember the over 96,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, which feels like the fight of our lives right now.  I have never experienced such intense love of my hometown than I have this week.  It was heartbreaking to see that $46 million has to be cut from the City’s budget before July 1, and after that, over $100 million in the coming fiscal year.  I have no doubt that we can come together as a community to help each other as we work our way through this, because we all love this place, so blessed with natural beauty, so rich in history and culture, and so full of passionate, bighearted people.  This Memorial Day, I am going to concentrate on the gratitude I feel for those who fought to defend the US.  I will cry, too, about the suffering being inflicted on all of us by this pandemic.  And I am going to pray that our hearts will guide us forward as we build a more resilient community that keeps us in the embrace of equity and appreciation for all that Santa Fe means to us.

I hope this weekend you will get out in nature, because nature makes us feel things.  Maybe outside this weekend you can transform, as our Banff film below says, from “ordinary to briefly extraordinary” and be revived, be awed and renew your hope for the future.  Please don’t let your guard down this weekend and as Santa Fe reopens, though.  We literally cannot afford to let the virus have a second wave.




Sarah Noss
Executive Director


Rio Fernando Park. Photo by Jim O’Donnell.


We are so proud to announce that SFCT has a new conservation easement.  The Taos Land Trust and the Santa Fe Conservation Trust have finalized an agreement to permanently protect 20 acres with the newly restored Vigil y Romo Acequia, the Río Fernando and public access walking trails in the Town of Taos.

The new Río Fernando Park is owned by the Taos Land Trust.  It is comprised of 13 acres of historical agricultural land and nearly 7 acres of wetland next to Fred Baca Park in the Town of Taos just one mile from the center of downtown.  Its wetlands hug the Rio Fernando de Taos, connects to a broader wetland, spilling out into the adjacent Fred Baca public park and downstream to the Rio Pueblo that feeds the Rio Grande. The remainder of the property is urban forest and land once used for agriculture and ranching.

Seeking to ensure permanent protection of the site, the Taos Land Trust has partnered with the Santa Fe Conservation Trust by donating a conservation easement to SFCT — a voluntary land protection agreement permanently removing the possibility of development. Both organizations specialize in protecting natural lands through voluntary conservation easements with private landowners, each focusing on lands within their respective regions. This project represents an ongoing partnership between the two organizations.

Since the Taos Land Trust owns the property, it partnered with the Santa Fe Conservation Trust (SFCT) to hold and enforce the conservation easement on the Rio Fernando parcel. A similar partnership exists between the two organizations on the Rio Hondo Park, which the Taos Land Trust owns and SFCT protects with a conservation easement.  “We’re pleased to help our fellow land trust guarantee that one of the last agricultural properties within the Town of Taos — along with the waters in the Vigil y Romo Acequia and the wetlands of the Río Fernando — will be here for everyone to enjoy for generations to come,” said Sarah Noss, executive director of SFCT.

SFCT now has 93 conservation easements throughout northern New Mexico that protect almost 41,000 acres of land.

This Friday night on CCA’s Living Room Series

Yes, she’s a three-time Emmy winning cinematographer and documentarian, but Dyanna Taylor is also a conservationist and part of a group of people who have protected a 100-acre stretch of the Pecos River with SFCT.  It started when Dyanna and a few others purchased a 17-acre parcel to protect the swimming hole where locals liked to swim.  Later they purchased and protected another 16-acre parcel adjoining the swimming hole, and donated that conservation easement to SFCT.  Then the group formed a nonprofit called Pecos River Open Spaces, Inc. (PROS) to own and manage the properties.  Later, another landowner joined in by donating a conservation easement with SFCT on 60 acres of her land along the Pecos River, which she later donated to PROS.   Now the town of Pecos and surrounding villages have a protected piece of the Pecos River for them to swim in, free of development!

You can meet one of our local conservation heroes, Dyanna Taylor, this Friday, May 22, online at 7 pm via Zoom as she discusses her film, Vanished, as part of CCA’s Living Room Series.  Watch the film tonight, and join the discussion tomorrow night!

View the flyer PDF HERE.

Vanished!!, featuring Dyanna Taylor and Paul Barnes
7 PM (MDT) Friday, May 22

Sign up by clicking HERE.


To tide us over until we find out if September 16 and 17 will work to show the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Lensic, here’s a 6-minute Banff film called Chasing the Sublime.  Why do we put ourselves into the path of discomfort and risk?  What drives us to get too cold and too tired, to battle with fear, in the name of adventure?  Follow the originators of The Outdoor Swimming Society, ‘swim twins’ Kate Rew and Kari Furre, in this hauntingly beautiful glimpse at the physicality of UK cold water swimming, as two friends set out to chase the sublime.


Thanks to our Banff sponsors!

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!