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Five southern New Mexico organizations receive grants for outdoor youth programming

Organ Mountains (credit: KFOX14/CBS4){p}{/p}
Organ Mountains (credit: KFOX14/CBS4)

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Five southern New Mexico organizations were awarded grants to support programming that provides outdoor experiences for youth.

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The grants are part of the Outdoor Equity Fund (OEF) for the 2022 grant cycle from the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division.

The following organizations in southern New Mexico will receive grant money:

  • Sunland Park ($12,608.28, Doña Ana): The City of Sunland Park will offer a series of youth classes and seminars for all youth with a focus on grades 3 through 6. These events will include a hands-on walk throughout the park highlighting the designated topic of the session. The sessions will include lessons on a variety of topics including, Humans and the Environment, Animals, Plants, and Ecology.

  • Doña Ana Village Association ($15,000.00, Doña Ana): DAVA engages youth about the importance of the national historic trail through community outdoor activities that incorporate the village and the trail. This will include engaging youth in the planning of the outdoor space south of the village, in conjunction with our Rivers Trails Conservation Assistance Grant. DAVA will also continue its mural projects, community bike rides, walking tours of the village and restoration of historic acequias.

  • Friends of La Luz Range ($20,000.00, Otero): FOLLR will provide standardized instruction to students about the identification, handling, use, storage, care, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment as it pertains to hunting in the forests in New Mexico. The students attend classroom instruction provided by certified instructors who oversee the practical application of the use of firearms and archery equipment on the shooting range.

  • Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks ($20,000.00, Dona Ana): Our Moving Montañas Program connects youth to our national monument. Through this program, they aim to foster the next generation of public land stewards that represents our minority-majority community. They utilize a vast partnership network to ensure we are reaching those who would not have these opportunities.

  • Velo Cruces, Inc. ($16,000.00, Dona Ana): Children with disabilities can benefit from riding adaptive cycles. Physical benefits include increased joint motion, muscle movement, circulation, cardiovascular health, core development, and improved coordination and balance. Emotionally, riding adaptive cycles can help foster inclusion and a sense of independence. Barriers to obtaining an adaptive cycle include prohibitive cost, lack of local availability, and lack of support and guidance as to which cycle or accessory is best suited for a rider’s needs. Every Body Rides with Grace seeks to draw attention to these barriers and increase accessibility to cycle riding for New Mexican youth with disabilities.

This year, 47 organizations were awarded grants. The total 2022 funding amounted to $795,133.28.

“There are some truly incredible programs in this third round of Outdoor Equity Fund grants,” Axie Navas, ORD director, said. “Other states, and the country as a whole, are paying attention to the grassroots outdoor equity work happening in New Mexico. We are leading the way.”

Since Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Outdoor Equity Fund into law in April 2019, the program has granted $2 million to 130 organizations throughout the state.

Private sponsors to the fund include the Wilderness Society, the Turner Foundation, The North Face, and REI, who have invested alongside the State of New Mexico in the grant.

Recently, the state invested $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act money to support the program.

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