Verde Community Project

The Verde Community Project is a multi-faceted network of private, nonprofit and public partners that have joined to leverage resources through a system of integrated community interventions for the delivery of high priority climate and poverty solutions. The VCP partners have intentionally united together to deepen their investment in the health, welfare and sustainability of the community through simultaneously addressing the needs of people living in poverty and reducing energy use and carbon emissions in the city.


Sparking at-risk youth passion for forest and fire

Wildfire Network has been included in a grant awarded to Santa Fe Youthworks from the city of Santa Fe, to engage youth in forest and fire related endeavors. It has since kicked off with 5 at-risk youth forming a crew and taking part in training for various aspects of forestry and fire. These ongoing trainings include:

  • Erosion control techniques,
  • Basic wildland firefighting,
  • Tree species, diseases and insects,
  • Homeowner wildland fire assessments,
  • Ecological monitoring,
  • Chainsaw operation, safety and maintenance,
  • Basic fire behavior and ecology,
  • and whatever other relevant and interesting teaching moments pop up along the way.

These youth are also working on private land thinning projects, learning to work with homeowners, and learning how hard work, a sound work ethic and discipline can shape their future for the better.

While still a new program, and certainly not without hiccups, I've been amazed at the dedication and passion that has evolved in these youth over a relatively short period of time. Being a new, and extremely small non-profit, Wildfire Network feeds off this crew's determination to make this work, as we operate on a shoestring budget and sheer stubbornness. We are a bit gritty and have a tendency to not follow the crowd, but our focus remains on doing the best we can to improve these youth lives, improve New Mexico's economy and help wildland urban interface communities prepare themselves for fire. Our goal over time is to become at least mostly self-sustaining through private contracts, taking a whole-environment and landowner education approach to fire mitigation, and also to become a sort of introductory boot-camp type program to launch these youth into positions with local fire and land agencies and private contractors, or propel them into more education.

Wildfire Network's founder knows first hand the ability of fire to heal, having been and addict and alcoholic for 25 years. Finding a volunteer fire department, getting hooked into wildland firefighting and later as a sawyer for a fuels crew, she found peace through working a lot of long, hard and dirty hours in the woods.

These youth deserve a shot at one of the best job environments in the world, they deserve the self-confidence and pride that comes from doing a hard, dirty job well, and they deserve to know that their work and dedication will pay off for the environment long into the future. Wildfire Network is determined to make that a reality.

All of these trainings reflect our views that fire mitigation is not just about fire...  It's about restoring balance to the landscape.

Youth learn to understand the connections between soils, water and fire and can communicate that to land owners.

Ready to thin?

Read the stories of 2 of our crew

Youthworks' Verde Blog


Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Thomas Edison

Need Property Thinning?

We are training these youth in the art and science of thinning forested private land.  YOU can help by allowing us to come evaluate your property, discuss your goals, and create a plan to reduce wildfire risk.  Our youth gain experience with ecological monitoring (to see what the baseline conditions are in terms of tree density, percentages of bug infestations and disease and ground surface conditions).  Once we and YOU determine what should be removed, youth gain skills with saw operations and teamwork to get the job done. (and we usually throw in some physical training, saw maintenance, and fire behavior and safety discussions into the day).  YOU are welcome and encouraged to participate in all of it. We'll then re-evaluate our monitoring areas to see the immediate impact, as well as stay in touch with you to periodically (once per year) remonitor the area to see how the land is responding.


About Wildfire Network

We are a nonprofit 501(c3) based in Edgewood, NM

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Wildfire Network's founder is a Certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, through the NFPA

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Wildfire Network
47 Sunset Blvd
Edgewood NM 87015


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