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NeoRio is Today + Sneak Preview!

September 16, 2017

Join us for NeoRio TODAY at Wild Rivers!

Don’t miss your chance in 2017:
To Experience innovative, seed-inspired art installed, performed and located in this beautiful place…
To share
a locally-sourced Northern NM Fall Feast…
To Enjoy music, poetry and each other’s company…

All amidst the beauty of a fall evening, on the rim of the gorge!

Here’s a sneak preview of what Kaitlin Bryson, one of our featured artists has been cooking up for the event:

See you there!

Find all the info about NeoRio 2017 HERE.


NeoRio 2017 is Sat. September 16, 4 – 9 pm!

September 4, 2017

This year at NeoRio we will explore glorious & fascinating seeds; they will inspire the art installations on the rim of the gorge, by featured artists Kaitlin Bryson, Hollis Moore and contributing artist-photographer, Geraint Smith. In the afternoon, enjoy the family-oriented “SEED Sensorium” and a curated poetry and music salon. In the evening, savor a locally-sourced, northern NM fall feast,  live music, artist talks, and campfire, all celebrating this year’s generative, life-giving theme. See google map of Hwy 378 to Montoso Campground HERE. Find out more about the artists and event details HERE.


LEAP Community Collaborations

September 4, 2017

This year, one of LEAP’s goals was to increase our community collaboration and involvement in events that we support:

April 29: Invent Event

Invent Event Attendees Exploring Seed Play

LEAP, SEED Taos and AIRE hosted a Seed Play Station (manned by Claire Coté & Siena Sanderson and Miguel Santistevan) We had hands-on experiments and make-it activities exploring dispersal as well as a traditional seeds of Northern NM display and guessing game. It was snowy outside, but warm and wild inside with over 800 folks in attendance with lots of playing and exploring!  See more about the event at Twirl’s website.

July 1: Questa Library Community Day

Making packing peanut sculptures outside Questa Library

The Library is a great community resource in Questa. To finish out its participation in the nation-wide, month-long Summer Reading Program, the Library hosted a Community Day with the theme “Make a Better World,” and celebrating the kids’ summer reading, free lunch and more. LEAP was invited to offer some recycled craft activities. We made corn starch packing peanut scultpures and recycled tetrapak wallets. Fun!

July 29: Successful County-Wide Clean-up Day

One of the Questa crews with the trash collected from the day

This year LEAP helped organize the 11th Annual Taos County-Wide Annual Rivers and Lands Clean-up Day, spearheaded by Amigos Bravos. In collaboration with the Forest Service Questa Ranger District, BLM Rangers at Wild Rivers and three Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crews, we focused on cleaning up illegal dump sites and litter in Northern Taos County, near Questa and the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

The Questa crews nearly filled a roll-away dumpster with large trash illegally dumped in nearby forests and arroyos (including couches, chairs, TVs, fridges, stoves, toilets, sinks, transmission casings etc.), 50 bags of smaller trash, and 15 bags of recyclable materials.

What a day it was, all over Taos County! Thank you to everyone who came out to to make this year’s Taos Countywide River and Lands Cleanup Day a great success! Huge progress was made across the county to remove trash from our rivers and landscapes. The effort wouldn’t have happened without: Amigos Bravos, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps – New Mexico, Carson National Forest, BLM Taos Field Office, Town of Taos, LEAP, Taos County Solid Waste, Taos Land Trust, and the community members, and many organizations and businesses who donated time, money, food, and supplies!

2017 Earth Day Celebration: Fun Exploring Seeds & Planting Trees!

September 4, 2017

What a great day! 18 trees and shrubs planted by participants of all ages around the Questa library, Youth Center and Municipal Park, seeds given away, yummy burritos eaten. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to make the event happen, came to plant trees and contributed to the success of the event. Special thanks to Sharon Nicholson, librarian at the Questa Public Library for event partnership, and other event partners and Rio Grande Ace Hardware and Cid’s for generously supporting the event for Celebrating the Earth and beautifying our community – success!

Sat. April 22: Come Celebrate Earth Day in Questa!

April 17, 2017

Celebrate Earth Day in Questa with Tree Planting, Seed Activities and a Picnic! In the morning, come lend a hand to plant trees and help launch the new Seed Exchange at the Questa Public Library. Explore the Seeds ~ Semillas Sensorium with special Earth Day and seed-related activities for kids and stay for burrito picnic lunch, fun music and community celebration from 12:30 – 2:30 pm. This free, outdoor event is Saturday, April 22nd, 10 am – 2:30 pm at the Questa Public Library and Park.

Please bring your shovel and gloves to help with tree planting ~

If you save seeds from your garden and have enough to share, please bring them to add to our seed exchange and Library (we love both flower seeds and veggie seeds!) ~

More info at – 586-2362


Welcome, 2017 and a look back

January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!
May it be wonderful for us all – people, places, creatures and things.


Reflections and Projections

2016 was “abuzz” for LEAP. We were busy! Perhaps a little too busy. In 2017 we plan to take things a little slower; fewer big events and intentional focus on some of the less visible, but very important nuts and bolts that will make LEAP stronger and more sustainable in the long run. We hope you will join us in whatever ways are right for you and yours!

beekeeper-and-studentsAs you may remember, pollination was LEAP’s theme in 2016. “The Buzz” permeated LEAP’s activities and programming throughout the year, from our science and art enrichment programs for Questa and Costilla elementary students in the spring, to NeoRio at Wild Rivers in the Fall. We also organized our annual Questa Earth Day event, the regional ¡Pollinate! Art Show at OCHO in Questa, StorySLAM and Paint Out event at Wild Rivers, Dia de los Muertos Community Celebration and local field trips for Questa Junior High Students.

Each event and engagement deepened understandings of the phenomenal and beautiful roles of pollination and pollinators in our lives and ecosystems; each brought people and “place” together and was successful in its own ways.

We also launched two new projects this year: The Northern NM Growers & Makers Exchange and the North Central NM Story Cache. The goals of these new projects are to enliven our communities, generate meaningful conversations, draw-out local stories, and celebrate histories and traditions, new and old. The Growers & Makers Exchange champions our local agricultural and artisan networks by localizing our economy with outlets to sell goods and other infrastructural support. The North Cental NM Story Cache is an emerging local oral history project and archive. Look for more on these projects this year!

Thank You!

HUGE thank yous to all who contributed time, energy and resources to LEAP’s endeavors in 2016. Gratitude to our volunteers, collaborators, artists, participants, donors and grant supporters! You all made it possible.

We are looking forward to new adventures together in 2017!

Donate to LEAP online HERE











Dia de los Muertos: An evening for art, honoring and feasting

December 30, 2016

last-import-10-of-17On Nov 1st, OCHO Art + event Space in Questa overflowed with activity, color, music, delicious food and a diverse group of guests. We honored loved ones and ancestors with ritual and celebration by gathering the living for Questa’s second annual collaborative Dia de los Muertos celebration. This full, late afternoon and evening party included art and altars, Aztec dancers, a feast, music by Questa High School Mariachi and more!


Many thanks to those talented students and their dedicated teacher, Rachel Leon. We will long remember their performance of La Llorona in a candlelit gallery.

The main artworks in the gallery were altars created by Questa Junior and Senior High School students thanks to the guidance and support of art teacher, Jennifer Vialpando. A heartfelt thank you to our local educators, and gratitude to the hosts of the event at OCHO Art + Event Space, in the village center.


As guests arrived they were greeted by local artist Anita McKeown and her Water Altar, created to honor and celebrate the importance of water.

Anita said this of her inspiration, “Water is life for all of us, the altar allows us to make ‘offerings’ for the healthy continuance of our relationship with water and place. It gives a space to reflect and be mindful of our inter-connectedness.”


Thanks to our inspired community members who cooked and baked and served the feast! The spread included posole, vegetarian lentil stew, beans and rice, a huge prune pie, hot chocolate, apples, local cider, pan de muerto, and much more!

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The Aztec Dancers moved with such vitality and power, a deeper history of this celebration, rooted in the indigenous traditions of precolonial centuries, struck us.


Guests of the evening brought photos of loved ones and objects to adorn a community altar. And a pet altar honored animal friends. We remembered the dead with celebration, bright colors, and food with strong flavors; which may explain why this year’s Dia de los Muertos filled the house.

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Guests enjoyed decorating sugar skulls, writing calaveras or “memory poems,” making paper marigolds, calavera face painting (special thanks, Peggy Trigg), and printmaking (special thanks, Joan Long), and writing letters to the dead at “The Dead Letter Office” with author and teacher, Annie Mattingley.

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Of this particular activity Annie said: “This is a chance to write your own heart-healing letter to someone dear who died either recently or long, long ago.” Those heart-healing letters deposited in the sealed box in “The Dead Letter Office” were burned, (in their box), as promised.

Coordinated by Gaea McGahee and Claire Coté, the collaborative event was the collective effort of LEAP, OCHO, Questa Junior-Senior High School students and teachers, as well as community volunteers.


“I see Dia de los Muertos as a way to process loss with simple and meaningful actions in the presence of a community. During our celebration, we prepared food, made beautiful altars and items to place on them. We made sugar skulls; and, while adorning them, maybe we faced mortality with a bit of humor. Our ritual and celebration was a container for our feelings of sorrow at the death of our beloveds. By treating mortality with humor, we acknowledged that we are all sojourners; some simply further ahead,” says Gaea.

Thanks to Rita Daniels of KNCE 93.5 Taos True Radio for joining us at the event and reporting about about it. Listen to her radio program about our day of the dead celebration here:  “Wake Up, Taos! with Rita Daniels” Nov. 2, 2016 episode 51: “Questa Celebrates Dia de los Muertos” (click on “Questa Celebration” 18:10 minutes)


The event was made possible by funding from the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area Fund, Chevron Questa Mine Community Fund, Questa Economic Development Fund as well as individual donations and many, generous, in-kind contributions and volunteers.

We are looking forward to next year! If you’re interested in participating in the event in some way, please contact, Gaea McGahee,,  575-224-2102.