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Save the Date: July 9 – Questa ¡Pollinate! StorySLAM, Paint Out + More

June 16, 2016

Tickets on sale now! It’s gonna be a fantastic afternoon and evening – one not to be missed!

Weekly Growers & Makers Exchange in Questa starts this Sunday!

June 11, 2016


Meets for 18 Sundays
June 12th – ­ Oct 16th from 10am – ­ 2pm
Corner of hwy 522/38 at the Questa stoplight

Welcome to the Growers and Makers Exchange!

As residents of northern New Mexico we make, grow, and produce for ourselves and our families. When we have an abundance of ­ more garden veggies or choke cherries than we know what to do with ­ we need a solution! Our Growers and Makers Exchange is a local marketplace. This weekly gathering supports small scale producers and makers economically, and also supports community life. We welcome home bakers, jelly makers, gardeners, crafters, artists, woodworkers, our youth, and entrepreneurs to provide locally for one another. At the weekly exchange we localize our economic efforts.

The choice to trade, exchange, and donate is left up to individuals. A best practice for selling food items is to sell by suggested donation.

Things you can hope to find at the Growers and Makers Exchange:

  • Chokecherry and seasonal jams
  • Bread and muffins
  • Coffee and coffee cake
  • Pickles and sauerkraut
  • Cookies and teas
  • Summer vegetables, cut flowers, and fall harvest
  • Art and handmade wares
  • Live Music
  • Local ice cream
  • Each other

Download the full welcome letter (PDF) with info about becoming a vendor HERE.

See you in downtown Questa on Sunday!

¡Pollinate! Banners are up!

June 10, 2016

After some technical difficulties, we are pleased to announce that the ¡Pollinate! Banners are installed! They are vibrant, colorful and full of youthful creativity. It is wonderful to see our local students’ work on display! Look for them in the blue RTD Bus Stops in: Questa near the entrance to the Alta Vista School and Chevron, Cerro, Lama and Arroyo Hondo. Big thanks to Joan Eilers for volunteering to help with installation! And thank you to everyone that helped bring these banners to fruition! Click on the images below to view as a slideshow.

¡Pollinate! Questa Earth Day Fun

May 20, 2016

ForestServiceWith five fabulous and vibrant youth painted banners, over 20 volunteers, five interactive booths, many strings of pollinator flags, lots of paper maché bees and butterflies, a delicious lunch, and a steady flow of participants, the ¡Pollinate! Earth Day event was lots of fun!

EarthDayOverview (1)

It was wonderful to have cars lining the streets, the Visitor Center parking lot busy, and people of all ages out and about in downtown Questa!

Visitors enjoyed: exploring bees and beekeeping with Melanie Kirby of Zia Queen Bee Co.; “Smelling the Flowers” with Cathy Hope of Iris Herbal Products; planting seeds with master gardener Alita Randolph, face painting with artist, Peggy Trigg; exploring pollinators and plants on Public lands with Kevin Lehto and the Forest Service team.; discussing localization and the Northern NM Growers & Makers Exchange with Gaea McGahee; and eating a delicious free picnic lunch – soups and mac-n-cheese made by Kathy Morsell, homemade challah bread donated by Olga Gressot and delicious cookies made by Gaea and Jamie and Sally. Thank you to all of the cooks!

A deep thank you to the MANY wonderful, dedicated volunteers for helping to make the celebration such a success. Thank you also to Mayor Gallegos for facilitating the ribbon cutting for the banners and to our young, expert ribbon-cutters!

The Earth Day Coordinators, Claire Coté, Joan long and Gaea McGahee, feel that they can report without a doubt, that the event and education project in general was a success! See more 2016 Earth Day photos on Flickr.

Keep your eyes out for the banners, soon to be installed in local NCRTD Blue Bus stops…..and don’t forget to mark your calendars for our other upcoming ¡Pollinate! events.

Earth Day Celebration, ¡Pollinate! Pop-up Fair and Picnic

April 15, 2016


On Earth Day, Friday, April 22, in downtown Questa, there will be a youth-centered Pollinator Celebration and pop-up education fair as well as a free picnic lunch and ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling large banner-murals by local students created to depict phenomenal pollinators. A “parade of the pollinators” will follow. Face-painting, “plant-a-seed” activities and DIY recycled crafts will round out this fun, family-friendly event celebrating our beautiful planet!

“We invite the whole community, especially local students and their families in celebrating the creativity of our kids and the importance of pollinators!,” says event co-coordinator, Joan Long.

The free picnic lunch will start at 12 noon; at 1:30 pm the ribbon cutting ceremony for the ¡Pollinate! Banners will take place; “parade of the pollinators” will follow; booths and educational activities will continue until 4 pm.

At event booths visitors can expect to: Explore Bees and Beekeeping, Smell-the-Flowers, Plant-a-Seed with expert gardeners, Do “Pollinator” face-painting, bubbles and hula-hoops, Discuss Localization – Northern NM Growers & Makers Exchange, Explore – Public lands and plants; Picnic – fabulous and free to all.

During February, March and April over 200 students from Alta Vista Elementary and Intermediate School, Costilla Southwest Learning Academy, Questa Junior-Senior High School as well as homeschooling families in the area have been busy painting five large ¡Pollinate! banners as well as flags and other artworks in workshops facilitated by LEAP (Land, Experience and Art of Place) project leaders. The background paintings on the banners were done by Questa High School students and then sent on for the elementary grades to paint in the foreground imagery. To accompany the art workshops, project leaders Claire Coté and Joan Long visited each classroom with a brief, grade-appropriate presentation about pollination, followed by a hands-on demonstration from visiting beekeeper, Jordan Stone.

Paraprofessional educational assistant and class art teacher, Mariquita Rael sees over 180 students in her art room every week and all of them participated in LEAP’s ¡Pollinate! enrichment project. Mrs. Rael reflects on her students’ experiences:

“When real life science can be integrated with the arts, students get a much deeper understanding of the concepts. Seeing their artwork on public display gives them a sense of pride. It is our hope that these Earth Day Celebrations will help them to become contributing citizens in taking care of our planet.”

The banners will be unveiled at the Earth Day Celebration and will then be installed at the five NCRTD blue bus stops in Questa and the surrounding communities of Lama, Cerro and Arroyo Hondo. In coordination with the Earth Day event, exhibits of pollination-inspired artworks by local students will also be on display at the Questa Public Library and Questa Village Offices.

sacramentoearthday_dana-gray“What better day to highlight the learning, inspiration and creativity of our future Earth Stewards, than on Earth Day!?” says event co-coordinator, Gaea McGahee.

The first Earth Day was celebrated 46 years ago on April 22, 1970. This holiday was created by U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, to mark the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean, and for people to renew their commitment to make positive changes in their community. Since that first Earth Day, more than 500 million people in over 180 countries have participated in Earth Day activities. The ¡Pollinate! Earth Day Celebration continues this tradition right here in Questa in 2016.


“Last year’s Questa Earth Day event at OCHO Art + Event Space was so much fun and so well-attended that we decided to move it outdoors this year! ” says, Claire Coté, director of LEAP.

The location of this year’s Earth Day Celebration, the “Plazuela” at the main Questa intersection was improved by community volunteers in the fall of 2015 with guidance from the Frontier Communities program as well as support from the Questa Economic Development Fund and then further improved on April 15 in a Questa cleanup and beautification day. Parking for the event is at the nearby Questa Visitor Center.

“Pollinate: collaborate, create, celebrate” is the theme for Questa’s 2016 Event & Education series. Why? Pollination happens every year, all around us, impacts many parts of our lives and yet remains a mystery to many of us. Pollination is beautiful, complex and essential for the survival of plants, animals and humans. It enables plants to reproduce (think food!) and for bees, butterflies and other pollinators to survive. For us humans, the “cross-pollination” of ideas often prompts creativity, understanding and innovation. The ¡Pollinate! theme shines a spotlight on the global decline of pollinators, emphasizes local pollinators and the plants that help them thrive and is a call to action. Through art, science, ideas, stories and more, the events and programs are adding to our communities’ thoughts and gardens, and that is worth celebrating! We hope you can join us!

The “¡Pollinate!” Event & Education Series is collaboratively organized by LEAP, Village of Questa Tourism, OCHO, US Forest Service Questa Ranger District, BLM Taos Field Office and other partners with support from the Questa Chevron Mine and others. The event series highlights and celebrates local knowledge, creativity, talent, and the natural and cultural heritage of our area.

Contact: Claire Coté (LEAP) – (575) 586-2362
What: Earth Day Celebration, ¡Pollinate! Pop-up Education Fair and Picnic”
Where: Village Plazuela at the Questa Intersection – parking at Questa Visitor Center
When: Friday, April 22nd 12noon – 4 pm
Who: Come one come all – everyone is welcome!
Cost: FREE

Friday, April 15: ¡Pollinate! Questa Trash Pick-Up + Beautification

April 10, 2016

NativeSeedsIn honor of Earth Day and to promote care for the Village of Questa, a community trash collection and beautification day will take place on April 15th, a week before Earth Day. Community members are invited to join Questa junior-senior high school students and event volunteers in the clean-up effort. As well as picking-up trash, the students and volunteers will also scatter seeds of native flowering plants to support local pollinators and beautify the major roadways in Questa. (Seeds will be scattered beyond the reaches of roadside mowing.)

Questa Junior-Senior High School Art Teacher and event organizer, Jennifer Vialpando says, “It is so important for students to get out in the community and be involved in service learning projects like this!”

The trash collection and village beautification is a collaborative effort. Local non-profit program, LEAP (Land, Experience + Art of Place), Questa Junior-Senior High School, Carson National Forest Service Questa Ranger District and the Village of Questa are joining forces to make it happen. Art Teacher Jennifer Vialpando, English Teacher, Maria Cintas and School Principal, Joyce Rock have been working with LEAP director, Claire Coté, FS Questa Ranger District Recreation Assistant, Kevin Lehto and Village of Questa Staff to coordinate the event. Work gloves for the students are generously being provided by Questa Lumber & Hardware Co. and Ambitions Consulting Group.

Marcus Rael, Manager of Questa Lumber states, “We are happy to support student participation and efforts to clean-up our village!”

IMG_2581While junior high students take on clean-up of the Junior-Senior High School Campus, high school students will lead the community clean-up along Hwy 522 and Hwy 38. Community members that come out for the clean-up will focus their efforts in downtown Questa. Willing volunteers are invited to meet at the Questa Plazuela at the main intersection at 9:30 am on Friday, April 15. Parking is at the Questa Visitor Center. Bring work gloves and wear work clothes and bring a sack lunch for a post clean-up picnic if you like.

Questa residents that can’t join on-site are encouraged to clean-up around their own property and take their trash and large items (everything except tires) to the large dumpsters hosted at the Questa Village Offices Friday April 15 and Saturday April 16, 8 am – 4 pm. Questa village residents who show their water bill can dump a truck load for free; for other community members the fee is $10 per load.

This clean-up effort is part of Questa’s 2016 community events and education programs on the theme ¡Pollinate! –  collaborate, create, celebrate”. Why Pollination? It happens every year, all around us, impacts many parts of our lives and yet remains a mystery to many of us. Pollination is a beautiful, complex, and essential process for the survival of plants, animals and humans. Through art, science, ideas, stories and more Questa’s ¡Pollinate! Series is adding to our communities’ thoughts and gardens. Next up is Questa’s “¡Pollinate! Earth Day Celebration and Pop-up Fair” on April 22, 12 noon – 4 pm. Save the date!

Contact: Claire Coté (LEAP) – (575) 586-2362
What: ¡Pollinate! Questa Clean-Up Day, bring work gloves, wear work clothes + bring a lunch (if you want)
Where: Meet at the Village Plazuela at the Questa Intersection – park at Questa Visitor Center
When: Friday, April 15th 9:30 am – 12 noon + lunch

We DUG “Can You Dig It”!

April 10, 2016

Seed planting table at the OCHO Film Night

We had a good turn out for our kick-off ¡Pollinate! event, a community film showing of the new documentary film “Can You Dig It.” Folks dug it and they got to learn about and give their input about the new Northern NM Growers & Makers Exchange! Read more about the event at the OCHO website HERE.

Stay tuned for more about the Northern NM Growers & Makers Exchange!


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