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April 20, 2023 ~ Celebrating Earth Day & Community Connection

April 14, 2023

April 20th Honor Student-Led Questa Community Clean-up and Beautification

On Thursday, April 20th from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, community members are invited to join Questa Junior-Senior Honor Society Students, Village of Questa Beautification Committee, LEAP and local Churches in a Community-Wide clean-up and beautification effort. All are invited! Let’s come together in solidarity with thousands of other communities around the world to celebrate Community Connection and  Earth Day.

The day will include trash pick-up along Hwy 522, Hwy 38 and around Eagle Rock Lake, led by the Questa Junior-Senior High School Honor Society and members of the Questa Beautification Committee. At the Questa Municipal Park there will be trash pick-up, invasive plant species removal, irrigation repair and more at the Questa Municipal Park, led by LEAP. Cleaning and beautifying our community is our goal, but equally important is staying safe, having fun, strengthening friendships, and coming together to shape the future we want for our community. This clean-up day is one of many local events and efforts organized by the Questa Junior-Senior High School Honor Society this spring. The Village of Questa Beautification Committee will host regular clean-up days once a month throughout the summer and fall.

Part of the March 1 Questa Beautification Crew: Councilwoman Gonzales and her 2 kids, Amalia Gonzalez, Robert (Robbie) Ortega, Kingston, and Casey (Soupman) Eason at Questa Veteran’s Memorial Park, photo by Councilman Gonzalez

Lunch for volunteers will be provided midday (soup, sandwiches etc.). Bring a water bottle, layers for weather, hat and sun protection, and if you have them, work gloves, and yard cleaning tools; we’ll have additional tools and trash clean-up supplies on hand as well. 

The first Earth Day was celebrated 53 years ago on April 22, 1970. This holiday was created by US 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 communities.

Questa Park Volunteers taking a break and surveying their accomplishments from the day, April 30, 2022, photo by Claire Coté


Community Connection Days are collaborative, intergenerational days of community give-back and celebration, taking place in and around Questa. Each gathering is an opportunity to connect with friends and make new ones, to care for and improve our public spaces and envision together what we want for our community. 

This effort  is made possible by collaborators Questa Junior-Senior High School Honor Society, Village of Questa, Taos County Solid Waste, LEAP, Localogy, Local Churches, North Central Food Pantry, and many Community Volunteers. The Questa Junior-Senior High School Honor Society activities are sponsored by the LOR Foundation. LEAP’s clean-up and beautification efforts at the Questa Municipal Park is funded by Chevron Grants for Good through Taos Community Foundation as well as individual donors.

We look forward to beautifying Questa with you on Thursday, April 20th! Thanks to all  involved for making this community effort possible. Next month, join in the May Community Connection Day in downtown Questa preparing the Questa Farmers Market, Visitor Center and Village Center for opening Memorial Day weekend.

Please insert these details in an info box:

What: Honor Student-Led Questa Clean-up and Beautification

Where: Eagle Rock Lake, Hwy 522 and 38, Questa Municipal Park 

When: Thursday April 20th, 9:30 am – 2:30 PM

Who: Everyone welcome!

Cost: Free

Info: Facebook + 

Councilman Gonzalez, Village of Questa Beautification Committee, 575-741-5013

Santana Santistevan, Questa Junior-Senior High School Honor Society, 575-779-5601

Claire Coté, LEAP, 575-224-9066 – Questa Municipal Park

Photo Credits and Captions:

  1. Questa Park Volunteers taking a break and surveying their accomplishments from the day, April 30, 2022, photo by Claire Coté
  2. Part of the March 1 Questa Beautification Crew: Councilwoman Gonzales and her 2 kids, Amalia Gonzalez, Robert (Robbie) Ortega, Kingston, and Casey (Soupman) Eason at Questa Veteran’s Memorial Park, photo by Councilman Gonzalez

5th Community Connection Day TODAY!

September 17, 2021
Join us TODAY, September 17th for the 5th Community Connection Day this season, 9 am – 12:30 PM (and beyond), downtown Questa; meet at the Questa Farmers Market site.
Help us start the new mural at the Questa Farmers Market and make progress improving the grounds at the neighboring historic property of Casa de Cultura. Wear a hat and sturdy shoes, and clothes you don’t mind painting and working in, bring your water bottle and if you have them, work gloves. We have extra work gloves and tools on hand for all that need them. Lunch and snacks will be provided for volunteers. More details below…..
More about the projects:
9 AM – 12:30 – Casa de Cultura, historic property beautification
Volunteers are needed to help chip branches, spread wood chips, pull and “wack” weeds, cut back elm tree shoots and load organic waste for removal.This beautiful historic home in downtown Questa with the huge Grandfather apricot tree, active acequia and various outbuildings is the site for the proposed Casa de Cultura. The property is owned by Estevan Rael-Galvez who is working with Localogy to bring about the vision for Casa de Cultura, a center for creativity, consciousness and community in downtown Questa. Learn more about this project HERE.

10 AM – 12:30 and Beyond – Paint New Mural at Questa Farmers Market

Painting of the new shipping container mural at the market site begins on Friday! Please join in painting this lovely quilted landscape ~ the mountains near Questa. The design of this mural invites all abilities and ages to paint together. A pattern will be drawn for you to fill up with color and design!

The design, by artist Rae @rubysofrae was inspired by the land and the practice of quilting that carries on in this community (and in many places). This mural seeks to bring many small pieces together to create beauty through our brushes!

12:30 Pizza Lunch provided on site for volunteers
Lunch has kindly been donated by Dominoes Pizza in Taos.
Painting and clean-up efforts may continue into the afternoon, after lunch.

August 20 Community Connection Day Reflection

August 26, 2021

The August 20th Community Give-Back Crew left to right: Desiree Martinez, Madalena Miera, Kingston Gist-Trujillo, Benita Muniz and Nancy Parker

On Friday August 20th Taos Behavioral Health in collaboration with LEAP and Vida del Norte teamed up to do the first of what we hope to be several senior yard clean ups in the Questa community, as part of the monthly Community Connection Days. The yard chosen for this month was that of Berna Trujillo, who is a business owner in the community as well as a Grandmother raising three grandchildren.

It was a pleasure to see not only her grandson Kingston Gist-Trujillo work to improve their yard but to also see community involvement. After a couple of hours of hard work, and a final look around at the improvements with pride in his eyes and approval of a job well done and the crew enjoyed some pizza donated by Berna from Village Stop & Go.

Madalena Miera, Kingston Gist-Trujillo and Desiree Martinez enjoy outdoor pizza lunch

We look forward to helping to improve the yards of other senior members of our community in the upcoming months. If you or someone you know are in need of help please contact Benita Muñiz at 720-662-9652 or

In the month of September, our Community Connection Day takes place Friday, September 17th in and around downtown Questa and we’ll also work tocontinue to serve seniors in our community. We hope you will join us for a fun and meaningful day of Community Investment and Give-Back in September!

August Community Connection Day: “Sharing is Caring” – Focus on Seniors

August 10, 2021

In August we shift our focus from beautification of shared public spaces to collectively supporting the well-being of senior individuals in our community. Questa honors and values our community seniors and knows you’d like to continue to age in place in your own home safely and comfortably. By connecting with youth and other capable community members, we will come directly to your home and do general clean-up and basic maintenance in your yard. Our payment from you will be to share stories of your youth with our youth.

Benita Muñiz, organizer of the August Community Connection Day works with two young people removing invasive weeds from Questa Park, May 21, 2021, Photo by Claire Coté

For further information about the August Community Connection Day and Focus on Seniors contact: Benita Muñiz, 720-662-9652 or

LEAP brings Drawing Box A5 Touring Exhibition to Questa!

August 4, 2021

Update: Show dates extended for another month! Exhibition us up through September 28th! Thank you Questa Public Library!

LEAP is honored to be collaborating with Questa Library to bring this show to our village!
Come see this wonderful show of over three hundred works by artists from around the world, including LEAP’s founder/director, Claire Coté.

See full press release below.

Sneak preview can be found here – a film created as part of the Virtual Drawing Box A5 Exhibition hosted by Galway Art Centre:

Artists from Around the World Show Work

at Questa Library in “Drawing Box Exhibition”
Exhibition Dates: August 7 – 28, 2021


For Immediate Release:

What: Drawing Box A5 Exhibition – International Artists

Where: Questa Public Library

When: August 7 – September 28, Open Hours: Monday – Saturday, 12 – 5 pm

Who: All welcome!
Cost: Free

Event Contact: Claire Coté (LEAP) – (575) 224-9066,

OVER SIXTY ARTISTS from around the world are presenting drawings created in a variety of mediums during the Covid-19 pandemic in The Drawing Box A5 Exhibition, on view at the Questa Public Library, August 7 – 28. All artists in the show are part of the international Drawing Box collective; each submitted five works on A5 sized paper (5-7/8 x 8-¼ inches). All works are unframed and for sale. The Drawing Box exhibition at the Questa Library is organized in partnership with LEAP (Land, Experience and Art of Place), an arts, education and community program of the Questa-based nonprofit, Localogy.

The Drawing Box A5 show is a touring exhibition of over 300 unframed works, curated by Diane Henshaw, artist and curator in Northern Ireland. The tour kicked off in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in December 2020 and then as an online exhibition at the Galway Arts Centre. The works then began their international tour in 2021 to Paphos and Cyprus. Now the works arrive in Questa, New Mexico, the tour’s only stop in the United States and also the homeplace of participating artist and LEAP founder/director, Claire Coté. After this showing, the works continue their international exhibition journey by mail to Australia, Greece, Nètherlands, Scotland, Ireland and India.

Exhibition Background
Claire Coté met Diane Henshaw in 2011 while participating in a collaborative artist residency in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and Cavan County, Ireland. The Drawing Box Facebook group was created soon afterward in 2012 by John Crabtree, Andrew Crane, Patil Rajendra, and Diane Henshaw, with the idea of linking Irish and International artists interested in contemporary drawing and global networking. After a significant touring exhibition in its first years, the group lapsed into inactivity, but was rekindled in March 2020 by Diane Henshaw. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the reactivated Drawing Box collective has helped give participating artists unique opportunities to be profiled internationally through new networks and shared programming, such as “meet the artist” online studio visits and international exhibitions like this one.

Exhibition curator and Drawing Box co-founder Diane Henshaw reflects:
“A key focus of the events and programming has been to visually nurture members and their interests by sharing information, creating connections, and in general being there for each other.There are many negative impacts the pandemic visited upon the world; the art world too. The generosity of spirit and the courage to reach across…differences, the initiative of each of our host artists and host venues in some way define our ways out of the paralysis of Covid-19. The Drawing Box group feels privileged to connect with host communities around the world.”

When Claire Coté decided to submit her work to be a part of the touring show, she also offered to host a stop on the tour in Questa through LEAP. LEAP is an experimental, place-based art and education initiative creating fertile ground for collaboration in Northern New Mexico communities and beyond. Construction of the new addition for the Questa Library was in full swing as Claire negotiated the details of the Drawing Box show in NM. When Claire heard that art display space had been figured into the design of the new Library addition, she felt almost certain this was the place for the show. Sharon Nicholson, Questa Librarian, graciously welcomed the exhibit.

Claire says, “I am honored to be a Drawing Box collective member. It’s a rare treat to have contemporary art from around the globe in Questa. We are grateful to the Questa Public Library for working with us to show this collection of works in their beautiful new space. This community hub is a perfect place to host this unique show, and gives Northern New Mexicans and visitors access to this unique touring exhibition.”

For more information call Claire Coté (575) 224-9066 or visit

July 16 Tree Planting – Community Connection Day!

August 4, 2021

Friday, July 16th dawned bright and sunny. Seven beautiful trees lined the east wall of the Youth Center, standing tall, in the sunshine awaiting planting; crabapple, maple, ash, poplar and hackberry, all sponsored to honor loved ones and beautify our park. Despite the rising heat of the day, forty-three willing volunteers gathered in a circle at the Questa Youth Center; seventeen adults and twenty-six youth “checking-in” together before getting to work. The mission of this third Community Connection Day was to plant these trees together. And plant them we did, with all hands on deck! This brings the number of trees planted in the park this year up to fourteen. Special thanks to Benny Gallegos, Richard Holmes, Rachel Kuc, Maria Gonzales and Chris Coté for inclusive youth mentorship during the tree planting process. Thank you also to Cristina Masoliver who played her “Los Flamencos” puppet show to conclude our morning work and to Questa Economic Development Fund for sponsoring the delicious lunch provided by Wendy Medina and Alex Romero of Evelyn’s Treats.

Community Connection Days are intergenerational days of community service and celebration, taking place in and around Questa, May through October, 2021 on the third Friday of the month. This consistent coming together, showing up for each other and our community is part of ongoing, Creative Placemaking efforts in our area and is made possible by collaborators: Vida del Norte, LEAP, Localogy, Taos Behavioral Health Questa SUCCESS Center, Village of Questa, Questa Economic Development Fund, Questa Farmers Market and Community Volunteers.

Auntie Nannie’s Seed Exchange at Questa Library

May 28, 2021

There are two beautiful Seed Exchange Stations in Questa, “Auntie Nannie’s Seed Exchange” created by Alianza Agricultura and sponsored by the LOR Foundation. One has been placed at the beautiful Questa Library addition (a lovely upgrade to our temporary DIY system, and one is also available at Rael’s Store). We are so happy to be a part of this larger community project in Questa! Thank you Gillian Joyce and all those at Alianza Agricultura that made this possible and to LOR Foundation for sponsoring the project! Find out more about it HERE.

Fundraiser to Plant Memorial Trees at Questa Municipal Park

May 24, 2021

Planting a tree in memorial for a family member, April 23 2021, Photo by Lita Mead

All are invited to sponsor a tree and beautify Questa Park in honor of a loved one. Vida del Norte, LEAP (Localogy), SUCCESS Program (Taos Behavioral Health), Questa Public Library, Trout Unlimited, Village of Questa and other volunteers are teaming up to raise funds to plant a memorial grove at the Questa Municipal Park. Funds raised will purchase trees and the necessary supplies to care for them, as well as permanent plaques inscribed with dedications for loved ones to accompany each memorial tree. Trees will be planted this summer at the July Community Connection Day at the Questa Park on Friday, July 16.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time is now!”
– Chinese Proverb

This fundraiser was first launched to raise money for a community park cleanup day on April 23 in celebration of Earth Day and builds on past year’s Earth Day tree plantings and beautification efforts. The park cleanup day was organized by LEAP (Land, Experience and Art of Place) in collaboration with the Vida del Norte Coalition, Questa Public Library, Village of Questa, Taos Behavioral Health and other community volunteers and organizations. During the park cleanup day trees were planted in the Municipal Park and people who made a donation of $100 will have a memorial plaque placed by one of the new trees with a dedication of their choosing. Enough money was raised by this fundraiser to plant 7 trees with plaques on April 23. 

Well established flowering crabapple tree, planted at Questa Park on Earth Day 2018, photo by Claire Coté

There is still lots of open space at the Municipal Park and additional trees are needed! More trees mean more shade and wind protection for our kids and all of us that enjoy the park as well as improved habitat for our helpful, nonhuman neighbors like birds and pollinators. It also means that we, as a community can commemorate our loved ones together, when we honor them with memorial trees.

Donate $100 to sponsor a tree in honor of a loved one to be planted in the park. A permanent plaque will be installed by your tree with a short dedication of your choosing. Contributions of any amount are much appreciated; donations of less then $100 will provide much-needed, overall support for the tree planting project.

You can donate any amount today, by credit card at our secure online donation site (; if you donate $100 to sponsor a tree you can also create your dedication plaque by filling out the form provided HERE.

Or you can sponsor a tree by check; please make checks payable to Vida Del Norte and write a memo for the tree project. Checks can be dropped off at the Questa Credit Union for Vida del Norte or mailed to: Vida del Norte, ℅ Maria Gonzalez, P.O. Box 1015, Questa NM, 87556.

This fundraiser will remain open and continue to accept donations and tree sponsorships through mid July, 2021. On July 16th there will be a summer tree planting and celebration for July Community Connection Day at the Questa Municipal Park. On this day, the dedication plaques will be placed under the trees for sponsorships of $100 or more.

This is a project of Vida del Norte, LEAP (Localogy), SUCCESS Youth Program (Taos Behavioral Health), Questa Library, Trout Unlimited and the Village of Questa, with support from the LOR Foundation, Questa Economic Development Fund and many volunteers. We thank you!

More info about the tree fundraiser call Laura Vallejos: 575-635-2934
Or online at:

First Community Connection Day was May 21: Questa Farmers Marker and more Park Improvements

May 22, 2021

On May 21st local youth and community members joined together to build on the momentum and progress made at the Questa Park in April. This was the first Community Connection Day, part of a series of intergenerational days of community service and celebration, taking place in and around Questa, May through October, 2021 on the third Friday every month. This consistent coming together, showing up for each other and our community is part of our collaborative creative placemaking efforts.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

-Winston Churchill

Our focus areas for the day were continued care and improvements at the park and preparing the Questa Farmers Market site for its opening day on Sunday, May 30.

At the Questa Park, the new trees planted on April 23 were connected to the drip irrigation system and staked for wind protection, prairie dog holes were filled, mulch was spread, weeds pulled and a picnic table repaired and painted. At the Questa Farmers Market site, the many weeds encouraged by our wet spring were pulled from moist soil by lots of eager hands, readying the garden beds for planting and the site for it’s first patrons of 2021.

“Caring has the gift of making the ordinary special.”

-George R. Bach

Join Vida’s Active8, SUCCESS program (Taos Behavioral Health), Questa Economic Development Fund, Village of Questa, LEAP (Localogy), and community volunteers through out the Summer and Fall on the third Friday of the month; 9 am – 12:30 morning work time, followed by community lunch, with optional after lunch work or play.

Mark your calendars, here’s our Community Connection Day schedule:

June 18 – Questa Park / Downtown Questa
July 16 –  Family Fun Day at Questa Park: Summer Tree Planting and Celebration
August 20 – Eagle Rock Lake
September 17 – Downtown / Questa Farmers Market
October 15 – Questa Park to finish the season

For more information about how to get involved with Community Connection days: or 575-224-9066.

April 23 Reflections + Upcoming Season of “Community Connection Days”

May 19, 2021

On April 23, a group of thirty-seven youth and twenty-nine adults gathered at the Questa Municipal Park and C.A. Cisneros Youth and Family Center to spend the day spring cleaning, planting trees and envisioning the future for the park. It was a wonderful day of beautification work, youth-centered planning for the new skatepark and brainstorming park improvements. 


Spirits were high, new friendships formed and lots of good work was accomplished, despite changeable weather and snow. Many bags of trash were collected, invasive weeds removed, prairie dog holes filled, mulch spread and seven new trees planted in honor of loved ones (see related article). Questa Mayor Mark Gallegos and youth present at the event toured the park grounds to decide on a location for the new skatepark. Youth then brainstormed site improvements together, capturing their ideas on post-it notes to be added to an “existing conditions site map” created for the occasion by Landscape Architect, Scott Sutton.

Another wonderful aspect of the day was the SUCCESS (Students Using Courage Confidence & Emotional Support for Success) pop-up art gallery of works created by youth within the program from both Questa and Taos locations. In Questa, the program’s hub is at the Youth and Family Center, adjacent to the Municipal Park. Artworks explored a variety of introspective themes such as “transparency,” “every piece has a place in the puzzle,” “what success means” and more. 

Organized by LEAP (Localogy), Vida del Norte, Taos Behavioral Health’s SUCCESS program, and the Village of Questa, the event was such a roaring success, that collaborators decided on the spot to convene similar community-focused work days every month throughout the summer and fall. “Community Connection Days” is what the collaborators are calling this new series of intergenerational days of community service and celebration. They will take place in and around Questa, through October, 2021 on the third Friday of every month. The first in the series was held on May 21 at the Questa Municipal Park, with more park planning, improvements and irrigation system upgrades, as well as at the Questa Farmers Market, cleaning up the site for its opening day. The June 18 Community Connection Day will also focus efforts in downtown Questa, 9 AM – 12 noon with work time in the morning and a fun community lunch to follow. We hope you will join us!

Upcoming Community Connection Days
Monthly Intergenerational Day of Service and Celebration

May 21 – Questa Park / Questa Farmers Market
June 18 – Questa Park / Downtown Questa
July 16 –  Family Fun Day at Questa Park: Summer Tree Planting and Celebration
August 20 – Eagle Rock Lake
September 17 – Downtown / Questa Farmers Market
October 15 – Questa Park to finish the season

These Community Connection Days are the direct result of the collaborative synergy that brought about the successful event at the Questa Municipal Park on April 23. That synergy grew out of an informal youth mentorship group initiated by the Vida del Norte coalition at William Borges’ prompting, in the fall of 2020, focused on skill-based mentorship opportunities, youth-centered community building and supporting intergenerational connections.

There is a legacy of youth leadership and vision within Questa and our surrounding communities. The play and exercise equipment and layout at the Questa Park as it exists today, is in large part due to the vision and diligence of the Playground Superheroes Project, a group of eight Questa High School student interns hired through a work-study program in 2013-2014 with Chevron Questa Mine, Community Build and the Questa Economic Development Fund. Youth were involved with the creation and dedication of the Cisneros Questa Youth Center and the design and painting of the mural at the Questa Public Library as well. Youth interns have been part of many village beautification efforts and are helping to shape the physical space and operations of the Questa Farmers market. Youth from Taos Behavioral Health’s SUCCESS program at the Questa Youth Center and Vida del Norte Drug Free Coalition’s Active8 members and are continuing this legacy of youth leadership as core participants in the new Community Connection Days.

At our upcoming Community Days, May 21 and June 18, all youth are invited and adults too! Please come prepared to form new and deepen friendships, and be a visionary creator and steward of our community spaces. Bring a water bottle, hat and sun protection, and if you have them, work gloves and yard cleaning tools; we’ll have extra gloves (donated previously by Questa Lumber and Hardware) and additional tools on hand as well.

Project collaborators include LEAP (Localogy), VIDA del Norte Coalition, Taos Behavioral Health’s SUCCESS youth program, Village of Questa, Trout Unlimited and Questa Economic Development Fund. Funding for the Youth-Led Park Beautification and Planning Event on April 23 was generously provided by the LOR Foundation, Questa Economic Development Fund and individual tree sponsors; additional in-kind support and donation of refreshments and supplies provided by Taos Bakes, Questa Farmers Market and North Central Food Pantry and many volunteers. We thank you and look forward to more, through this summer and fall!

Information about Community Days: emailforleap(at) or by calling 575-224-9066.