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2017 – A Look Back & 2018 – Updates

August 5, 2018

2017 was a great year for LEAP!

We slowed down a bit, as we had hoped, and put more intentional focus on some of the less visible, but very important nuts and bolts that are helping to make LEAP stronger and more sustainable in the long run.

As you may remember, LEAP’s 2017 programming explored “Seeds ~ Semillas.” The theme 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 which included planting 18 trees and shrubs around the Questa Library, Youth Center and Park! As part of the Earth Day celebration, we also launched the ongoing Questa Seed Exchange at the Questa Library. Stop by to donate seeds or pick some up to plant!

One of our goals for LEAP in 2017 was to increase our involvement in positive events and efforts in our community that align with our mission and goals. We found several nice ways to collaborate and build new relationships with other groups and folks in the community.

Check them out HERE.


NeoRio 2017
was a wonderful event!
Over 200 of you came to join us: to experience Kaitlin Bryson’s “Radicle” seed installation, Hollis Moore’s “Pulse Flow” paper mache canoe and Geraint Smith’s beautiful milkweed flags fluttering, for the SEED Sensorium; to listen to moving poetry and wonderful music at the Seed Poetry and Music Salon and to tunes by High Desert Acoustic Duo; and to share in a delicious fall feast made by Gaea McGahee, Wendy Medina and many other local cooks and bakers. Through it all we shared the majesty of the place, the sublime gorge and changing light. Find more details and lots of photos HERE.

LEAP’s 2017 events concluded with our third annual
Dia de los Muertos Community Celebration, another meaningful community gathering. Find details HERE.


Unsung Hero Award: An unexpected and wonderful thing that happened in 2017 was that LEAP director, Claire Coté received the Taos News’ Unsung Hero Award for her education and community work through LEAP.  The article published as part of the award can be found HERE.

LEAP Partnering with Questa Creative Council (QCC)LEAP is pleased to be partnering with the Questa Creative Council, which was founded in the fall of 2017. QCC is like an arts council, but with a broader vision and reach. We will be partnering with QCC to bring you NeoRio this year!More info at

HUGE thank yous to all who contributed time, energy and resources to LEAP’s endeavors in 2017. Gratitude to our volunteers, collaborators, artists, participants, donors, sponsors and grant supporters!

You all made it possible.

Special thanks to Questa Economic Development Fund, Chevron Questa Mine Community Fund, Taos County, BLM Taos Field Office, PPC Solar, Common Fire, North Star Toys, KRZA Radio, Taos News, Cid’s Market, Cerro Vista Farm, and especially our parent organization Localogy, and others. It takes “a village” to make these events and projects happen!

2018  – Updates

New LEAP Team Members
This year we welcome two new LEAP Team Members: artist, designer and multi-talented, Martha Shepp and event planner, sustainable business owner and administrator, Sarah Dzieweczynski. They each bring valuable experience and perspectives to LEAP and the NeoRio coordination committee.Their vision, wisdom and wonderful skills sets are helping to make this year’s NeoRio better than ever! While their focus is on NeoRio, they are also helping to develop administrative systems to help LEAP run more smoothly and become more sustainable. Meet them HERE.

Sisters, Joan and Claire with their little ones

Congratulations are in order! Two new babies were welcomed into families of the LEAP team this winter/spring. LEAP director, Claire Coté and her husband, Chris, welcomed their second daughter, Olivia, into the world in February. LEAP Collaborator Joan Long and her partner Johnny, welcomed their first son, Simon, into the world in April. With LEAP’s spring education team busy as new Mamas, we took a break from spring programming this year. We hope to resume again in 2019.

This year we’re exploring “Roots ~ Raices”
This year’s theme, Roots ~ Raices, “digs deeper” into the botanical strand of recent years – Pollination in 2016 and Seeds ~ Semillas in 2017. Roots are mysterious, complex, often unseen, but also innate and essential. This year’s theme is a little different because it intentionally encourages deep, metaphorical exploration and interpretation, invoking concepts of cultural heritage and place as well as other manifestations to be discovered. We are looking forward to seeing NeoRio artists explore this theme!

Questa Stories ~ Community Memory Project
 is underway!
It’s been a while in coming, but the Questa Stories ~ Community Memory Project has truly begun and we’re excited about it! It’s a collection point and archive for oral histories, stories, conversations, images 
and artifacts of, by and about the communities, peoples and places of North Central New Mexico. Slowly but surely, we’ve been gathering community support for this project and better educating ourselves in “best practices” for gathering, processing and sharing oral histories from people in Questa and the surrounding communities. The project received support from and came more into the public eye through the collaboration with the Questa History and Community trail which kicked off phase 1 of it’s development this summer and sponsored the popular “Gathering Memory: Object, Photo and Story Workshop” in Questa on July 8th. Read about the Questa Stories project HERE

Other Projects in the Works

Irrigation Installation
We are leading the installation of a new irrigation system at the Questa Municipal Park/Library/Youth center to water the trees that we planted there for Earth Day last year. The effort is being paid for by a reimbursement grant from Taos Los Jardineros and support from the Questa Library and Village of Questa.

Junior Ranger Program Field Trips for Alta Vista Students
In October, we are looking forward to working with BLM personnel to offer the opportunity for all Alta Vista students to participate in the new Rio Grande del Norte National Monument Junior Ranger program in tandem with a field trip to Wild Rivers. The new junior ranger program is being released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers and Trails act on Oct. 2. The Golden Apple Wells Fargo grant awarded to Alta Vista, will help support the field trips.
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