Community Planning Process

Kickoff Matanza: October 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended the kickoff matanza in October. Over 75 people from the Taos community attended this exciting event, which kicked off the master planning process. Participants enjoyed delicious food (including on-site roasted goat and pig), a beautiful setting, and several information gathering activities. The graphic shown at right represents the “web of life” activity, which invited participants to weave colored yarn through different options identifying who they are, what they’d like to see in the park, and what they are willing to contribute. Another activity, called the “wish line” collected ideas about an overall design concept for the site, and a third activity mapped experience of place (quiet place, place to play, etc.) across the property. Check out the results of the activities below!

Land Exploration Event: December 2017

We had a great turnout for the Land Exploration event on December 17th. More than 50 people came together to spend the afternoon, it was a beautiful, calm day on the land. TLT provided an amazing meal of enchiladas, salsa and chips. There was a tree giveaway of Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir and White Fir.

This event focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the land, through activities such as a bird count, a winter plant identification walk and shadow sketching activity. The Amigos Bravos Water Sentinels led a water quality testing on the Rio Fernando, and soil testing around the property with the high school Envirothon students.

In early December, Gordon Tooly plowed the fields using a key line technique, which opens a very narrow line, in which a mixture of grains, grasses and wildflower seeds were planted. These plants will help remediate the soil and compete with the noxious invasive species currently dominating the site. We made seed bombs with the seed mix that participants could take with them.

Tell Us Your Vision – Rio Fernando Park: February 2018

On Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 community members joined us at Bataan Hall to envision the future Rio Fernando Park. Participants engaged in a number of activities including a giant chalkboard, visioning matrix and “idea boat” origami. Special thanks to the PASEO Project for sharing their giant “The Taos We Want” chalkboard, where we learned about the values and vision of the Taos community, and what community members are willing to do to make their vision a reality. The visioning matrix for the Rio Fernando Park invited participants to place their desired activities within a framework of goals for the project, and the results will directly inform the planning process of which activities support the broadest intersections of these goals. We all tried our hand at folding miniature paper boats, writing words to describe our connection to the land and water on the sides. The boats will be ‘released’ on the Rio Fernando Property during the April 29th event to highlight the path of water across the site and represent the launching of this exciting project.

Community Chalk Board Activity:

Educators at Rio Fernando Park: April 13, 2018 

Are you interested in environmental education, site-based learning, or simply getting kids outdoors? Come tell us your vision! The Taos Land Trust is creating the future Rio Fernando Park, and we want your input. 

The Taos Land Trust invites educators, kids and anyone who works with kids to join us. Let us know how this site could server your classroom, your school, and your program. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

  • Tour the future Rio Fernando Park
    3:00 to 5:00 pm 
  • Join a focus group for more in-depth conversation (optional)
    4:15 to 5:30 pm

For more information, or to RSVP email

Nature For Wellness Day: April 29, 2018

The Nature for Wellness Day on Sunday, April 29, 2018 was a fun and education filled day, enjoying beautiful weather, trail planning, and community at the Rio Fernando Park site. Over 100 people attended and enjoyed delicious barbecue, tree giveaways and tabling from the Taos Tree Board, Amigos Bravos, Integrative Medicine de Taos and the Field Institute of Taos. Integrative Medicine de Taos led an educational tour of medicinal plants found at Rio Fernando Park, including information on plant uses, medicinal benefits, and how to cultivate them. Event attendees received maps of the property and were asked to draw their ‘desire lines’ for trails and pathways at the park, which will be considered in the development of the park master plan. Eric Carle’s “The Tiny Seed” could be read along the existing trail as a Story Walk activity. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a ‘dot preference’ activity to help the master planning effort prioritize activities for the future park.

Master Planning & Pop-Up Nature Playground: July 1, 2018

Thank you to everyone who came to the master planning event in July! The master plan design walk, and nature pop up playground were both collaborative activities at the Rio Fernando site. Over 50 people participated. Amy Bell, of Groundwork Studio led a walking tour to discuss and elicit feedback for two design options for the future ecological park. Event attendees received maps of the property and asked questions, made recommendations and imagined elements along the way. We stood in an area called the food forest and imagined fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and found a volunteer asparagus or two. The opportunity to have conversation walks are invaluable to the design of this space.

The amazing Twirl Taos let the nature pop-up playground, which was a hit with the kids. There were straw bale and cardboard forts, rainbow arches, and smaller object to play with and paint. See images below.

Meet The Bees In Your Backyard: August 5, 2018

Join this pollinator event for all ages (including kids) given by Olivia J. Messinger Carril, co-author of Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North American Bees. It’s a fun way to discover the importance of the many types of bees we have in New Mexico. Learn about the pollinators that visit your yard (and Rio Fernando Park) every day.

When: Sunday, August 5th, 2 pm to 5 pm
Where: Taos Land Trust, 410 La Posta Road, Taos, NM 

The event includes:

  • A presentation and overview of fascinating native pollinators
  • A bee walk and collection (bring a net if you have one, some will be provided)
  • Craft time! Making pollinator houses. (If you have straws, coffee cans, cardboard tubes, or bamboo, please bring them.)

Master Planning & Land Art: August 18, 2018

The Rio Fernando Park Master Planning and Land Art Event was held on Saturday, August 18th. It was a beautiful late summer afternoon. Amy Bell, Gillian Joyce and members of the Taos Land Trust led participants on a site walk, describing the proposed use zones in the landscape. Every time the design team and community join in walking the land we discover a deeper way of listening to the place and the needs of the community. Participants had the opportunity to view the updated master plan and vote on their favorite place name (“Rio Fernando Nature Park” is in the lead). Artists Beverly Fisher and Sarah Hart led a nest and serpentine line building activity in the cottonwood copse, using willow, Siberian elm and other twigs and branches that had been pruned and cleared from the agricultural and riparian areas of the site. People of all ages gathered and wove twigs to create three amazing sculptures. These will stay up for the season, so please go find them and add a twig on your next visit to Rio Fernando Park.

Matanza & Presentation of Final Plan: October 2018

GWS presented the final master plan design and recommendations on Saturday, October 6th. Taos Land Trust held the second annual matanza in the fairy forest/elm grove demonstrating that this site will be perfect for future community events. It was a beautiful culmination of a year of planning and community events. There were white tables and chairs with fresh flowers and candles, and white string lights hanging from trees.

Executive director Kristina Ortez spoke about the year and the future of the park. Poet Savannah Rodriguez read a poem about the traditional matanza, a Taos elder Henrietta Gomez gave a blessing on the land and on the feast.

Over 50 people attended and enjoyed the delicious food, the family band Cipriano Vigil and his family played music.

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