Our Team

Building a Dedicated Team of Land Stewards from the Ground Up

While each member of the Taos Land Trust team comes from diverse backgrounds, each shares a love for the land and a sincere commitment to conserving it for future generations to enjoy and explore. Every day, we strive to develop real skills and build new relationships and partnerships that will help us actually accomplish something on the ground. We recognize that we are conserving more than just land in each of our projects. We are protecting our connection to local culture and traditions and preserving a sense of place and relationship for people connected to the land. It is an honor and responsibility to use land trust tools and resources to help preserve the productive and open spaces of our beautiful home for the benefit of a broader community.

Please contact us any time with questions or comments using our email addresses below. Or you can use our general email at info@taoslandtrust.org, or by calling our office at 575.751.3138.

Darien Fernandez – Executive Director

Darien Fernandez is the Executive Director of the Taos Land Trust. He was born and raised in Taos, with roots throughout northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, and has also lived in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the father of three sons. Darien studied political science and English at the University of New Mexico. Darien is an outdoors enthusiast and can be found fly fishing, backcountry skiing, or on a camping adventure any given weekend. His love for the outdoors drives his professional career in the preservation of public lands and the promotion of land use policy that respects cultural traditions. He also serves as a Taos Town Councilmember, and is on the board of the Friends of the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument. 

Email: Darien@taoslandtrust.org










Sarah Schildknecht – Operations Director

Sarah was raised in Southwest Missouri on her family’s small farm. Her love of gardening, animal husbandry and self-sustainability was deeply inspired by her upbringing. Sarah moved to Taos, sight unseen, in 2016 and has spent many years since then with her partner in Carson, reclaiming the once overgrazed land of their property.  At the Taos Land Trust, she utilizes her 20 years of experience in accounting and office management to support daily operations, administration, the working lands program and the youth education programs.

Email: Sarah@taoslandtrust.org


Jim Johnston – Working Lands Director and Rio Fernando Park Manager

Email: Jimj@taoslandtrust.org



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