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Zuni Program- Southwest Conservation Corps

About the Solution

Southwest Conservation Corps, a program of Conservation Legacy, identified the need and inevitable impact that AmeriCorps could provide to the Zuni Indian Reservation in western New Mexico. With the passion from a young Zuni Tribal Member, serving as an AmeriCorps member, a strong partnership developed over the past two years that’s lead to serving over 62 native youth who have made great impact to their ancestors land through national service and conservation efforts. As an AmeriCorps member with the Ancestral Lands programs through an individual placement model, Ryan Aguilar served with El Morro National Park, just outside of the Zuni Reservation. During this time, he identified the impact that this environmental work could provide to his Zuni people and generations to come. With Southwest Conservation Corps support after his AmeriCorps term in 2016, Ryan began creating partnerships and awareness to the importance of preservation and conservation with his Tribal Government and other local stakeholders. Through these efforts, the Zuni program has made impact on their land and people through project partnerships with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in providing fencing maintenance; the Zuni Government by assisting local tribal members in preparation for important ceremonial structures; and engaging young tribal membership through volunteer work alongside the AmeriCorps members. The program continues to serve their local tribal membership whom make great impact on the sustainability of the reservation’s land and surrounding resources that tribal members rely on for and well-being and continued culture. AmeriCorps member’s hours have impacted historical ruins through cultural preservation of the El Morro National Monument. They’ve restored the land of Bandeleir National Monument through erosion control; as well as working in the historic orchards within Glen Canyon National Park. Crews have also been able to continue culture preservation in the Petrified Forest, Casa Grande Ruins, Joshua Tree, El Mapais, Canyon del Chelly, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, to name a few. Through the work of Southwest Conservation Corps and the Zuni people, impact to the land has developed sustainable partnerships, funding, employment, and resources to the Zuni Indian Reservation and further growth in service opportunities are anticipated for the future in Veterans Fire Crews, Farm Corps and continued preservation.

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