The New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division is awarding $1 million in new Outdoor Equity Fund grants to 30 organizations, school districts and local governments in 12 counties and five tribal communities, ORD Director Karina Armijo announced Tuesday.
The first-of-its-kind Outdoor Equity Fund was created in 2019 to enable all New Mexican youth equitable access to the outdoors. Since Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Outdoor Equity Fund into legislation, the program has granted nearly $5 million to 211 organizations throughout the state. The grant supports programming that provides outdoor experiences that foster stewardship and respect for New Mexico’s land, water and cultural heritage.
“The organizations and communities receiving funding for their youth programs are not only fostering the next generation of outdoor leaders by introducing new experiences but also planting the seed of the possibility of a career in outdoor recreation. These 30 programs actively introduce 6,498 young New Mexicans to the outdoors through day hikes, hunting and tanning, bike rides, ecosystem monitoring, adaptive equine camps, fly fishing, acequia cultural preservation and more,” Acting New Mexico Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Jon Clark said.
For this second round of Outdoor Equity Fund awards, the combined organizations received $1,052,347. Recipients are bringing an additional total match of $722,301.50.
Awardee programs serve 12 counties across New Mexico and five tribal communities, with grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 each.
To date, the state has invested $2,793,846 in the Outdoor Equity Fund awards in 2023 through a combination of state and federal funding, including over $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act money. Funding for the Outdoor Equity Fund for fiscal year 2025 will be provided by the state’s Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, a bipartisan land and water conservation initiative.
“At ORD, we are committed to championing a vision where all New Mexicans have equal access to the transformative power of nature,” Armijo said. “With the announcement of 30 more awardees to the Outdoor Equity Fund and 84 total in this fiscal year alone, we collectively ensure that outdoor experiences become an inclusive and empowering force for all, fostering a diverse community that thrives in the great outdoors.”
The 2023 Round Two (FY24) Outdoor Equity Fund Award Recipients include:
• Adaptive Sports Program New Mexico ($35,550, Sandoval County): Offering an inclusive ski and snowboarding program for public school students with disabilities. Utilizing a wide variety of adaptive equipment and techniques to support the needs of participating students, ASPNM ensures that all youth can experience the thrill of the slopes of Ski Santa Fe. Removing barriers to outdoor recreation and making adaptive skiing and snowboarding accessible to low-income disabled youth in a positive, empowering way is the primary goal of this ASPNM program.
• New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League ($38,950, Sandoval County): In support of the vision to enable every New Mexico student to experience mountain biking, New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League will offer a “Try it Out” program. Partnering with interested communities to introduce mountain biking to youth for the first time, this program brings high-quality mountain bikes, helmets, gear and mountain bike instructors to communities. It also offers scholarships for full-season participation.
• Story Packer Productions ($40,000, Jemez Pueblo, Sandoval County): Story Packer Productions promotes health by connecting indigenous and low-income youth to the outdoors through storytelling, habitat relationship-building, traditional food sovereignty skill building and animal skin tanning. Youth are provided opportunities for mentorship in storytelling to document experiences and program activities by filming events when culturally appropriate. Participants gain more than experience by taking home the food they farm, meat from their hunts, hides they tan, and videos they produce.
• Tamaya Wellness Center Youth Program ($40,000, Santa Ana Pueblo, Sandoval County): The Tamaya Outdoor Adventure Club will provide the youth of Santa Ana Pueblo with opportunities to experience and discover outdoors adventures that may be economically challenging for their family to provide otherwise. The Outdoor Adventure Club will also collaborate with the Santa Ana Department of Natural Resources to provide environmental and climate education.