Calling youth ages 14-19 from New Mexico acequia communities! JOIN “Con Fuerza y Querencia” – the Acequia Culture Youth Leadership Institute!

Learn more about NM acequias and cultural traditions!

Deepen your connection and be a protector of the land and water!

Grow your leadership skills + build your resume + explore your passions and future career paths!

Connect with other young people from across the state!

Be part of building a healthy and just future for your community!

Get PAID to do something awesome!

** The application for 2023 has closed, check back to apply for next year in Feb 2024**

What? 15-20 Acequia Youth Leaders (age 14-19) from across NM will be chosen to participate in a PAID learning and leadership program. We will have guest presenters; field trips and skill building workshops; and youth discussions and projects on topics including:

  • The history, importance and uses of NM Acequias
  • Our connection to the land – acequia farming, ranching and seeds
  • The politics of land and water
  • Social movements to protect our acequias
  • Acequias in the times of climate change
  • Language, oral history and community storytelling
  • Expressing our querencia with art, poetry and music
  • Acequia career and life paths
  • Youth solutions for the future of acequias
  • Community health and healing
  • Land based skills – adobe and wood work, herbal medicine and more!

Youth leaders will earn a stipend for program participation.

Why? New Mexico’s acequias are a unique and important part of our culture and history – and our survival and future. It is essential that the young people of NM acequia communities (you!) learn more about our acequias – and feel empowered to stand up as the next generation of land and water caretakers. This Leadership Institute will provide a space to learn ancestral knowledge, gain new skills, and work with other youth as leaders protecting our acequia waters and communities. It will help you build your resume for college or future careers – and will help you find new passions and life-paths!


– The 2023 program runs from May-November 2023, and includes 8 ONLINE learning sessions (1-2 per month) and 2-4 IN-PERSON field trips/workshops and community engagement opportunities. Youth leaders will also be encouraged to participate in the Annual Congreso de Las Acequias (November or December 2023) and NM State Legislative Session (January 2024). A draft schedule is provided below, and is subject to change.

– During the summer, online sessions will be held on a week day evening from approximately 5:30-7:00 pm (the best day of the week to be determined by participants and families). During the school year, online sessions will be held on Sunday evenings from approximately 5:30-7:00 pm.

– Final plans for in-person field trips/workshops/events will depend on covid-19 conditions, and the needs of participating families! Most field trips/events will be within a one hour driving radius from Española, NM. NMAA will provide group transportation in some cases, and families will be asked to provide their own transportation for other events.

May 2023

Orientation and Welcome Event (in person)


Online Session #1


Online Session #2

June 2023

Online Session #3


Online Session #4


Special Event or Field Trip/Workshop

July 2023

Online Session #5


Online Session #6


Special Event or Field Trip/Workshop

August 2023

Online Session #7

Sept. 2023

Online Session #8


Special Event or Field Trip/Workshop

October 2023

Special Event or Field Trip/Workshop

Nov. 2023

Graduation Celebration

Dec. 2023

Youth participation in the Annual Congreso de Las Acequias (optional)

January 2024

Youth participation in advocacy during the NM State Legislative Session in Santa Fe (optional)


** The application for 2023 has closed, check back to apply for next year in Feb 2024**

Questions? Contact or call – (505) 995-9644

Congratulations to our 2021 & 2022 Program Graduates!


~ Adam DeHerrera, Española

~ Kyrie Salazar, Chamita

~ Joshua Montoya, Cuyamungue

~ Enrique Munoz, Anton Chico

~ Amelia Martinez, Questa

~ Andrea Montoya, Ojo Caliente

~ Maria Romero, Peñasco

~ Hanna Mora, Las Vegas

~ Alejandro Valdez, San Pedro/Española

~ Azuriah Glenn, Las Vegas

~ Joaquin Jaramillo, Santa Fe/Peñasco

~Camilo Torrez, Albuquerque

~ Naomi Mora, Las Vegas

~ Peter Garcia Jr., Cañones

~ Angelyn Atencio, Española

~ Yolotzin Sandoval, Villanueva

~ Alejandro Rodriguez, Chamisal

~ Amara Atencio, Española

~ Kaitlyn Vigil, Mora

~ Adam Jaramillo, Youngsville

~ Daniel Martinez, Medanales

~ Natelie Garcia, Ojo Caliente

~ Roman Padilla, Rio Chama


~ Orlando Pino, Des Montes/Valdez

~ Diego Salazar, Pilar

~ Elaine Mitchell-Gonzales, Placita/Vadito

~ Guadalupe Savannah Gallegos, Villanueva

~ Cruz Martinez, Cordova

~ Michael Lucero II, Dilia

~ Ignacio Gonzales, Chamisal

~ Joseph Salazar, Valle de Atrisco/ABQ

~ Keira Marquez, Shiprock

~ Matejo Heitzman, La Mesilla

~ Maira J. Juarez Martinez, Santa Fe

~ Jonathan Gonzales, Anton Chico

~ Joaquin Romero, Mora

~ Angel Chavez, Valle de Atrisco/Albuquerque

~ Veronica Griego, Mora/Guadalupita

~ Anya Manzanares, Abiquiu