Applications have CLOSED for 2024 – please check in again February 2025!

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!


A group of Acequia Youth Leaders (age 14-19) from across New Mexico will be chosen to participate in a PAID learning and leadership program. We will have guest presenters, field trips and 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 and community knowledge – adobe and wood work, herbal medicine, local watershed knowledge-building and more!

Youth leaders will earn a stipend for program participation.


New Mexico’s acequias are a unique and important part of our culture and history. They are also a critical part of our communities’ 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!


  • May-November 2024, and includes 8 ONLINE learning sessions (1-2 per month) and 2-4 IN-PERSON field trips/workshops. A draft schedule is provided below, and is subject to change.
    • Youth leaders will be encouraged to participate in the Annual Congreso de Las Acequias (November 2024) and NM State Legislative Session (January 2025). 
  • During the summer online sessions will be held on a weekday evening from approximately 5:30-7:30 pm. During the school year, online sessions will be held on Sunday evenings from approximately 5:30-7:30 pm.
  • We ask that families be prepared to assist in driving youth to 2-4 in person events over the course of the program. Full group gatherings (like orientation and graduation) will likely happen in the Española area, and other field trips will be shaped around the home locations of participating youth and families.  We will do our best to accommodate transport needs and covid-19 risks youth and families may have!
Tentative Calendar

May 2024 – Orientation and Welcome Event (in-person), Online Session #1

June 2024 – Online Sessions #2 and #3, in-person field trip/workshop

July 2024 – Online Sessions #4 and #5, in-person field trip/workshop

August 2024 – Online Session #6

September 2024 – Online Sessions #7 and #8, in-person field trip/workshop

October 2024 – Graduation Celebration! (in-person)

November 2024 – Youth Participation in the NMAA Annual Congreso de las Acequias (optional)

January 2025 – Youth Participation in advocacy during the NM State Legislative Session in Santa Fe (optional)

Applications have CLOSED for 2024 – please check in again February 2025!

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

Congratulations to our 2021-2023 Program Graduates!


Amor Alamirano, Española

MJ Carrillo, Las Vegas

Eliseo Delgado, Española

Thomas DeVargas, La Mesilla

Jacob Flores, Taos Pueblo

Andres Maestas, Abiquiu

Ilyas Marquez, Shiprock

Isaiah Martinez, Chimayo

Emilio Martinez, El Prado

Feliciana Mitchell-Gonzales, Vadito/Placita

Merayla Racicot, Pecos

Joaquin Romero, Albuquerque/Llano de San Juan

Aaron Salinas, Española

Kayla VanLandingham, Albuquerque



~ 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