What We Do

Our programs

How many young Greta Thunbergs, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez’s, or Vanessa Nakates are there in central New Mexico? How do we find them, train them, and mobilize them as the next generation of leaders and change-makers in the face of the climate crisis?

For over 30 years, Talking Talons Youth Leadership has provided enriching environmental education and leadership programs to New Mexico Youth. Beginning in 2022, Talking Talons is developing a new “Longitudinal Program Model”. The goal is to provide a continuum of support to students who are passionate about addressing climate change, staying engaged with them from 5th grade through 12th grade and connecting them with training, resources, mentorship, and leadership opportunities that will set them up for success and empower them to take action on issues they care about.

The challenges of climate change that we face at all scales of society are urgent, complex and deeply entangled with social issues. The next generation of leaders will need many tools at their disposal in order to approach these challenges in an innovative, strategic and interdisciplinary way. This includes knowledge of science and history, an understanding of politics and activism, skills in technology and media, diverse modes of creative expression and storytelling, leadership and teamwork skills, and an understanding of movement ecology. They will need to think in systems, and to know how to identify the leverage points where they can make a real difference. They will need to know themselves and their community deeply, stand proud in their strengths and talents, understand their weaknesses, and know how to take care of themselves or their comrades when the going gets rough. Through the continuum of Talking Talon’s new program, students will have a chance to grow these skills while learning about a variety of career paths and ways of engaging with socioenvironmental issues.

This Longitudinal Program Model will support the work of our community partners and strengthen our collective ability to tackle the challenges of climate change by mobilizing local youth to become a powerful, innovative and effective generation of leaders and problem solvers.


Current Programs

5th Grade after school program

5th graders at Apache Elementary, San Antonito Elementary and A. Montoya Elementary will get their hands dirty and explore a wide range of topics related to climate change through fun and engaging interdisciplinary activities.

Middle School and High School

Talking Talons is working with partners on our Program Development Committee to research and develop the Middle School and High School leadership programs.


Talking Talons was awarded a 16-month EPA Watershed Stewards award to deliver 30 place-based watershed education field trips. Students learn about the Middle Rio Grande watershed, apply critical thinking and problem solving skills and take action to protect their watershed through on-site community service projects.

Partners include: Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District, Environmental Education New Mexico, Sandia Mountain Natural History Center, New Mexico MESA, Hawks Aloft, KUNM, Friends of Valle De Oro.

workforce development

Talking Talons Youth Leadership participates in the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps program annually. This program provides entry level summer jobs to high schoolers, giving them a head start on their careers in conservation. Crew members also receive life-skill training and mentorship.