At-Risk Youth Find a Passion for the Forest


Youth Crew Finds Passion for Forestry and Fire.

Wildfire Network has been included in a grant awarded to Santa Fe Youthworks from the city of Santa Fe, to engage youth in forest and fire related endeavors.

It has since kicked off with 5 at-risk youth forming a crew and taking part in training for various aspects of forestry and fire. These ongoing trainings include topics such as: homeowner wildland fire assessments, ecological monitoring, tree species, diseases and insects, chainsaw operation, safety and maintenance, basic wildland firefighting, basic fire behavior and ecology and erosion control techniques. 

The youth crew is also working on private land thinning projects, learning to work with homeowners, and learning how hard work, a sound work ethic and discipline can shape their future for the better. The dedication and passion that has evolved in the youth over a relatively short period of time is significant and inspiring.

Wildlife Network: Gritty, new program with focus

Being a new, and extremely small non-profit, Wildfire Network feeds off this crew's determination to make this work, and operates on a shoestring budget and sheer stubbornness. Wildlife Network is a bit gritty and has a tendency to not follow the crowd, with a focus on improving lives, New Mexico's economy and supporting wildland urban interface communities prepare themselves for fire.

The goal of Wildlife Network is to become self-sustaining through private contracts, taking a whole-environment and landowner education approach to fire mitigation, and also to become a sort of introductory boot-camp type program to launch youth into positions with local fire and land agencies and private contractors, or propel them into more education.

Participating youth deserve a shot at one of the best job environments in the world, they deserve the self-confidence and pride that comes from doing a hard, dirty job well, and they deserve to know that their work and dedication will pay off for the environment long into the future. Wildfire Network is determined to make that a reality.

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