TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – A conservation group hopes to plant new life into Taos with the help of a $ 1 million federal grant. “We’re seeing the effects of climate change in our communities every day with trees that are being stressed,” says Darien Fernandez, Conservation Program Director for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.    

Forests all over the country are seeing fewer trees due to warmer temperatures and one New Mexico town is no different. A conservation group in Taos is now looking to bring back the number of native trees in their forests with a new federal grant. Last month, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps was awarded a $1 million grant by the USDA’s Urban Forestry Initiative to help keep Taos green. 

“The goal is to help bring back the urban tree canopy whether it’s through project work, tree maintenance, tree planting, just everything that goes into providing more cover,” says Fernandez. 

The Rocky Mountain Youth Corps says more than $250 million were awarded to different organizations across the country. The $1 million will be given over a five-year period. 

They say that they plan to use the money for multiple projects including starting an urban forestry program, an arborist training program, and a tree nursery. They say the funding will also help them prepare the next generation of foresters and arborists by teaching youth how to care for their forests. 

“To engage young people, to provide these critical life skills, these critical trainings and helping them find pathways to employment but also continuing to address these high priority community projects that are in our backyard,” says Ben Thomas, Executive Director for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. 

The group says they’re currently looking for new recruits on their website