Living River

A new book takes a person-centric approach to Rio Grande conservation

Nature-lovers are familiar with the classic, conservationist coffee-table book: Usually, it's full of Aldo Leopold quotes and scenic, if sometimes static, photos of mountains and rivers and meadows full of [insert endangered mammal here].

Rio Grande del Norte: One Hundred New Mexicans Speak for a Legacy has some of those images, but they’re not the focus. Instead, this tome examines the people who both drive and justify conservation efforts, specifically on the northern Rio Grande.

"What struck me…is really the love of the land, across races and ages and professions," Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, who photographed many of the book's subjects, tells SFR. The book, which will be released (and available for purchase) in an event this Saturday, has a goal of encouraging some type of permanent protection for the northern Rio Grande.

"It's a complementary mechanism to policy, wanting to really elevate the issue in a very personal, tangible way," Nanasi explains. "People have this deep connection…so I thought, 'I'm going to try to capture that and use that as a way to advocate for policy that makes sense for the people here.'"

US Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Tesuque Pueblo Lieutenant Gov. Louie Hena, former Española Mayor Joe Maestas and Corrine Sanchez, the executive director of TEWA Women United, will be on hand to present the book at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary. (If you go, Nanasi says, park at the Rio Grande School and take a shuttle to the Audubon Center, which has limited parking.)

Book release: Rio Grande del Norte: One Hundred New Mexicans Speak for a Legacy
4:30 pm Saturday, July 14
Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary
1800 Canyon Road, 983-4609
Parking: Rio Grande School, 715 Camino Cabra

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