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Conservation project has Dec. 9 luminaria event, public lands celebration


Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project (NTCP) and more than a half-dozen local partners are sponsoring

“Iluminando las Montañas,” 4:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at Dripping Springs Natural Area, 15000 Dripping Springs Road, 10 miles east of Las Cruces.

NTCP is hosting the free event with New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Ngage New Mexico, Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, La Semilla Food Center, Frontera Land Alliance, NM CAFé and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, NTCP said in a news release.

Iluminando las Montañas is a celebration centered on bringing the community of Las Cruces

together in recognition of the holiday season and the public lands we call home,” the news release said. “The practice of lighting homes, paths and places of importance with luminarias is a deeply rooted tradition in New Mexico dating back more than 300 years.”

The event will include luminaria making for the whole family, with materials provided, NTCP said. There will also be a blessing and land acknowledgment led by Diego Medina of the Piro-Manso-Tiwa Tribe, as well as conservation-themed lotería games and prizes. Juniper trees at the Dripping Springs Visitor Center will be lit up “to ring in the holidays,” and “there will be plenty of food and drinks to keep us warm.”

NTCP was created in 2017 by a group of Latinx/Latine/Hispanic conservation advocates to provide communities of color with sustainable opportunities for community engagement, access and education around public lands and waters in New Mexico and beyond, the news release said.

For more information, contact Nuestra Tierra New Mexico Program Manager Kacey Hovden at kacey@nuestra-tierra.org.

Visit www.nuestra-tierra.org and www.blm.gov/visit/dripping-springs-natural-area.