Talking Talons Youth Leadership

FOSM continues to support the partnership between the Forest Service and Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps (TTYL/YCC) whose goal is building “… a collaborative, cohesive and multi-disciplinary continuum of mentorship and support for local youth who are passionate about tackling climate change and pursuing conservation work, including: job and life skills training; youth development resources; leadership opportunities; climate change education; and social action projects.”


June 2024 – Talking Talons Youth Leadership (TTYL) Members Assist FOSM with Several Projects

Again this summer FOSM members enjoyed mentoring future environment and climate science leaders from the Talking Talons Youth Leadership program. FOSM members Joelle Hertel, Lou Romero, and Sam Beard developed a program that kept the young people engaged in vigorous and educational activities in the forest from June 4 through June 20. FOSM project leaders published detailed reports after the activities.

Bucking, Splitting, and Hauling Donation Firewood

On June 5 and 12, TTYL members helped FOSM’s Wednesday crew buck, split, and haul donation wood previously felled at the top of the ski area and in Sulphur Springs Picnic Area. Photos from these activities are shown below.

June 5 Photos

June 12 Photos

Rerouting Osha Loop Trail

On June 6 and 13, TTYL members helped the trail construction crew build a new trail section connecting the 10K North and Osha Loop Trails.

Other Activities

Sam Beard showing Dwight and Hans how to remove graffiti. Photo credit: Olivia Lopez

On June 4 Joelle had the TTYL crew work on improvements in the Juan Tabo Picnic Area including filling a seemingly bottomless latrine build by the CCC in the 1930s with sand from a nearby arroyo.

On June 11 the TTYL crew helped the FOSM paint and graffiti-removal crew clean graffiti from the stone shelter in the Juan Tabo Picnic Area.


June 2023 – Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps Members assist FOSM with Several Projects

After a one-year hiatus, the Forest Service and Talking Talons Youth Leadership partnership resumed. FOSM was privileged to work with an industrious crew of 7 youth lead by Jared Moyers. Other TTYL members were Kineo Memmer, Assistant Crew Leader, Olivia Lopez, Ella Cook, Levi Gloetzner, Mari Salley, and Robbie Larrison.

Four principles were emphasized in training the TTYL crew members: safety, teamwork, work ethics and leadership. Working with TTYL provided an excellent cross-generational, collaborative experience.

June 14 – Members of the TTYL/YCC crew at the completed gate
June 15 – Splitting wood in Nine-mile Picnic Area

September 24-25, 2021 – Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps Assists FOSM in Graffiti Removal at CCC Water System Canyon

In the 1930s, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) constructed Juan Tabo Picnic Area and included an extensive water system. They constructed a large concrete cistern about 100 feet east of La Luz Trailhead parking lot with buried galvanized pipes connecting it to the water source up the canyon about 1/5 mile. The water source was a dam reservoir located just above an eleven-foot waterfall. The reservoir behind the dam is now filled with silt. Recently the Sandia Ranger District (SRD) found graffiti at two locations in the canyon and requested that FOSM remove them. The TTYL/YCC (Talking Talons) crew worked with FOSM on Friday and Saturday, and their project for these days was removal of this graffiti.

The graffiti removal chemical is applied three times with a waiting period of 3 minutes between the applications to give time for the chemical to dissolve the paint. Frequently, it helps to scrub the wet area with brushes with plastic bristles to improve the removal of the paint. After the paint is dissolved, the chemical and paint mixture is removed by applying water with a brush or the FOSM battery-powered low-pressure washer. Usually, it is not possible to remove all the graffiti; therefore, some color remains on the stone as you will see in the photographs below. A few gallons of the chemical and water were carried by the volunteers from the parking lot to the site of the graffiti.

FOSM members working on this project were Jerry Pekarek and Sam Beard. Talking Talons crew members were Seth Castillo, Rios Fernandez, Orion Francis, Blake Dimon, and Caleb Castillo.


September 22, 2021 – Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps Assists FOSM in Clearing Brush at Capulin Snow Play Area

Talking Talons member
Seth Castillo mowing snow play area

FOSM volunteers and Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps (TTYL/YCC) crew members mowed the Capulin Snow Play Area (SPA) sledding slopes and completed cutting brush in the parking lot traffic island. Manny Chavez, Sandia Ranger District Maintenance Supervisor, hauled the large self-propelled mowing machines to Capulin SPA and taught the TTYL/YCC crew members how to safely operate them. Manny and the crew members mowed the old and new sledding slopes.

The TTYL/YCC crew members were Seth Castillo, Caleb Castilla, Skyler Mund, and Blaze Dimon. FOSM members were Cliff Giles, Sam Beard, Steve Roholt, Jerry Carroll, and Eric Russell.