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PO Box 458, Gila, NM 88038
Grant Received County Amount
Outdoor Equity Fund 2023 Grant County $33,680
Total Grants Awarded $33,680

Earth Ways is a community-based program using Nature Connection Mentoring to help local youth make meaningful connections with nature, self, and others. Through outdoor day programs and teen overnights and backpacking trips, participants learn earth-based skills and crafts, play nature awareness games, and find new ways to connect with their human and non-human communities. These activities educate participants in climate change and environmental stewardship and promote deep nature connection, self-confidence, community connectedness, and the development of well-rounded, resilient human beings. Since 2010, Earth Ways has served over 500 young people in Grant County, enriching our community through our unique brand of Nature Connection Mentoring. We have provided programming to Aldo Leopold Charter School, Guadalupe Montessori School, Sierra Community Counseling Center, Heart of the Gila, the Upper Gila Watershed Association, a number of local elementary schools in the county, local homeschool groups, and to the community at large. We integrate nature connection and ecological education with other activities such as music, storytelling, natural crafts, and socio-emotional skills that serve to enrich young peoples lives and help them make deeper and more dynamic connections with their communities. Earth Ways was founded and is led by Andrew Dahl-Bredine, a local nature enthusiast, musician, and social worker who grew up in Grant County and lives in the Gila Valley with his family. Over the years, Dahl-Bredine has attended multiple trainings in leading outdoor groups for teens and kids, including Tracking in the Southwest, Art of Mentoring, Restoring Rites of Passage Leadership Training, and The Council for Boys and Young Men Facilitator Training. In addition, he holds a masters degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently working with people in Grant County suffering from trauma and addiction. He is a lifelong Grant County resident, and is fluent in Spanish. In 2022, Dahl-Bredine, Dana Baskett, and Gabriel Feldman came together to turn Earth Ways into a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization in order to better reach more members of the Grant County community. Jess Demoss is our other lead instructor. He has worked with teens in the wilderness therapy field with the Anasazi Foundation in Arizona, and with Earth Ways as a youth mentor for many years in Grant County. His great sense of humor and excellent bird knowledge are very popular with young people. He is passionate about wild foods and healthy, sustainable food in general. He has extensive training and experience with animal tracking, and is a Level III Track and Sign Specialist. He lives in Silver City, NM with his wife and two children.