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532 Elenora St. PO Box 493, Hillsboro, NM 88042
Grant Received County Amount
Outdoor Equity Fund 2023 Sierra County $39,930
Trails+ 2022 Sierra County $91,400
Total Grants Awarded $131,330

Natural Curiosity is a non-profit based in Sierra County, NM dedicated to furthering conservation through education, research, and “edu-tourism”. Our organization was founded in 2021 by Travis and Megan Perry to expand their work in outdoor education, conservation research, and wilderness stewardship at the university level to include programs for the public, New Mexico based college students, and local youth with an emphasis on engaging demographics that are underrepresented in the conservation and outdoor education space. Having witnessed the positive impact hands-on outdoor field experiences have had on students for over 20 years, and recognizing there are many for whom those experiences are out of reach, we founded Natural Curiosity to provide impactful outdoor educational experiences to as many people as possible. Our vision is an inclusive, conservation minded society prepared with knowledge and inspired by nature. Our mission is to advance conservation through research, experiential education, and wilderness stewardship. We are accomplishing this by engaging people with nature and providing them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to work and play in wild places. Since our founding: · we raised $1.4 million to purchase the ghost town of Hermosa and began renovations to save this historic property and create a remote field station. The Hermosa Field Station is located on the East side of the Black Rage, in the Gila National Forest, only 3 miles from the Aldo Leopold Wilderness. It serves as an excellent base for our outdoor education programs, and as a venue for other organizations to utilize. · In November of 2022 we entered into a Master Challenge Cost Share Agreement with the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Gila National Forest to promote public environmental education, wildlife conservation, and wilderness skills and stewardship. As a result of this agreement, in 2023 we secured a $250,000 contract with the Gila National Forest to continue work on Forest Service trails west of Hermosa. · In 2022 we applied for and received a NM ORD Trails+ grant for opening trails west of Hermosa to re-open access to our nearby public lands after recent wildfires in our area. While the Hermosa Field Station is still being renovated, we have hosted a few programs this year. In May we hosted a 3 week “Wilderness May Experience” program through Furman University where 12 college students spent 3 weeks with Hermosa as their base from which to learn wilderness skills like wilderness first aid, horse/mule packing, orienteering, and backpacking. In July we hosted the Cottonwood Gulch Youth Conservation Core at Hermosa. We provided Forest Service Crosscut Sawyer training and certifications for all their participants, which they were able to use on a wilderness trails hitch west of Hermosa. We are currently hosting the Furman University “Wild Semester” at Hermosa. This is a college level semester long program where students spend 3 months based at the Hermosa Field Station taking Field Zoology, Conservation Biology, and Field Ecology. We are still building our organization, but we are off to a great start!