In 2016, the Chama Peak Land Alliance (CPLA) is partnering with the Bureau of Reclamation to recruit the organization’s first VISTA Volunteer. Vista is a national AmeriCorps program focused on poverty reduction in communities throughout the United States. VISTA Volunteers work to increase the organizational capacity of the nonprofits, tribal and local governments in which they work implementing programs that last beyond their term as volunteers. Will Donahoo is our first VISTA and began his service in May 2016. This is the first Bureau of Reclamation VISTA Volunteer in the nation.

Will is a recent University of New Mexico graduate receiving his B.A in Environmental Planning and Design. Through his studies, Will gained grounding in planning, community outreach and natural resource management. An Albuquerque native, Will has worked in Northern New Mexico to engage community resources around improving physical, cultural and natural conditions, and promoting lasting changes. Will has experience working on land and water issues in the southwest and has a passion for ecology.

During his year-long position, Will will promote the resiliency and restoration goals of the region through his on-the-ground presence in Chama, New Mexico working to engage individuals and support the efforts of the Chama Peak Land Alliance and Bureau of Reclamation as a whole.

You may see Will around town attending meetings with entities such as the Soil and Water Conservation District, Village of Chama, NM State Forestry, and Rio Arriba County, reporting on events, and representing Chama Peak Land Alliance and forming partnerships. Additionally, Will’s efforts will help further fire wood programs in Terra Amarilla, upland forest restoration in the Navajo – Blanco region, and prescribed burning throughout the region.

Will is going to take on a significant outreach role as well. He will inform and connect community members with CPLA restoration efforts along with working to organize and recruit volunteers for a number of projects centered around citizen science, youth education, firewood harvesting and local events. Much of his time will be spent one-on-one with individuals explaining CPLA efforts, answering questions and providing assistance.

He will also be working to secure funding through grant applications and will search for additional training and funding avenues for both CPLA and the community during his tenure. Will is going to work to visually document the efforts of CPLA through photography and the creation of videos and will help design related newsletters and documentation.


Will Donahoo, CPLA-BOR VISTA Volunteer