Heart of the Gila celebrates the life of Ella Jaz Kirk, a young environmental advocate who died with her high school friends, Michael Mahl and Ella Myers, while conducting aerial research on post-fire conditions in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico.
Heart of the Gila Programs
Education: Heart of the Gila promotes and organizes several annual environmental events in Southwest New Mexico and has integrated classroom activities in local schools.
Trails Partnership:To maintain trails, our program develops partnerships with volunteer organizations, job training programs, veterans groups and other
Stewardship: Our volunteer activities in the Gila Wilderness include trail maintenance, solitude monitoring, invasive species eradication, campground clean-up, and visitor education. Most of our members, staff anAdvocacy
Advocacy: We advocate for a free-flowing Gila River and support the effort to federally designate the Gila as a Wild and Scenic River. We are partners in the Peaceful Gila Skies Coalition that fought back the proposal to train F-16 fighter pilots over the Gila.
Why a Heart? The heart is the river itself, at its source, where it begins and how it flows; like a beating heart nourishing the rest of the Gila landscape- the animals, the plants, and the human communities that depend on it. We also use the heart to represent Ella, Ella, and Michael and their love for the Gila. The heart also represents all of us and our love for the places we live. Being in the "Heart of the Gila" challenges us to give back to this special places and be the heart that keeps our public places protected.