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: Mimbres River Adventures, Endangered Species Education & Monarch Butterfly Monitoring, and Gila Natural History Workshops are just some of our most recent programs.
Trails Partnership:To maintain trails, we develop partnerships with volunteer organizations, job training programs, veterans groups and other individuals to clear trails throughout the Gila National Forest.
Stewardship: Our volunteer activities in the Gila Wilderness include trail maintenance, solitude monitoring, invasive species eradication, campground clean-up, and Leave No Trace education.
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 a founding partner in the Peaceful Gila Skies Coalition, that together with a unified community, 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. 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 place and be the heart that keeps our public places protected.