VISTA Service Opportunity Listing

VISTA Member Assignment as Volunteer Program Builder for Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District 


The VISTA member will build a volunteer network trained in climate-resilient agriculture, climate-disaster mitigation, and post-fire restoration to increase District capacity and community engagement. New volunteers and future interns will gain technical skills and experience leading to jobs in resilient and sustainable agriculture and in climate-disaster mitigation and restoration, helping lift participants out of generational poverty.

Program Overview:

The Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) serves four counties and two Native American Pueblos within 1.4 million acres surrounding the Middle Rio Grande and Rio Puerco. Located in Belen, New Mexico, the District is committed to natural resource conservation through environmental education, technical assistance, and investment for a quality environment. The 2022 New Mexico wildfires devastated two of the District’s three conservation areas, prompting a federal disaster declaration. The District is dedicated to long-term recovery that promotes economic prosperity and environmental stewardship.

Key Responsibilities of the Volunteer Program Builder in developing, implementing, and sustaining a new volunteer network:

  1. Research best practices, develop recruitment plan, and incorporate sustainability methods for volunteer network implementation.
  2.  Grow partnerships with community members, civic groups, and government institutions within communities and Pueblos in the District to increase their engagement with the volunteer network and provide a pipeline for recruitment to promote sustainability.
  3. Research climate-adapted vegetation for restoration, climate-resilient agriculture, and climate-disaster mitigation and identify grants and in-kind contributions that will support this work.
  1. Write grant applications and build communication strategies to sustain engagement of volunteers, public and private institutions, and funders.


  • Strong communication skills and familiarity with natural resources.
  • Comfortable with networking and public interaction.
  • Background in environmental education, agriculture, biology, fire science, wildlife management, technical writing, or related fields is encouraged.  A college degree is preferred.
  • Outgoing personality, creative problem solver, and team player.

Learning Opportunities:

  • Learn about the habitat of the MRG bosque, predicted climate futures for New Mexico, and conservation practices.
  • Gain knowledge in climate-adapted and soil and water-conserving agriculture.
  • Contribute to economic drivers for sustainable agriculture, community resiliency, outdoor recreation, and ecotourism.

Project Period:

August 2024—August 2025


Whitfield Conservation Area Complex and community gardens

Focus Areas:

  • Capacity Building
  • Sustainable Solutions
  • Community Empowerment
  • Alleviation of Poverty

How to Apply:

If you are passionate about environmental conservation and community engagement, we encourage you to apply for this exciting opportunity. For more information and to apply, please visit AmeriCorps directly.  For specific questions, please contact [email protected].