Kitty Bensusen volunteers with Taos Land Trust because she wants to “make sure the land is taken care of.” She enjoys her work as a monitor of conservation easement properties at Sunset Park and other areas because it is an opportunity to “walk on land that you otherwise can’t walk on.” Kitty became a volunteer because of her deep interest in ensuring water rights and open spaces are preserved.
After moving to Taos sixteen years ago from New York, Kitty has been painting pastures and exploring the high desert world. She likes to take long walks and thinks it is very important for people to be outdoors. For Kitty, the deserts are the “strongest, most intense landscapes because of the silence and huge skies.” Kitty uses her voice and her paintings to express the fullness of life in the desert to replace the misconception that deserts are wastelands.
Kitty is well informed on Taos history and can talk about different Anasazi pit house sites she has stumbled upon as well as the types of rock in the area. She believes Taos is an entrancing place with its rich geological and cultural history. She reveres cottonwoods as the most incredible trees, and she likes listening to people’s stories in Taos.
The sincerity of Kitty’s love for the land is obvious when looking into her pale blue eyes creased by sun-weathered skin and listening to her kind, knowledgeable voice. She encourages others to enlist as volunteers for the experience to walk hidden lands in the Taos community.
Chris Wells – Volunteer Land Monitor
A self-declared environmentalist, Chris donates her time and money to many organizations at the state and national level that work to protect open land and water rights. After moving to Taos in 1996, Chris has become very familiar with the diverse landscape here in northern New Mexico. She is involved with the Arroyo Seco Acequia system and she hikes in the Taos Ski Valley at least two times a week. She is walking six conservation easement properties this season and has been volunteering with Taos Land Trust for over five years. Chris’s knowledge of wildflowers, appreciation of birds, and desire to know the land allows her to find something interesting on every property. As a volunteer, she explains that she enjoys having the opportunity to travel onto often ignored dirt roads that hold sites of hidden beauty. Believing in the mission of Taos Land Trust, Chris eagerly makes her contribution to the land that keeps her vital heart beating.
Chris’s love for outdoor adventure aligns with her passion for health. Having been a professor of the physiology of exercise at Arizona State University, she published a book called “Healthy Hearts, Healthy Women” and commits herself to live actively aware of her body and the environment it is in. Her favorite hiking locales include Frazier, Gold Hill, and Wheeler Peak.
Chris participates in the body of the earth by being present in her own body and actively engaging with the natural world to help restore its energy and ensure the availability of that energy for future generations.