Dave Foreman Wilderness Defenders Program

What is the Dave Foreman Wilderness Defenders program?

Champion the Wild: Become a Dave Foreman Wilderness Defender
New Mexico Wild launched the Dave Foreman Wilderness Defenders program, named after our beloved co-founder and champion of wild places, to empower YOU to be the eyes and ears on the ground! With your help, we can better protect New Mexico’s wildlands.

Why We Need Wilderness Defenders
With over 36 million acres of public land in New Mexico, vast stretches remain unmonitored. Wilderness Defenders will address this gap by gathering crucial data on the health of these wild areas.

Become a Wilderness Defender
As a Wilderness Defender, you’ll volunteer alongside a passionate community to:

  • Hike and explore designated wilderness areas and Wilderness Study Areas
  • Collect data on wildlife, vegetation, and potential threats.
  • Help us advocate for increased protection for deserving wildlands.

We Welcome Everyone
No prior experience is necessary! We’ll provide training and pair you with projects that match your skills and interests. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or just getting started, there’s a place for you in the Wilderness Defenders program.

Join the Legacy
By becoming a Wilderness Defender, you’ll carry on Dave Foreman’s legacy of wildland conservation. Together, we can ensure that future generations inherit the wild beauty of New Mexico.

Ready to Get Started?
Fill out our quick experience questionnaire and volunteer registration forms, linked below.

  1. Experience Questionnaire
  2. Volunteer Registration Form

We’ll be in touch with you soon about next steps.

Interested in attending a Wilderness Defender Field Training? Check our events page for upcoming training events!

Wilderness Defenders: Please complete a report form after your field outing!


Dave Foreman’s Wild Legacy

“Here, then, is the heart of conservation. Keeping Wilderness and wildlife free, hale, and hearty is about letting beings be, about growing the goodness of self-braking that lets land and living beings have their own will.”
~Dave Foreman, from his essay Wild Things for Their Own Sake

It would be difficult to overstate the contributions Dave Foreman, Co-Founder of New Mexico Wild, made to protecting Wilderness and wild things, and for advancing – years ahead of his time – concepts like rewilding. From his days as a Co-founder of Earth First! to his vocal work preserving sky islands and the development of the rewilding movement, Dave’s legacy as an eco-warrior forged a deep and rugged path through wilderness conservation and activism. Dave was most recently the founder of the Rewilding Institute. His vision was one of a rewilded North America, filled with “many-fold, tangled life not hobbled by Man’s will.” Learn more about Dave’s wild legacy here.

End of Year Reports

At the end of each year we compile a report summarizing all the valuable data our volunteer Wilderness Defenders collected for us over the course of the previous 12 months. This report is a general overview of the wildland areas monitored based on data collected and trip reports submitted by Defenders and will be used to inform our work moving forward.

2023 End of Year Report - Coming Soon!

2022 End of Year Report