Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge & Conservation Area

The refuge was established in 2012 through the donation of the Wind River Ranch by the Thaw Charitable Trust. The refuge continues the Wind River Ranch’s mission of education and outreach in conservation and restoration. It is home to a unique management and education partnership between the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Denver Zoo, New Mexico Highlands University, and the Pueblo of Pojoaque.

New Mexico Highlands University at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge provides opportunities for students and faculty to learn and teach in the majestic setting of the Mora Valley, in north central New Mexico. Located where the shortgrass prairie transitions to the high mountain landscape of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, Rio Mora NWR is a unique setting for discovering and understanding the natural and cultural processes that have shaped and continue to shape this region.

Our vision is to grow our environmental education and outreach programing at Rio Mora by 25% over the next five years with a continued focus on nurturing the next generations of land

Our students say:

Not only did I learn skills that I use daily in my current position working in water quality and hydrology in my local watersheds, I also made lifelong friendships with the Rio Mora staff. ~ Eliza Montoya


I could never explain how thankful I am to have the opportunity of being an intern at RMNWR. It has allowed me to do what I love which is helping wildlife while also furthering my knowledge in how to do so. Every day that I am at the refuge, I am just completely amazed that I was given this opportunity. ~ Jordan Martinez


The knowledge and experience that I was able to gain from my time spent in these internships would be valuable assets that I would be able to place on my resume in preparation for obtaining a job after graduation. I was hired on as a forester for the US Forest Service not only because of my degree but also because I was able to get the necessary field and technical skills in restoration and GIS mapping. ~ Adrian Sanchez


Rio Mora is invaluable as a research and conservation area for New Mexico as well as to anyone trying to learn more about this type of habitats. The area provides a learning ground for future foresters, biologists, conservationists, ecologists, and other STEM careers in northern New Mexico. ~ Carmen Briones


As someone who is deeply interested in natural resource management, I believe that any work done for the Rio Mora give priceless knowledge and experience. ~ Gabriel Wade

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You can make a difference. Donate online and designate your gift for Rio Mora, or call us at 505-454-3248 to discuss giving options.