Cover Art for Colorado Central Magazine

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About the painting: This oil painting depicts fall cottonwoods on the historic Garcia Ranch. Reyes Garcia is now the steward of this ranch and allowed me to take a walk and paint this beautiful piece of property. As a retired professor of philosophy, environmental and indigenous studies, Reyes is deeply attuned to the legacy of his family’s land and the way of life it has provided for generations. With the Garcia family having originally settled in Conejos County in the 1850’s, he has a long history rooted in the special area between the Conejos and San Antonio Rivers in the southern part of the San Luis Valley.

Conserving the land and water is a way “to make my own small contribution to preserving the family legacy of ranching and the land-based culture of the ranchero tradition,” Garcia writes. “… I came to understand this tradition includes putting into practice ecological values by virtue of an instinctual love of the land that engenders good stewardship and a deep respect for all life forms, the seasonal rotation of livestock and their humane treatment, the acequia irrigation system especially, the transmission of skills which make self-reliance possible…”

in 2013, the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust worked with Reyes to complete a voluntary conservation easement on the spectacular Garcia Ranch, to insure that this working ranch will remain intact with its senior water rights in perpetuity. Learn more about RiGHT’s ongoing conservation work and the ranch at www.riograndelandtrust.org

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