What We Teach » Land-Based Healing & Learning

Land-Based Healing & Learning

Mission: Strengthening our kinship with lands and waters to support the community in reclaiming our identity as beings who are integral to the ecology. We work to provide  exposure and awareness to indigenous ways of knowing, allow space for application, and then support creation and design.

Localize: We aim to immerse ourselves in local environments, landscapes, cultures, languages, heritages, histories, teachings, practices, sacred sites, ecologies, stories, literatures, experiences, etc. 

Decolonize: We strive to prepare our students to enter institutes centered around western ways-of-knowing with a critical lens and strong sense of identity 

Indigenize: We walk with students as they rebuild their relationships with the land and local community in ways that restore indigenous ways of knowing.

Keeper Programs: We provide a variety of  programming that support multiple interests. Students and staff can choose to participate in medicine, food, water, mountain, and/ or story keepers.  

Knowledge Keepers: We work with regional experts to offer insight, local expertise, traditional ecological knowledge and/or skill sets in terms of local history, cultural practices, economy, ecology, science, etc. These experts work in collaboration with educators and NACA staff to augment localized, decolonized and indigenized curriculum. Please fill out this FORM if you are interested in becoming a knowledge keeper. 

Grounding Sites:  We partner with community based organizations who have access to land around our school. Educators and students return to these grounding sites multiple times over the course of their education to develop seasonal relationships with land, water, plants, animals, etc. Please contact us if you have suggestions for appropriate grounding sites or if you would like to learn more about these sites. 


LBHL Programming


We are piloting our first summer camp with plans to expand next year. Our land based healing and learning summer camp is designed for students entering 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. This unique camp offers a blend of educational and recreational activities that connect children with nature, cultivate mindfulness, and foster creativity. Over the course of the summer, campers will engage in hands-on experiences in our garden, participate in creative projects, and enjoy enriching nature walks and field trips.

Children looking at a porcupine in the tree

Elementary School 

The land based healing and learning department supports elementary school teachers with a  land based  science program which includes garden lessons and field trips for grades K to 5th. Our elementary liaison will work closely with teachers and the rest of our team to align elementary experiences and learning with the overall NACA graduate profile, thereby creating a thread of vertical alignment within the LBHL programming.

Children writing in journals at a farm in front of the mountains

Middle School 

The land based healing and learning team works with a range of partners and grounding sites to create rich learning experiences for students and staff. The experiential education field trip program, in alignment with developing graduate profiles, aims to enhance the learning experiences of students in grades 6-8 by providing quarterly outings that connect them with a diverse range of community partners and places. These outings will offer hands-on learning opportunities, foster community engagement, and enrich the curriculum by immersing students in real-world contexts.

Children resting on a hike

High School

The land based healing and learning team is working closely with the high school students, teachers, families and community partners to develop a series of land based college and career tracks, aligned with the developing NACA graduate profile. This  will be a land-based experiential education program designed to immerse high school students in hands-on learning experiences centered around college and career tracks related to water, food, ecology (medicine), mountain restoration,  land management, and landscape architecture. Land fam is working with college and career partners to develop and foster learning relationships between students and community experts. Through a combination of outdoor expeditions, community fieldwork, and mentorship, students will gain practical skills, knowledge, and insights into these critical areas while fostering a deep connection with the environment and community.

Children working in a garden

Land Fam
Woman smilingHatso, My name is Alice Tsoodle and I come from the Kiowa and Cherokee people of Oklahoma and English/ Irish settlers. I grew up in New Mexico and Oklahoma and started my family there, eventually moving to Colorado. I began my academic career at the University of Colorado Boulder, studying Environmental Sciences. I transferred into University of Washington Bothell as a senior and achieved a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies while raising three babies. From there I went on to Islandwood, earning a certificate in Education for Environment and Community. I finished my Masters in Education degree at University of Washington Seattle, studying Curriculum and Instruction and earning a certificates in Restoration Ecology and Permaculture. Throughout college, I contracted in various urban indigenous communities, working with children to reclaim their relationships with their identity in collaboration with the local land and waters. Some of these organizations include; Red Eagle Soaring, Na’Ah Illahee Fund, and Sealaska. I worked in non-profit outdoor Environmental Education, then worked as a lab assistant and program manager for Dr. Megan Bang in Learning Sciences. I came to NACA during the pandemic as a middle school science teacher. From there I started working with the land based healing and learning team, first working to build structure around the already amazing work happening. I am proud to be part of this school and continue to learn from the children and community around me. Aho

Young woman sitting in a field in front of mountainMy name is Victoria (Viktoryia) Martine. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am half Navajo and half Pueblo: Laguna, Zuni, and Santa Domino. I’ve been a student at NACA since I was in the 6th grade and graduated in 2018. I have an Associate’s Degree in Integrated Studies of Applied Science from Central of New Mexico Community College (CNM) and a Bachelors in Landscape Architecture with a Minor in Sustainability. I love the outdoors, playing soccer, cooking, crocheting and doing art. I have three siblings who all graduated in 2024. I have a dog whose name is Meelo. He is a Chiweenie who has a ton of energy but loves snuggling next to you.

I decided to come back to NACA in 2020 where I helped start the NACA Elementary Garden and started in OST leading the Garden Warriors and Art Club online. I then left for a Landscape architecture internship called MRWM Pland Collaborative. I then found out that it wasn’t for me and thought about a time when I was actually happy to work without being at a desk all day long. I’m not saying I didn’t love the work because I still do think like a landscape architect and I am going to have my bachelors in Landscape Architecture in December 2023, however, I am a person who needs to move around and still be creative. I really love working with all the students and combining land based healing and learning in the classrooms. I wish I had this opportunity when I was at NACA. I'm very grateful to be part of a new era here at NACA and can’t wait to see where this new path takes me. 

Woman smilingHan mitakuyapi. Cante was’te nape ciyuzapi ye. Hello everyone, my name is Maya Kwon. I am Dakota from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and was born and raised on the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota. My family roots entwine multiple cultures and backgrounds as my maternal grandparents are Mexican and Irish and my paternal grandparents are Dakota and Paiute. I attended Tiospa Zina Tribal School starting from Kindergarten all the way through graduating from high school. I hold that experience very close to my heart as it was there my love for Indigenous education blossomed. My passion for education and tribal nations led me to the University of New Mexico to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to earn a Masters in Tribal Administration and Governance (MTAG). I have worked for my tribal government, the federal government, and most recently for a local accounting firm. Throughout my career I have always found myself working with budgets, grants, and numbers. I come to NACA eager to learn more about Land-Based Healing and Learning and to offer my skills to the school and local community. Outside of work I love to sing, visit the library, stay active with yoga and running, explore Albuquerque, and spend quality time with my family and friends. In addition to being a doting mother and wife I consider myself to be a loving dog mom and hummingbird caretaker.