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Read about Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project Founder, Katherine Wells in the June 21, 2019 article from the Rio Grande Sun.

The seventh entry in “Women of Distinction,” a series of profiles being published weekly about women who make a difference in Northern New Mexico communities, Katherine Wells tells about her passion for protecting the petroglyphs on Mesa Prieta.

Being publicly recognized for her work was a feat Katherine Wells was never supposed to accomplish.

Not because she wasn’t deserving of the honor, but because she originally moved to New Mexico to escape the limelight and the crowd.

Katherine Wells and her dog Shaggy pose for a picture on Mesa Prieta in 1995 (from article). 


Wells received the 2019 National Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division on May 17 at the Meem Auditorium in Santa Fe.

It was just the icing on the cake the founder of the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project deserved to taste after starting the nonprofit organization in 1999 in an effort to preserve what is now estimated to be 100,000 petroglyphs on the Mesa.

“I was very surprised,” Wells said of receiving the award. “I would not have been surprised to get an individual award because other people in the Project have gotten individual awards in the past, but the Lifetime Achievement was a huge surprise. Some people who have won it before me are big heroes, so I’m in great company. I’m astonished, so to say.”

Moving to New Mexico from California in 1992 was supposed to be a lifestyle change to smaller surroundings. Something less crowded and more peaceful, she thought.

But the 188-acre property Wells and her partner, Lloyd Dennis, purchased on Mesa Prieta in 1992 had ideas of its own.  >>READ FULL ARTICLE