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ZUNI, NM (July 10, 2024) — This year, the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project and its partners are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Pueblo of Zuni’s extensive community trail system. The trails host popular programs such as Running Medicine, which recently concluded its 10th season, and the Trail Stickers Scavenger Hunt, which runs throughout the summer months.

Together with Running Medicine Zuni Pueblo and the Native Health Initiative, the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project kicked off Running Medicine Zuni on May 13 with 70 registered participants. The group met at 6-7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays to run and walk the trails, concluding the seven-week season on June 26.

Running Medicine is an inclusive program, designed to meet everyone’s current fitness and ability levels. Based on the understanding that running and exercise is a powerful medicine for mind, body and spirit, it is also seeks to create a “culture of wellness through a supportive, loving community.”

According to Tara Wolfe, ZYEP’s program manager, this was Running Medicine’s largest season to date. This year, the program collaborated with the Zuni Veterans Program for the last four weeks, with the goal of engaging Zuni’s veteran population and encouraging physical fitness and overall health.

“This season’s age range was 76 years old down to 3 years old, with some much younger children and infants being carried,” Wolfe reports. “The program brought several generations together!”

Additional special activities included the Zuni Pride walk on June 1, a closing celebration with a healthy potluck meal at the base of sacred Dowa Yalanne mountain on June 26, and a $20 shoe sale on June 29. Jessica Begay, Running Medicine’s program manager, brought the sale to Zuni to improve access to high-quality footwear.

“When considering Running Medicine Zuni, I like the way Zuni prioritizes the community and values indigenous culture and movement,” Begay said. “Their love for the community and culture drives them to continuously support and uplift Running Medicine Zuni.

“NHI is dedicated to promoting health equity through various health and wellness initiatives, regardless of factors such as race, ethnicity, age and socioeconomic status, by making programs as affordable as possible,” she continued. “(This ensures) accessibility to indigenous communities that are eager to incorporate new elements into their lives and enhance physical activity. Running Medicine loves Zuni!”

Zuni community members and visitors also can enjoy the trail system through the 4th Annual Trail Stickers Scavenger Hunt, which is supported by the New Mexico Department of Health and the state’s Outdoor Recreation Division’s Outdoor Equity grant. On each of nine marked community trails, walkers, hikers, bikers and trail runners will find a box containing limited-edition stickers that showcase custom artwork inspired by that particular trail.

“This year, I included a 10th bonus box that is traditional geocaching by simply giving out coordinates for it,” said Josh Kudrna, ZYEP’s operations manager. “Trail users won’t have anything else to help find it.

“Each box starts with a few dozen stickers in it, and we check on them periodically,” he continued. “We want to make sure the boxes are all still in place, and if a box is running low, we can add more stickers.”

Scavenger-hunt participants must reach out to ZYEP to receive the specific instructions for finding the boxes, but there is no formal registration process or tracking system. Each box does, however, contain booklets so trail users can leave notes, drawings and other feedback.

“From the notes already in some of the booklets, I can see there is a growing base of families who look forward to finding the stickers each summer, and they make a big challenge out of it,” Kudrna said. “People tend to be pretty consistent about signing the booklets and even leaving small notes that share their progress. My favorites are the notes sharing that they appreciate the encouragement to get outside and get moving.”

ZYEP started the trail stickers project in summer 2021. The cross-country league had access first, followed by Running Medicine Zuni. In 2022, the youth project opened up the scavenger hunt to the general public.

Shelley Edaakie, ZYEP’s office coordinator, created artwork for the first generation of stickers in 2021. Elroy Natachu Jr., arts coordinator, created the sticker artwork in 2022. Zuni artist Alexis Hustito tackled the project in 2023, and this year, Zuni artist Victoria Martza created the designs.

“It has been very exciting to be part of this,” said Martza, 20. “It’s cool that people will have a thing that I made. (And) it’s great that we can enjoy our beautiful land this way, and share it with others. I want people to know that, here in Zuni, we are rich in our land and our culture.”

ZYEP and the Zuni Health & Wellness Coalition collaborated to establish the community trail system in 2014. The network now comprises more than 60 miles of trails, with 11 distinct routes connecting to most residential neighborhoods and providing access to thousands of pueblo residents.

Zuni brothers Mikey and Ritchie Owaleon created the artwork for the trail signs and posts using wood-burning techniques and incorporating Zuni colors, designs and language. To view an online trail map, visit

To receive instructions for finding the 2024 trail stickers, simply send an email to or pick up a handout in person at ZYEP’s Ho’n A:wan Park at 13 Chimoni Drive in Zuni. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months.

To learn more about the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project and its programs, and for information about making donations, partnering with ZYEP, and volunteering, call (505) 782-8000 or visit And, to stay up to date on the latest news and events, follow the nonprofit youth organization on Facebook (/zuniyouthenrichmentproject), Instagram (@zuniyouthenrichmentproject), YouTube (/ZuniYouth), and TikTok (/zyep09)

Founded in 2009, the nonprofit Zuni Youth Enrichment Project is dedicated to promoting resilience among Zuni youth so they will grow into strong, healthy adults who are connected with Zuni traditions. ZYEP fulfills its mission by providing positive role models, enriching programs, and nurturing spaces that contribute to the healthy development of Zuni youth. ZYEP strives to provide every child with the encouragement and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.