The Beautiful Midden is a collaborative arts and activism initiative designed to unite the community of Taos NM in creatively addressing the systemic social issues that underlie habitat and environmental degradation. Working directly with Amigos Bravos ,a state wide organization to protect and restore the waterways of New Mexico, this project functions as an empowerment vehicle for the community of Taos to examine the health, economic, and environmental impacts of intense dumping and shooting practices near water ways and rivers .
The word “midden” is an archeological term that refers to a refuse heap.
The illegal dumping of trash and firing of lead based ammunitions into arroyos, rivers and riparian zones has been a major problem throughout Taos County, New Mexico for many years. One site of intensely concentrated dumping is located at the end of County Road 110 south of Taos, near the confluence of Rio Pueblo de Taos the Rio Grande. Many of the dumped materials are physical hazards potentially leading to entrapment of wildlife in addition to being toxic pollutants. Trash and its correlated toxins end up in the Rio Pueblo de Taos, then in the Rio Grande, and then downstream in reservoirs and irrigation systems, inevitably affecting the health of wildlife as well as our public waters and food sources.