There are many environmental education programs and learning opportunities in New Mexico from field trips to guest teachers, school gardens, open spaces, state parks, citizen science and partnerships with museums.
This locally made, hour long documentary tells the story of scientists and citizens working together to resist the oil and gas lobby’s ongoing efforts to pass a fracking-friendly ordinance in Sandoval County, NM. It details the risks posed by fracking to the entire middle Rio Grande aquifer. Ideal for middle and high school students. This documentary is interdisciplinary and could be shown in science, social studies, and civics classes. Free streaming of the documentary
NYTimes lesson plan on Fracking: This is a 7-12 grade lesson plan that can complement Sacred Land Sacred Water documentary. In this lesson students will learn about hydrofracking, identify how the demand for natural gas is changing, then research and map how natural gas development may impact community. The lesson includes videos, background vocabulary, discussion and reading. It is set up so teams of students to can work on different parts of the research and present to the class.
This is a PBS lesson plan for grades 7-12 that explores how climate change is affecting New Mexicans’ access to clean water. The video looks at how rural communities are particularly impacted and how people do not have the resources to continue to dig deeper wells. The demands of agriculture on the water supply is also brought up. The site includes many links for students to explore water issues in the southwest.
In Faces of Chaco, by San Juan Citizens Alliance you are introduced to the incredible people of Greater Chaco and their fight for their home and community. Perfect for students to learn how the oil and gas industry poses health risks and damages to cultural heritage. Local people are speaking out in defense of their home. This project is their story. A mixture of documentary and portrait photography paints a picture of how their home has changed, where they find the inspiration to push forward despite the odds, and how the rest of us can help them fight for a better future for their children.
Our Land has weekly episodes on climate issues in New Mexico. There are interviews with leading climate scientists, Rio Grande Water issues, and community gardens. All shows are archived.
How much hotter is your hometown? is an excellent interactive graphic that tracks how much hotter the planet has been getting recently. It really hits home, because students can search for their own hometown and see how even in their lifetime big changes have taken place. Perfect for 3rd graders and up.
BEMP is a high quality educational program that offers:
Classroom Education Activities: A BEMP teacher will come to your classroom to teach students more about the botany, entomology, social history, hydrology and/or wildlife of the Middle Rio Grande valley and bosque.
Field Trips to the bosque: During the trip students will collect data for a long term phenology (seasonal change) study that contributes to a national scientific database through Nature’s Notebook. LIMIT: 30 students. BEMP has limited funding for transportation – please let them know if you require financial assistance for buses when scheduling.
Stormwater Science: This in-classroom and field curriculum teaches that the health of the Rio Grande is directly tied to the health of the surrounding watershed and arroyos. By helping students understand that runoff comes from all over the city, they see how they can individually make a difference to improve the condition of our beloved river.
BEMP Congress: Every year BEMP holds two Student Congresses during the last week of April, bringing together the students who have been collecting data as citizen scientists throughout the school year. Students bring their research, stories, and artwork to share with each other while they learn and celebrate New Mexico’s waterways.
Stormwater is a leading source of pollution in the Rio Grande. The pollution is largely human-caused! The Stormwater Team was formed in 2004 to educate individuals and businesses on how to reduce pollution by keeping trash and other pollution out of our system. We are dedicated to educating children, adults and businesses on how they can reduce stormwater pollution to keep our river clean. Learn more about our projects, such as the “Scoop the Poop” campaign. They also have an Interactive Stormwater Map for students to explore.
Located in the bosque, the Rio Grande Nature Center offers field trips , learning activities, and events for families. They park has interpretive nature trails, a hands- on Discovery Room, library, an outdoor classroom, garden and a Discovery pond where students can sample aquatic life under the microscope. The offer weekend bird walks and storytime hour. There are activities for the whole family to experience 270 acres of woods, meadows and farmland flourishing with native grasses, wildflowers,
willows and cottonwoods.
Albuquerque has of 29,00 acres of open space. The Open Space Visitor Center includes rotating exhibits, a hands-on Discovery room, art gallery and agricultural fields that draw a variety of wildlife and stunning views of the Sandia Mountains. They offer Bosque guided nature walks and special concerts and events.
For New Mexico 4th-6th grade teachers, River X Change will coordinate four guest speakers into the classroom plus one field trip (including bus transportation) to the local river, tributary or riparian area. Classes partner with “high tech pen pals” in other states to share what they are learning.
New Mexico Water Collaborative is involved in community watershed restoration projects, plans events and offers environmental education. Eco-Camps for children 6-8 and 9-12 in the summer
The Albuquerque Bernalillo Water Authority offers high quality educational programs, field trips and teacher resources.
For Elementary Classrooms:
- Free, hands on water presentations for grades K – 5. Standards accompany the activities.
- RIO (River Is Ours) Field Trip – This free Field Trip is free for all APS fourth grade classes. Schools outside of APS can schedule a Field Trip, but you would have to provide your own transportation.
- Puppet shows for students in grades K – 2 – Standards accompany the show.
- Tours of our Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant – This 2-hour tour is for students in grade 4 and up. Click here to schedule. Questions? Call Erin Keck at 289-3027, or email email@example.com
- A virtual tour of the Water System. Each stop includes an activity or questions for your students. Use our project-based learning strategy to help students put it all together and “show off” what they have learned.
For Secondary Classrooms:
- Free, hands on water presentations for science students in grades 6 – 12. Standards accompany the activities.
- Tours of our Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant for secondary students.
- Virtual tour of the Water System – Each stop on this web diagram includes an activity or questions for students. Use our project-based learning strategy to help students put it all together in a public service announcement for our website.
This site offers curriculum focused on New Mexico Wildlife and wildlife management and their connections to many academic content areas. The majority of curriculum targets upper elementary and middle school grade levels. There are a few lessons (Gone Fishing, Desert Bighorn, Rocky Mountain Bighorn) that are adaptable for grades 6-12. All lessons are correlated to the Common Core State Standards and current New Mexico Public Education Department Science Standards.
The most drastic consequences of climate change in the desert southwest is the reduction of our water. That’s why this resource kit topic is important. Traditional life here has revolved around the use and care of our precious water supply, which is the topic of this kit.
“El Agua es Vida, Acequias in New Mexico” Loan Kit with teachers guide is designed for students in grades 3-8 with modifications possible. These units cover New Mexico history and culture, geography, science, creative writing and more. The kit includes the story The Mother Ditch, by Oliver LaFarge, an historical account of an acequia community, a flash drive with historical photos and music and four lessons:
- Living on a drop of water
- Be a Mayordomo/a
- Luck of the Draw game
- A River of words
CESOSS mission is to reconnect schools, students, and families with local agricultural traditions that includes small farming, gardening, and the importance of acequias in our community. They have piloted school-based farmer’s markets held at local elementary schools, helped to establish and upkeep a school garden at Dolores Gonzales Elementary, have coordinated events and workshops at local elementary schools, and have worked with teachers to bring lessons to their classes.
There are over 84 gardens in the APS Garden Program! The mission of APS school gardens is to provide networking, training and resources to school staff who want to garden with students. This site includes an APS Gardening Handbook, Growing The Classroom.
The Asombro Institute is dedicated to increasing natural science literacy through engaging, place-based education. They currently serve more than 22,000 K-12 students and 1,500 adults in New Mexico and West Texas with inquiry-based, science education programs each year. Programs take place in classrooms, schoolyards, and at the 935-acre Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park site located north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Asombro Institute Curriculum in English and Spanish Climate Change and the Water Cycle is a complete 7-10 day curriculum is for 6th-12th grade students. Each lesson contains an educator guide, student handouts, and accompanying video. Easy to access the free materials with an email account.
The UNM Sustainability Studies Program offers an undergraduate minor degree to students in any department or college on campus. We provide interdisciplinary, hands-on, community-engaged learning that informs students’ academic work, future careers, and personal lives. They
Founded in 2010, the Office of Sustainability encourages and facilitates sustainability efforts of students, faculty, and staff to continue the reduction of UNM’s environmental footprint. UNM has defined the areas of sustainability to include energy usage, renewable energy, new building construction and remodel, transportation, recycling, purchasing, water usage, and food. The Climate Action Plan for UNM.
Soilutions provides products, education and services that support sustainable relationships between people and their environment. We do this through three divisions – our Compost Facility recycles greenwaste into compost and mulch that protect and nourish the earth; Food Waste Management makes food waste recycling happen by providing recycling services and education; and Adaptive Terrain Systems provides experienced, hands on consulting services on erosion control and stormwater management. They offer a comprehensive field trips for students to tour the compost facility. Call to set up.