Across the state, as teachers, parents and students have been getting back in to the swing of school, Audubon New Mexico has been busy preparing for expanded  environmental education programming that they will be delivering in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces during the 2015-2016 school year.

“This year we are really excited about reaching more underserved communities in our state,” said Samantha Funk, lead educator for Audubon New Mexico. “Our hands-on environmental education programs help to instill a love and respect for nature at an early age, which is key to lifelong stewardship.”

Audubon New Mexico’s unique education programs offer outdoor, hands-on, nature-based activities that bring science curriculum to life while meeting both the Common Core State Standards and the New Mexico Life Science Standards & Benchmarks. Programs effectively blend scientific concepts with inquiry, literacy, math, and history to provide an integrated and inspirational learning experience.

In Santa Fe, with support from the City of Santa Fe Children and Youth Commission and other funders, Audubon New Mexico will work with public schools serving students of low-income families to providetransportation and free outdoor field science programs to more than 500 area students at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary.

In Albuquerque, thanks to support from the Albuquerque Community Foundation, Audubon will partner with the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge to double the 2015-2016 school year capacity of the Refuge’s environmental education programming, which was developed and adapted in part from Audubon New Mexico’s Birds of a Feather Explore Together curriculum.
 

Currently, Audubon and Valle de Oro NWR provide programs to all 4th grade classrooms at both Mountain View and Valle Vista elementary schools in Albuquerque. This additional staff support from Audubon will allow Valle de Oro to provide free science-based environmental education programs to an additional eight to ten classrooms in the South Valley, reaching between 200 and 250 more students.

In Las Cruces, Audubon will continue to support free environmental education and outreach programming at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. The customized curriculum includes Audubon’s Birds of a Feather Explore Together and Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program’s curriculumto highlight local habitat characteristics of the southern Rio Grande valley.

Audubon New Mexico expects to reach more students this year than ever before, and Executive Director Julie Weinstein hopes to continue expanding their programs in the coming years.

“We’re proud that our unique curriculum is tailored to meet the goals of our teachers, and gets students outdoors,” commented Weinstein. “We couldn’t be more grateful for the generosity of our donors who help us provide these critical programs.”

In addition to the free environmental education initiatives, Audubon also provides fee based programs in which educators deliver programs in classrooms or at the Randall Davey Audubon Center. 

If you are interested in learning more about Audubon’s education programs please contact Samantha Funk at sfunk@audubon.org.  Information and details about how to register for school programs can also be found online: http://nm.audubon.org/school-program-registration

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 As the state office of the National Audubon Society, Audubon New Mexico’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. 

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Audubon Arizona and Audubon New Mexico have joined forces to become Audubon Southwest.