2016 Becker Award Winners

Is environmental education for the birds? Ask this year’s Becker Award honorees and you’ll hear a confident yes! It’s for the birds and the water, soil, forests, people…

The Dr. Richard W. Becker Award honors outstanding educators in New Mexico who are influencing students through environmental education and service learning. Our 2016 honorees are Steve Glass, CNM biology instructor and retired public works program manager, and Siobhan Niklasson, Education Programs Director at Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC). Continue Reading →

Kathryn Venzor Awarded for Outstanding Service to EE

Kathryn VenzorEEANM is very pleased to announce that Kathryn Venzor, Education Curator at the Albuquerque BioPark, is the winner of the 2016 Outstanding Service to EE!

Kathryn has served on EEANM’s Board of Directors since 2013 and stepped into the role of Board President in 2014. She has contributed a great deal to EE in New Mexico and there is no one more deserving of this honor. Continue Reading →

Garrity Honored For Outstanding Service to EE

Barbara GarrityDuring a ceremony on December 16, we honored former executive director Barbara Garrity for her amazing contributions to EEANM with the 2015 Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award.

Barbara has been instrumental in growing the organization. She has been the key organizer in the Environmental Literacy Plan, Environmental Certification Program, and upcoming Environmental Education memorial. She has worked with countless educators and community groups across the state to promote and support EE through trainings seminars, conferences and meaningful projects. She has worked to increase the diversity of our board, members and networks as well.

2015 Becker Award Winners

From a South Valley farm to a southern NM trail race, our 2015 award winners have taken environmental education and run with it!

Garcia and Haan-AmatoThe Dr. Richard W. Becker Award honors New Mexico’s outstanding educators who are influencing students through environmental education and service learning. For 2015, we recognize two amazing individuals: Joe Garcia, Farm Education Director at La Plazita Institute, and Stephanie Haan-Amato, Science Education Specialist at the Asombro Institute for Science Education in Las Cruces.

Joe Garcia

Crops at Sanchez Farm

A garden bed at Sanchez Farm. Photo courtesy of Bernalillo County.

Joe Garcia is the Farm Education Director at La Plazita Institute in Albuquerque’s South Valley. He has worked with the County Parks and Recreation office in California, La Plazita Institute as the Garden Manager and Educator, at UNM teaching classes, and working on numerous boards and committees.

During his time as Farm Education Director for La Plazita at Sanchez Farm Open Space, Joe worked with groups from Peanut Butter and Jelly preschoolers to college students to professionals at the Farm.  He has engaged numerous groups in service learning projects that include habitat restoration and garden-related activities, emphasizing the importance of service learning projects in the context of our larger environment and local community. He inspires people to deeply reflect on the incredible planet we live on, and see the magic all around us. Currently, he is working with college students as he facilitates the Garden Wisdom Program for transformative learning.

Joe has continued his own graduate education, now pursuing a Doctorate in Transformative Learning and Holistic Education. He keeps up-to-date on environmental literacy and philosophies of education that result in civic action and personal growth. Joe has partnered with EEANM through several projects, bringing a depth of experience and perspective.

Joe has been described as “the consummate conservation education professional who is passionate, hard-working and knowledgeable in natural history, environmental education and natural resource interpretation. Moreover, Mr. Garcia has a keen ability to relate to varied stakeholders and engage nontraditional audiences all the while being an effective environmental educator.”

Stephanie Haan-Amato

5KArroyo-Desert-Dash-Asombro

Runners enjoying the Chihuahuan Desert during the Desert Dash. Photo courtesy of Asombro Institute.

Stephanie Haan-Amato is the Science Education Specialist at the Asombro Institute for Science Education in Las Cruces. She previously worked as a biologist and a high school biology teacher. Stephanie’s focus has been on three programs that highlight her talent for engaging participants in environmental education through stewardship and collaboration: (1) Earth Squad citizen action program, (2) Climate Hub curriculum development, and (3) Desert Dash Trail Races.

Stephanie created the Earth Squad citizen action program in spring 2013 to give youth a sense of power and personal investment when they implement solutions to environmental issues. Students worked with Stephanie over 11 weeks, learning about greenhouse gases and how to find reliable, online scientific resources about climate change. Equipped with this new knowledge of climate change science, students brainstormed potential actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and then formed 3 committees to implement their plans: (a) a school recycling plan involving students, staff, and parents, (b) a campaign and contest to reduce energy used at school by turning off unused lights and appliances, (c) a “no- idling zone” in the parent pick-up area to reduce carbon emissions from idling cars.

USDA’s Southwest Regional Climate Hub delivers climate-smart information and technologies for agriculture and land management. Stephanie is developing five, inquiry-based education modules for middle and high school students who will become the next farmers, ranchers, land managers, and informed citizens. Stephanie developed the first module on the impact of global climate change on the water cycle in the southwest U.S. The unit includes nine hands-on activities to help students understand causes and consequences of predicted climate change on the Southwest’s water cycle through innovative experiments, games, critical readings, and data interpretation and presentation.                          

The Desert Dash Trail Races are now an annual event at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park. The event brings people out to enjoy getting active and supporting Asombro’s programming.

 

Join us to Honor and Celebrate!

Join us in celebrating Barbara Garrity’s retirement after 8 1/2 years as our Executive Director! She has been selected to receive the Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award and Joe Garcia and Stephanie Hahn-Amato will receive the Dr. Richard W. Becker Award for Outstanding Environmental Educator.  Joe Garcia will receive his award at this gathering and Stephanie Haan-Amato will receive hers on January 18 in Las Cruces.
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2015 Outstanding PLT Educator – Roberta Salazar

Roberta Salazar

Roberta Salazar, NM PLT’s 2015 Outstanding Educator

Roberta Salazar, Executive Director of Rivers and Birds, has been selected to receive the fourth annual New Mexico Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educator award for 2015.

This award acknowledges her commitment to using Project Learning Tree (PLT) to build awareness and understanding of the environment, as well as motivation to take action to address issues. PLT is a program of the American Forest Foundation’s Center for Environmental Learning. The program includes teacher training with curriculum guides and the Green Schools program. Continue Reading →

Dr. Elaine Hampton Wins the Outstanding Service Award

Dr. Elaine Hampton and Kathryn Venzor

Dr. Hampton accepts her award from EEANM President Kathryn Venzor.

Elaine M. Hampton, Ph.D., was recognized for her long-term, sustained support and service to the field of environmental education with the 2014 Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award. She was a part of EEANM from the beginning, serving as board president in the late nineties. She recently returned to serve as a board member and as secretary. Continue Reading →

Dr. Buxbaum’s EE Work Honored with 2014 Becker Award

Chuck with students

Chuck’s enthusiasm for teaching is evident in the classroom, the gym and beyond!

EEANM is thrilled to announce that Dr. Chuck Buxbaum, Environmental Science Teacher and Sustainability Director at Sandia Prep, has been selected to receive EEANM’s 2014 Dr. Richard W. Becker Award of Excellence in Environmental Education! Continue Reading →

2014 PLT Outstanding Educator – Taylor Mayer

Taylor Mayer 2014 PLT Outstanding Educator

L to R: Elena Kayak (Energy/Environmental Specialist for Rio Rancho Public Schools), Barbara Garrity (Executive Director of EEANM), Taylor Mayer, Cathy Gaarden (Principal of Sandia Vista Elementary School), and Jean Szymanski (Regional Conservation Ed. Coordinator, USFS)

Taylor Mayer, first grade teacher from Sandia Vista Elementary School in Rio Rancho, received the 2014 NM PLT Outstanding Educator Award.

Her nominator, Amy Waymire, provided this description of her work at school:

“Taylor received Planet Learning Tree training in the fall of 2013. Since this time, she has integrated a number of practices and projects into her curriculum at school. In addition to this, she established and led Sandia Vista Elementary’s first green team for staff and an additional after-school club for students. The staff green team has allowed Taylor to share many of the lessons and curriculum she has developed using the PLT training she received.

One piece of education that has benefited a number of classrooms is the compost system she started. This allowed our classrooms to collect our organic waste from lunch and create compost for our community garden. Taylor shared a number of CCSS aligned lessons from PLT to facilitate learning about composting.

In addition, Taylor has used the PLT curriculum to facilitate the student Green Team club she started following her training. Each week, the students in this club explore environmental education through hands on projects and community service based on PLT lessons. Taylor’s enthusiasm and leadership towards environmental education has attracted over 30 students from our school to join this club. She has also engaged many of the staff members through this effort as well.

She has brought awareness and education to the staff and greatly increased the participation of staff in environmental education. We greatly value Taylor as an educator at Sandia Vista Elementary and commend her commitment to environmental education and the contributions she has made as a result of her PLT training.”

Becky Kerr Recognized for Outstanding Service to EE

Becky Kerr, 2013 Award Winner for Outstanding Service to EE

Becky Kerr, 2013 Award Winner for Outstanding Service to EE

Becky Kerr was the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award, presented at our conference in November. Continue Reading →