Member Feature: Stephanie Haan-Amato

Stephanie-Haan-AmatoStephanie Haan-Amato wasn’t expecting to fall in love with environmental education or the desert. Now, these are two of her greatest passions.

Stephanie left her childhood home of Orlando, Fl, to attend UC Santa Cruz and study environmental sciences. Her pursuit of a masters in wildlife sciences brought her to Las Cruces, NM, where a TA-ship introduced her to the many rewards of being an educator.

She quickly acquired a second masters in Education and taught high school biology until landing her “dream job” of Science Education Specialist at the Asombro Institute four years ago.  Continue Reading →

Member Feature: Deb Thrall

Nuclear science brought Deb Thrall into the world of environmental education, but it was attending a first grade ballet folklorico performance that assured her she had chosen the right path.

Deb grew up on a farm in the Oklahoma panhandle, and there she fell in love with the natural world. As a child, she walked the fields with her father. Her mother raised birds and other animals. Together, the family grew and raised their own food while nurturing the land around them. It was in these early years that Deb learned to look at the environment holistically and to see its many interwoven connections.  Continue Reading →

Why I’m Excited to Lead EEANM

A Letter from EEANM’s Executive Director

Greetings Environmental Education Community,

Spring is in the air as evidenced by all of the tumbleweeds blowing across the landscape. As I am getting settled into this new position, I thought I would take a few minutes to reach out and share more about why I was so excited to take on this new challenge as Executive Director of the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico (EEANM).

Many of you have asked, so I thought it was time to share a bit more about myself in hopes of better explaining my enthusiasm for EEANM and this new position: Continue Reading →

Memorial Recognizes the Importance of Environmental Education

Current Status

Updated: 2/18/16

House Joint Memorial 3 has passed with unanimous “Yes” votes in both the House and Senate!


Everett, Sanchez and Garrity

Current and former EEANM Executive Directors, Eileen Everett and Barbara Garrity, with Senator Sanchez, co-sponsor of the EE Memorial.

If you are on our EcoEd listserv, you saw the flurry of activity around the Joint Memorial for Environmental Education (HJM3), which passed on February 18, 2016!

Thank you to our sponsors, Rep. Kelly Fajardo and Sen. Michael Sanchez. And thank you to everyone who helped support the memorial with calls, emails, and your presence at the Roundhouse! We were pleased to have lobbying help from fantastic partners and student ambassadors, including fourth grade students from Katherine Gallegos Elementary School in Los Lunas and Youth Ambassadors from MRG E3.
In a nutshell, the joint memorial recognizes the importance of environmental education, highlights the 300+ educators who developed NM’s environmental literacy plan, and asks for four things:

  1. celebrateThe legislature to affirm the importance of environmental education
  2. The governor to declare an “Environmental Education Week” in April, encourage all K-12 teachers and state agencies to celebrate environmental education by spending at least one hour of learning time outdoors
  3. NM Game & Fish & Dept. of Agriculture to lead a study on the feasibility of an EE grant program (in cooperation with State Parks, State Forestry, State Land Office, Dept. of Health, Public Education, CYFD, Environment Dept., and Cultural Affairs)
  4. Public Education Department to link to the environmental literacy plan as a resource for teachers

You can read the entire memorial here.

 

Students Have Legislature Buzzing

Wild Friends students with Senator Nancy Rodriguez

​Photo of students with Senator Nancy Rodriguez courtesy of Wild Friends.

Wild Friends, a long-time member and partner of EEANM, is also busy in Santa Fe. Legislators know that turquoise shirts approaching mean bright young minds are coming to lobby for their cause. This year, Wild Friends is focused on bees.

Senate Joint Memorial 6 encourages state agencies to be examples with bee-friendly landscaping. It asks for designated pollinator gardens, research on commercial bee populations, and a governor-proclaimed “Bee Aware Day.” Follow their progress and find out how to support SJM6 on Wild Friend’s Facebook page.

To the Roundhouse and Beyond

A Letter from EEANM’s Executive Director

NM-legislature-flowering-650p

Greetings!

2016 marks the 20th anniversary for the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico! For the last two decades, dedicated EEANM Board Members, volunteers, members, contractors, and staff have been supporting the environmental education (EE) community with professional development opportunities, partnerships, and education of our community about what environmental education actually is.

This year is shaping up to be another exciting year for EEANM. Currently, we are working with a variety of partners on the passage of House Joint Memorial 3/Senate Joint Memorial 4 which acknowledges the importance of EE, as well as supporting more EE through state agencies and spreading the word about the Environmental Literacy Plan. (See below for details.) Additionally, we will continue to explore opportunities for Project Learning Tree, Project WET, and other training opportunities.

We are excited that our pilot group of EE Certification candidates are busily working on their self-assessments and professional development plans. We hope to have seven new Certified Environmental Educators in our state this fall!

We have also expanded the EE Certification Program to include an EE Certification Mentorship Program, which will better enable us to reach new leaders in traditionally underserved communities. There is so much promise in this new program to bring more credibility to those working in EE and the field in general.

And of course, we will continue to find ways to gather more support for the Environmental Literacy Plan, with the long-term goal of having an environmentally literate citizenry. Lastly, we will continue to strengthen our support for current partnerships and collaborations while reaching out to build new ones.

DSCN2441How can you help? Let me know what you like about EEANM. What is important to you? What should EEANM be doing that it is not? How can we, as your organization, support your efforts toward great environmental education around the state? I will be reaching out to you this year to help build upon what EEANM is doing well, and to grow and improve the organization.

But, don’t wait for me to ask you! My virtual office door is open to you, please feel free to e-mail me at director@eeanm.org or call me at 505-859-3366.

Yours in support of quality environmental education in New Mexico,
Eileen Everett
Executive Director, EEANM

Air Quality Curriculum Now Available

From Elaine Hampton, via EcoEd

Students with beakers

Photo from BAQed.utep.edu.

A free curriculum about border air quality is available to everyone in Spanish and English at BAQed.utep.edu.

Modules of 3 to 6 lessons, for Grade 3 through High School, take students through inquiry science, social justice, and community engagement.

For example:

  • Fourth graders learn about air pollution caused by burning hydrocarbons from fossil fuels. They explore what it feels like to breathe if you have respiratory problems, and they make plans to have less air pollution around their school.
  • Sixth graders measure temperature changes in ambient air compared to CO2 to understand the greenhouse effect and the foundations of climate change. They create public service announcements about the climate issues for the school news channel and their families.
  • Using the important environmental history of the ASARCO copper smelter located near downtown El Paso, high school students learn how to identify sources of air pollution, the chemical behavior of these polluting compounds, and then explore options to reduce chemical air pollutants.

A project of the El Paso Independent School District and The University of Texas at El Paso, Center for Environmental Resource Management, funded by Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Education, Outreach and Support Program, 66.037. Supported in part by a grant from the USEPA Office of Air and Radiation, Grant #IT-83509301.

 

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.

Climate Change and Water Cycle Activities

(Updated: 2/2/16)

From Stephanie Haan-Amato, Asombro Institute for Science Education

Students participating in curriculum activity

Students conducting an experiment with different insulating materials and their own body heat to model the enhanced greenhouse effect in the Insulating You, Insulating Earth activity. Photo courtesy of Asombro.

Increased temperatures and altered precipitation will make water–a limited resource in the arid southwestern United States–even scarcer in many locations.

With the aim of fostering climate literacy in our future citizens, the USDA Southwest Regional Climate Hub partnered with the Asombro Institute for Science Education to create an engaging, fun, and scientifically rigorous education unit for 6-12th grade students. It is aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Each activity was reviewed by an educator for educational practices and a scientist for scientific accuracy.

The Climate Change and the Water Cycle unit consists of nine activities, and we designed it to be conducted over 10 days (or 10 hours). Each activity can also stand alone, however, and the unit need not be completed in its entirety.

Materials for the activities can generally be purchased at a household goods store. Many activities use items that educators often have available; very few specialized supplies are needed.

At the conclusion of the unit, a Las Cruces middle school student commented: “I loved all of the activities! They are fun and help us understand about what goes on in the world.”

An educator, who conducted the activities said, “The entire curriculum is great, but I was particularly impressed with the progression of ideas and the variety of lessons.”

Another commented, “Students could see the relevance and importance of these real life issues.”

The curriculum is free to download at http://swclimatehub.info/education/climate-change-and-water-cycle. We simply ask that educators create a quick account by supplying some basic information for internal tracking purposes. We hope that EEANM educators and students will try and enjoy these fun new activities!

EEANM Welcomes Everett as New Director

Eileen teaching students near Santa Fe. Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Watershed Association.

Eileen teaching students near Santa Fe. Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Watershed Association.

EEANM is pleased to announce our new Executive Director, Eileen Everett, who will begin working with us on January 11, 2016.

Eileen has a strong background in environmental education, having worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as an environmental educator for Audubon New Mexico and the Santa Fe Watershed Association, running her consulting firm “Down to Earth Education,” and as a climate change educator for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

Eileen is an enthusiastic and supportive member of EEANM and has served on our Board of Directors in the past. She has strong nonprofit experience, having worked as an Educator, Education Director, and even Interim Executive Director.

She is looking forward to taking charge in January and leading EEANM through its next phase of growth as we establish an office at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and continue to support environmental education in New Mexico. Eileen is also a candidate for the first NM EE Certification Program, expecting to be certified by fall of 2016.

She will be a strong leader for EEANM and we look forward to what comes next!