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 →

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

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 →

New Partnership with New Mexico MainStreet Program

NMMS logoEEANM will partner with four NM MainStreet Program locations–Raton, Farmington, Grants and Truth or Consequences–to hold teacher workshops using the secondary module of Project Learning Tree (PLT), Places We Live. The PLT guidebook offers a planning curriculum as a way of assessing and affecting the urban environment. 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.”

2013 PLT Outstanding Educator – Noel Chilton

Noel Chilton 2013 PLT Outstanding EducatorNoel Chilton is the 2013 NM PLT Outstanding Educator of the Year!

Noel is an highly skilled and dedicated educator, parent and activist. She was nominated by both her former principal at Coronado Elementary School, Anna Marie Ulibarrί, and her colleague, Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, Early Childhood Education Coordinator from the NM Museum of Natural History and Science.

Her work with the students, faculty and parents at Coronado, as well as her advocacy work in NM is well-regarded. Under her direction, the students participated in the creation of the inspiring video, “Coronado Connects the Dots.” Noel also led the 350 Action Day at Coronado, which brought awareness of rising carbon in our atmosphere. She signed up Coronado as a PLT Green School, attended the training, and worked with the students to complete the audits. She was also responsible for arranging the PLT inservice at Coronado. Many other activities were mentioned by her nominators, and we know of more instances than they mentioned in their nominations, such as when she helped facilitate PLT workshops as a volunteer.

Pricipal Ulibarrί, stated, “Noel demonstrates a quiet, focused and inspirational leadership. She has worked effectively with our parents, staff, and students to implement positive changes at our school. Noel is also very knowledgeable and holds a high standard for the capacities of our children. She is open to their ideas and has provided thought provoking, life changing experiences for them. I know she has made a huge difference at our site.”

Ms. Snider-Bryan stated, “in my 25 plus years as an educator and parent, I have rarely seen this level of understanding by elementary-aged children experiencing environmental education. Noel Chilton’s creative actions as Green Team Leader have guided youth to understand human impact on the environment, aided by her ingenuous interpretation of Project Learning Tree curriculum.”

“We know first hand the power and passion of Noel’s dedication to the environment and the role our youth play in sustainability. Not only is she one of the best environmental and art educators I know she is also friend and parent making a profound difference in the world. Our children and our community are thankful for all the small and large moments of beauty, enlightenment and change Noel has shared with us.” ~Lonnie Anderson via Facebook

NM PLT Facilitator Training in Southern NM

PLT New MexicoOn April 21, 2012 in Las Cruces, a small group of Project Learning Tree educators gathered to become certified facilitators of the program. The group included Barbara Nuzzo and Dr. Kathy Whiteman from the Gila Conservation Education Center in Silver City, Helen Fields and Georgina Jacquez from Carlsbad Caverns National Monument, and Phillip Argüello from Hillrise Elementary in Las Cruces. The new facilitators will schedule fall trainings in their regions for other educators. Dates to be announced!


This information was originally published in EE Connections for Spring 2012 [PDF].

2012 PLT Outstanding Educator – Carolyn Nesbitt

Carolyn Nesbitt is NM PLT's 2012 Outstanding EducatorNew Mexico Project Learning Tree (PLT) has announced its first annual Outstanding Educator of the Year. Carolyn Nesbitt is the Fenton Ranch Director for Manzano Day School, where she is responsible for teaching students about the natural environment at a retreat in the Jemez Mountains. Continue Reading →

Project Learning Tree’s Green Schools! Program

On January 19th, four NM schools sent representatives to a training by Al Stenstrup of Project Learning Tree and Vicki Arthur of the Forest Service Conservation Education offices in Washington D.C. The schools are Desert Ridge and Madison Middle Schools, Coronado Elementary School and Rio Grande School. Continue Reading →

EE Connections Winter 2011

2011 in picturesDownload EE Connections for Winter 2011 [PDF].

What’s Inside?

  • Environmental Literacy Planning Begins
  • Project Learning Tree’s Green Schools Program Comes to New Mexico
  • New Mexico Project Learning Tree Workshops Statewide
  • Southern NM’s Youth ACTION Coalition Reconnects Communities with Nature
  • The Year in Pictures