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.

 

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.

 

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 →

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].

NM Project WET Watersheds and Climate Change Workshop at Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park

Seventeen educators met on April 20 to learn more about the Rio Grande watershed, explore Project WET’s Healthy Water, Healthy People Curriculum, and take a tour of the wastewater facility for Las Cruces.

The Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park hosted the workshop, sponsored by the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Presenters included Chris Canavan, head of the SW Area Surface Water Bureau of NMED, Dr. Kathy Whiteman, Executive Director of the Gila Conservation Education Center in Silver City, and Barbara Garrity, Executive Director of the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico. Continue Reading →