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.

 

An EE-themed Evening with Food and Friends

Grazie! to those who joined us last month at Scalo Northern Italian Grill for a delicious fundraiser dinner. Thanks to dinner attendees and silent auction bidders (at the Environmental Literacy Summit earlier that day), we raised nearly $1000 to support EEANM’s environmental literacy work. Continue Reading →

Don’t Miss the 2 Biggest EE Gatherings of 2013

We will host two major EE events in the fall of 2013–the Environmental Literacy Summit and our Annual Conference. We hope you can join us!

Environmental Literacy Summit

Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, 9am-4pm
UNM Science & Technology Rotunda
801 University Blvd SE, Albuquerque

Las Cruces Aglow. Photo by Vanessa Stewart/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Las Cruces Aglow. Photo by Vanessa Stewart/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The New Mexico Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) is ready for review after almost two years of state-wide stakeholder meetings. Please join us to receive your copy of the ELP draft, participate in review sessions, learn about the Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education (free copies available) and hear from special guests:

  • Dr. Joseph Suina, PhD, Cochiti Tribal Council and Elder, former Governor of Cochiti Pueblo
  • Dr. Bora Simmons, author of Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education Series
  • Lesley Galyas, Math and Science Dept. Director, NM Public Education Department

The summit is free and includes breakfast, lunch and snacks. Substitute stipends are available for teachers.

Thank you to our sponsors:

  • Albert I Pierce Foundation
  • US EPA
  • EECapacity
  • American Forest Foundation
  • Sandia National Labs
  • NM EPSCoR

Soar to Greater Heights: Growing STEM’s for the Next Generation

Friday-Sunday, November 1-3, 2013
Las Cruces, NM – Centennial High School
Presented by EEANM, NMSTA and NMCTM

Brendan Mullan. Photo from LinkedIn.

Brendan Mullan. Photo from LinkedIn.

The conference includes a social event on Friday evening, general conference sessions on Saturday, a “Star Party” on Saturday evening and our EEANM annual meeting. The keynote speaker is Brendan Mullan, PhD, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Penn State University Science Educator and Astronomer.

“If we can get people excited about astronomy, they’ll use that passion to become not just astronomers, but the innovative biologists, chemists, physicists, and engineers that build the foundations of our modern society.” -Brendan Mullan

There are also extended learning opportunities on Friday and Sunday. Register now by credit card, check, or purchase order. Sign-up by Sept. 24 for early bird rates!

General Registration – $65/$75
Student Registration – $25/$35

Deadline for proposals for presentations in EE, science or math is Sunday, Sept. 15.

We have $10,000 to give away! Scholarships may reimburse for registration and travel expenses.


This information was originally published in EE Connections for Fall 2013 [PDF].