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.

 

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!