2020 Exploring Equitable Education Outdoors Fellowship Program

Environmental Education of New Mexico is supporting 18 paid Fellows in 2020 to create a multi-year collective strategy for systemic change for New Mexico through a program that cultivates leadership, systems thinking, and a comprehensive vision and strategy. This multi-year strategy will provide the pathway for systems change to provide equitable, daily outdoor and environmental learning for every preK-12th grade student in school and their local communities.

The Exploring Equitable Education Outdoors Fellows will move through a transformational leadership model and emergent process to grow their own leadership while exploring systems thinking and gaining skills in advocacy and messaging. Each participant will have an opportunity to network and grow their own community of support. At the end of 2020, the Fellows will have co-created a shared multi-year systems change agenda to support equitable, daily access to outdoor and environmental learning for every student while growing their own leadership and gaining new ways to communicate and advocate.

We are pleased to announce our 2020 Exploring Equitable Education Outdoor Fellows:
Sarah Candelaria – New Mexico Wildlife Federation

Sarah Candelaria is the Youth Program Director for New Mexico Wildlife Federation where she devotes her time getting youth of all ages outdoors. Sarah’s focus area in the field of environmental education is early childhood (ages 3-6). As a guardian of childhood, Sarah’s hope is to lead more Pre-K aged children to a love and meaningful connection with nature. Sarah has 5 kids, including two different exchange students each year, and loves hiking, spending time on her hobby farm and traveling. 

Kimberly Caputo-Heath – Center for Socially Sustainable Systems
Kimberly Caputo-Heath is mother to her beautiful and loving 8 year old daughter Pippa.  She is an artist, activist and dreamer who believes education can empower people and transform lives.  She feels strongly that helping people to make spiritual connections with nature and Mother Earth will improve both the physical and emotional health of our communities while also inspiring respectful environmental stewardship. 

Juliana Ciano – Reunity Resources
Juliana Ciano, Program Director of Reunity Resources,is a social entrepreneur and educator focusing on sustainable community food systems and holistic approaches to education. Since co-founding Reunity Resources in 2011, Juliana has worked to build compost programming that now diverts 1.5 million pounds of food waste from the Santa Fe landfill annually and has trained over 11,000 students at staff at public elementary schools in daily cafeteria compost practices, thus reducing their trash collection by one third. Juliana holds a Master’s of Education focusing on neurodivergent learners, and as a mother of two and a former teacher and coach, Juliana is passionate about providing opportunities for young people to find their strength and balance outdoors, build connections to their food and environment, and see possibilities for themselves engaging in their community for good.

Dakota Domínguez – Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Dakota has worked in environmental education, public lands interpretation and outdoor leadership in Colorado, Utah, Washington state, and New Mexico in various positions with different organizations including Conservation Districts, public schools, non-profits, and the National Park Service. After bouncing around the west for a while, Dakota is proud to settle in Nuevo Mexico, where his ancestors herded sheep in the northern mountains for centuries. Currently, Dakota mentors and empowers a youth crew working on conservation projects on public lands with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Albuquerque. 

Laura Flores – Bel-Air Elementary
Laura Flores has been an educator in New Mexico for the last 8 years. She has experience working with preK-12th grade students in general and special education settings. She enjoys exploring and learning about the outdoors with her family and students. 

Joe Garcia – La Plazita Institute
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.

Eric Griffin – New Mexico Highlands University
I am currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at New Mexico Highlands University, primarily teaching Ecology and Evolution to undergraduates. Though I am relatively new to the New Mexico area, I have had extensive experience in outdoor education and field experiences across the United States and Latin America. I previously was an environmental educator for K-12groups as a part of the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Program with 4-H. As a college educator I have taught 15 courses at four universities, many of them exclusively field courses. I value and have seen the numerous benefits of outdoor education and experiences for young people, and I am excited to be involved with a working group to ensure that students across New Mexico reap the benefits of such experiences in their curricula and everyday lives.

Katie Macaulay – Mountain Kids
Katie Macaulay is the founder and Director of Mountain Kids!, an outdoor adventure and education program in Santa Fe, as well as Mountain Mamas, an outdoor program from women. She was a founding member of Journey Montessori School in Santa Fe, where she developed and facilitated a robust outdoor curriculum for elementary students. Prior to leading Mountain Kids! she taught middle school Global Studies and Photography at Santa Fe Prep, and Social Studies, Art, and Outdoor Education at York House School, in Vancouver, B.C. Her most formative early experiences were setting up a Big Brother-Big Sister program for street kids in Guyana, and leading the education program for Serve Canada, a youth service program in Toronto. She lives with her husband, two kids and three four-leggeds in Santa Fe.

Olivia Marin – National Institute of Flamenco
Olivia Marin is currently a corps dancer with Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company and teaches yoga in the Albuquerque community. She is an avid hiker, backpacker, cyclist and anything to do with outside-ist. After receiving her BA in Environmental Planning and Design and a minor in Sustainability Studies in 2016, Olivia worked in a variety of sectors of the local food market and was introduced to some environmental education volunteering options. She has since continued to develop that path, and hopes to pursue a career that encourages people of all ages to engage and move outside, to explore with creativity and to foster healthy relationships with the natural world.

Allison Martin – Valencia Soil and Water District
Allison Martin works for Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District as the environmental education manager. Since September of 2018, I have been working with all local schools throughout Belen and Los Lunas School Districts to offer a wide variety of environmental education programs for all grade levels. My biggest joy is watching students interact with the environment as they ask questions, create experiments and brainstorm solutions to problems they never even thought existed before today. 

Scott Nydam – Silver Stallion Bicycle and Coffee Works, Inc.
Scott Nydam, from Gallup, NM, has years of experience working in the international bicycle racing industry and is now the founder of a new nonprofit seeking to provide bicycle-related program opportunities for youth and young adults in the underserved communities  in Western New Mexico and Arizona. Scott believes fervently in the relational power of the bicycle and its ability to create one’s own instinctual confidence and connection with the landscape. Having witnessed and experienced the bike’s positive impact in his own life and in the lives of others, Scott believes experiential outdoor opportunities such as these  should be normalized and made available for all.

Shantini Ramakrishnan – Denver Zoo at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
Shantini Ramakrishnan is part of a collaborative partnership at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge, that includes the Denver Zoo, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, New Mexico Highlands University and the Pueblo of Pojoaque. As the Denver Zoo’s Rio Mora project manager, she uses applied research, habitat restoration techniques, and community engagement to achieve working landscape objectives, while cultivating and collaborating with neighbors, state and federal agencies, local non-profits and tribal communities to improve resilience within the watershed.  Shantini leads and develops field-based STEM programming for middle schoolers up to graduate students, and has hosted dozens of hands-on seasonal internships designed to increase participation and retention of under-served students in STEM fields through on-the-job training and mentorship.  

Marisa Salazar – East Mountain High School
Marisa Salazar is an Environmental Science, Biology and Anatomy & Physiology Instructor at East Mountain High School She holds a BS in Earth and Planetary Sciences and a MA in Education: Curriculum Design and Instructional Leadership, both from the University of New Mexico. As a third-generation East Mountain native, Marisa has come to love the beauty, culture and community of the area. She enjoys the opportunity to develop curriculum and projects that connect students to the community and nature.

Kateri Sava – Albuquerque Public Schools

Kateri Sava (she/her/hers) is working to uplift awareness around food justice and local knowledge in the Albuquerque area through work in school gardens. Currently, she works as a garden coordinator for Albuquerque Public Schools to provide the resources and institutional support for schools that want to integrate a culture of local knowledge and outdoor learning into their school culture . She envisions a stronger school and community garden network built upon the rich history of community organizing in urban agriculture and outdoor learning that will provide youth with the tools to take back their food systems and grow in health and community. Kateri also helps to organize internships in sustainability with high school students in the South Valley through non-profit NM2050. 

Fiana Shapiro – Sandia Mountain Natural History Center
Fiana Shapiro has been an environmental educator at the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center for over 5 years, leading ecology field programs in the Sandias and in other ecosystems around New Mexico.  She is the “science guru” for research projects at the center, teaches classroom animal programs, and collaborates with other organizations on events and projects. Fiana has previously worked as a national park ranger, wildlife researcher, and environmental educator in 8 states (and in Borneo).  She loves being outdoors and sharing the natural environment with kids, and particularly when one of them excitedly discovers something that Fiana herself has missed. 

Jordan Stone – Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
Jordan Stone is the Program Manager for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) in Albuquerque. Jordan has been leading and managing conservation and education youth programs for over 10 years. Before joining RMYC in 2016, Jordan was the Assistant Director at Cottonwood Gulch, a New Mexico-based wilderness education organization, and before that he led programs at an urban farm in Wisconsin. Jordan holds a Master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of New Mexico, where his research focused on the community impacts of restoration projects in New Mexico. 

Mara Yarbrough – University of New Mexico School of Law
My name is Mara Yarbrough, and my sister and I were fortunate to have grown up in rural northern New Mexico with opportunities to explore our state’s mountains, valleys, and canyons; because of these opportunities, I naturally assumed a relationship with the outdoors that I’ve been lucky to carry on with my own children.  However, when I worked with children in urban Oakland, California, I came to realize just how fortunate I had been to have had early connections with nature that every child should, but doesn’t, have. Subsequently, I became a Montessori teacher in Santa Fe with full support to start every day with kids in the animal pens and to integrate classroom lessons with frequent outings, from all-day birding adventures in the Bosque del Apache to impromptu treks into snow-blanketed arroyos to identify animal tracks after a storm. I left teaching compelled by a desire to provide affordable legal services to underserved communities and am currently in my last semester of law school; I am excited about synthesizing my life, work, and academic experiences with those of other Fellows to collaboratively forge ways for all children in New Mexico to connect with the outdoors.

Kelly White – New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Kelly White is an informal educator at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and is happiest when she is engaging with the teens she works with in the Junior Docent Program.  Being able to engage with people of all ages about the world around us and how it came to be as it is now is amazing. Kelly has a Bachelors in physical anthropology with an emphasis in forensics and a Master of Music in Organology (the study of Musical Instruments).  Both of these fields tie in Kelly’s interest in finding details in objects and placing them in context of bigger pictures. As well, these fields draw on the fascinating realm of the human condition and how we as humans impact each other and the world around us. Outside of work Kelly is an avid hiker and camper.  You will often see her running amok in the Sandias, on Mount Taylor, the Sangre de Cristos, or where ever she can find a mountain to climb!


Online applications were open through January 20, 2020 for the Exploring Equitable Education Outdoors Fellowship program.

Are you interested in exploring the interconnectedness of outdoor and environmental learning, access to the outdoors, and social impact through creating a systems change agenda while learning, dreaming, and growing in community?

We at the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico are seeking 15 Fellows in 2020 to create a multi-year collective strategy for systemic change for New Mexico through a program that cultivates leadership, systems thinking, and a comprehensive vision and strategy. This multi-year strategy will provide the pathway for systems change to provide equitable, daily outdoor and environmental learning for every preK-12th grade student in school and their local communities.

The Exploring Equitable Education Outdoors Fellows will move through a transformational leadership model and emergent process to grow their own leadership while exploring systems thinking and gaining skills in advocacy and messaging. Each participant will have an opportunity to network and grow their own community of support. At the end of 2020, the Fellows will have co-created a shared multi-year systems change agenda to support equitable, daily access to outdoor and environmental learning for every student while growing their own leadership and gaining new ways to communicate and advocate.

Lived, work, and educational experiences are all valued and Fellows can be at any career level. We are seeking those who advance environmental learning in many forms, not only those that self-identify as environmental educators.

Applicants will:
– Show a passion for connecting young people with the outdoors
– Demonstrate an openness and commitment to lifelong learning
– Have a desire to deepen relationships and broaden their peer network
– Reflect a spirit of innovation and taking risks
– Value intergenerational learning

Fellows must commit to the following:
– A retreat from Friday, February 14 from noon-6 p.m. and Saturday, February 15 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque (lodging for our out-of-town participants and meals for all will be provided)
– A retreat in Albuquerque from Friday, July 31 at noon through Sunday, August 2nd at 6 p.m. (lodging and meals will be provided)
– Videoconferencing sessions monthly from 4-6 p.m. the last Wednesday of every month (February-December 2020)
– Contribute to planning and attending the 2020 New Mexico Proud: Exploring Equitable Education Outdoors gathering in late 2020
– A day attending a New Mexico Legislative committee hearing (date TBD)

In return, Fellows will receive a $5,000 scholarship to cover costs for participation in the program which will include high quality professional learning, experienced facilitators, resources, opportunities to engage with decision makers, and meaningful, inspiring retreats. Additionally, each Fellow will receive a $500 stipend as a way of honoring the experiences and skills that each Fellow contributes. Lodging during the retreats for out-of-town participants will be single occupancy rooms and we are exploring local, tasty food options for meals during the retreats (like the Pueblo Harvest Cafe at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center).

Why this Fellowship and why now?

Currently, there are no systems or requirements specifically to provide and integrate outdoor or environmental learning for students within the State of New Mexico. The lack of shared messaging around the importance, value, and relevance of outdoor and environmental learning has led to a lack of resources. This lack of resources stems from decision makers (including those influencing policy, financial resources, and structures within schools) not investing in advancing environmental and outdoor opportunities for youth in schools or local communities.

Rather than individuals or singular organizations advocating for individual efforts, we will support the Fellows to mobilize a community to support a shared systemic change agenda with measurable impact. We will move from decision makers hearing disjointed messages to consistently hearing a united, more powerful message, thus increasing the likelihood of broader support. Ultimately, this Fellowship will build a stronger network with shared vision for supporting all of New Mexico’s students.

The Environmental Education Association of New Mexico (EEANM) is the only organization in New Mexico working cross-sector and with such a variety of organizations to support a collective approach that advances environmental and outdoor learning. We believe access to daily environmental and outdoor learning is an issue of equity and justice, and are committed to the idea that all students deserve authentic, culturally relevant, and meaningful learning opportunities. To this end, we work with environmental education providers and those who advance environmental know how in other forms, using a community-centered approach.

EEANM is a leader in community-centered approaches, having worked with over 100 thought leaders in education, conservation, environmental justice and outdoor recreation in 2018 to create our new mission, vision, and strategic direction. Our organization continuously invests in supporting shared leadership and authentic inclusion, internally and externally. This Fellowship program along with the new Community of Practice launched during the December 2019 New Mexico Proud: Exploring Equitable Education event demonstrate our commitment to building a movement centering on people and landscapes to transform education and provide equitable access to the outdoors for all youth.


Applications were due by Monday, January 20, 2020. Applications are open to all EEANM Individual members (it takes just a few minutes to sign up at https://eeanm.org/join/). We might schedule 30 minute phone calls with prospective candidates during the week of January 20th and final selections and announcements will be made by January 31, 2020.

Please take some time to prepare your thoughts and answers to the following before submitting your application through the secure online form.

Application Questions:

Do you have a current individual EEANM membership?
If yes, please proceed. If not, please visit eeanm.org/join.

Upload your resume. Besides educational and work experience, please feel free to add other relevant experience in the community (volunteer positions, community service) and feel free to share other accomplishments in your resume.

Describe a time when you were proud of your leadership. (250 word limit)
What leadership skills would you like to learn or explore through this Fellowship (200 word limit)
What leadership skills will you bring to the Fellowship program? (200 word limit)
Why are you interested in exploring systems change with others to support every student having access to daily environmental and outdoor learning? (200 word)
What does collaboration (with individuals, organizations, projects) look like to you? (200 word limit)
What else would you like us to know about you? (200 word limit)