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The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC) leads ecological science programs on-site for all 5th graders in Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and Rio Rancho Public Schools, as well as other area schools.  Our experienced educators teach about the local ecosystem while leading hikes, hands-on activities, and insight through scientific research.  We also offer 5th grade ecology programs statewide, public programs, and educational/community resources and outreach.


As a public health precaution due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the SMNHC is not currently offering any on-site or in-person programming.  Our closure is part of the larger effort by NM state government and public school officials to minimize exposure to the virus.  


We are teaching a Virtual Field Experience program for APS and Rio Rancho PS 5th graders in the 2020-21 school year. 
This program is also open to non-APS schools and homeschool groups that request it. Contact Vanessa Barela at vanessa.barela2@state.nm.us to request this program for spring 2021.

As always, since we are located on Albuquerque Public School property, access to or parking on our grounds is not available. The land outside our gate is owned by Bernalillo County Water Authority, and parking there is not permitted either (cars may be towed).



Please explore the online content we have to offer:

  • For videos about New Mexico ecosystems and activities you can do from home that are great for use during distance-learning, homeschooling, and out-of-school time, visit and follow our YouTube channel.

Virtual Field Trip playlistA series of virtual field trips that detail the natural components of an ecosystem, ways to observe them, how they are connected, and more.

SMNHC Quick Trips playlist: Short videos about a large range of subjects, and demonstrations of activities you can do outdoors.


  • Visit our "Curriculum & Activities" page to download activities, worksheets, and lessons for engaging scientifically with your local ecosystem, learning about resident wildlife, and much more.

  • Take a virtual hike on Mud spring loop trail, with information, photos, videos, and more all along the way.

  • To stay up-to-date on our projects and those of other local environmental education-related groups, find out about local happenings, see our newest trail camera photos, etc., like us on Facebook.

  • For pictures of local wildlife and scenery, follow us on Instagram.



The mission of the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center is to work within New Mexico communities to develop an ecologically literate citizenry.

What teachers are saying about our Ecology Field Program...



The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center is a jointly run by the

http://www.aps.edu/ http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org/