1.  Who pays for the buses?
APS Transportation pays for the buses to transport APS 5th graders here for the Ecology Field Program.  APS schools do not have to pay for their own buses!  We schedule your buses for you as well.  (If your school is not part of APS, you will need to schedule and fund your own buses.)

2.  How many chaperones should we bring?

One chaperone for every 5-6 students is optimal, but please do not bring more than 5 chaperones per class.  

3. Is there enough parking for chaperones?  
Yes, as long as you stay within the chaperone limit.  There are visitor spaces to the left as you enter the center's grounds.  There is additional space straight back behind the casita.  (Please wait until bus has parked before pulling forward!)

4.  Are my chaperones permitted to bring younger siblings?
Bringing little children is strongly discouraged.  Our hikes can be up to 2 miles and last 2.5 - 3 hours.  Additionally, trails have steep, rocky portions.  Carrying a child is dangerous and not allowed, and a stroller will not work at all.

5.  One of my parents would like to bring a dog or other pet - is that allowed? 
No pets are allowed at the center except for service animals, as they become a distraction to the students and create the potential for an unsafe learning environment.

6.  One of my chaperones has a bad knee but would like to participate.  How strenuous and long is the hike?
Our hike is 2.5-3 hours long with many steep inclines and declines with up to a 600 foot change in elevation. Please be sure all chaperones are aware of this before deciding to come.

7 I have a student in my class who is in a wheelchair; can this student participate in the program?  
Yes. We will have your class take the Meadow Trail, the first portion of which is wheelchair accessible.  We front load the hike with an introduction and activities.  When we get to the top of the hill, students who are unable to continue the hike come back down to the buildings with a teacher aide or parent chaperone while the rest of the class continues the hike. During that time, one of our staff meets them to 
explore our visitor's center and do activities. 

This way, everyone participates in all essential parts of the program, the student in a wheelchair is not put in an unsafe position on a difficult trail, and other students still get a hike.

8.  How different is the weather at the SMNHC compared to Albuquerque?
On the average sunny day, temperatures in Cedar Crest are 4-6 degrees lower than in Albuquerque.  However, sometimes wind, cloud, and precipitation conditions can lower the temperature another 5+ degrees.  It is always best for you and your students to check the Cedar Crest weather forecast, current conditions at the SMNHC the day before and discuss appropriate attire for the trip.

9.  When should we arrive and depart the center?
If you are an APS school, we will schedule the buses for you based on your school start/end times.  If you are scheduling your own buses, our earliest start time is 9 am and our latest departure time is 2:30 pm.  We offer up to a 4.5 hour program including lunch, and most programs are 4 hours total.

10.  When does the center cancel a program if there is bad weather?
Usually, we do not cancel scheduled field trips to the SMNHC.  On occasion, the weather does interfere with learning, in which case we shorten the day or call you early in the morning to cancel the trip.  In the winter months, when APS East Mountain Schools are on a 2-hour delay or are closed, the center is also closed.  When all of APS is closed, so are we.

11.  It's a little cold and windy; can we have the program inside?
The SMNHC "Ecology Field Program" is an outdoor, environmental education program and the majority of time and activities will take place outside, even when it's cold and windy.  That said, everyone must come prepared for the weather with hats, gloves, coats, etc.  In the event the weather changes unexpectedly, we may alter the program with supplemental indoor activities, while continuing with most of the program outside.  Very rarely, will we end the program early due to inclement weather.

Subpages (1): Nature Mapping