FAQs

1.  Who pays for the buses?
 
Schools no longer have to pay for bus transportation for this 5th grade program.  Please refer to the Bus Transportation Process document for details.


2.  How many chaperones should we bring?

One chaperone for every 5-6 students is optimal, but please do not bring more than 8 chaperones per class.  


3. Is there enough parking for chaperones?  
 
Yes.  There are visitor spaces to the left as you enter the center's grounds.  There is also plenty of additional space behind the casita.


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 - 3.5 hours.  Additionally, most trails have some steep, rocky  portions.  Carrying a child could be dangerous, and a stroller just would not work.


5.  One of my parents would like to bring a dog or other pet - is that allowed? 
 
No pets are allowed at the center; 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 in this field trip.  How strenuous and long is the hike?
 
Our hike is 2.5-3.5 hours long with many steep inclines and declines with up to a 600 foot change in elevation. Everyone participates in the hiking part of our program.


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, our wheelchair accessible trail.  We front load the hike with the introduction and activities.  When we get to the top of the trail, students who are unable to hike come back down to the center with teacher aides or parent chaperones while the rest of the class continues the hike (another 30-45 minutes). T
here are field guides and exhibits to explore in the visitor's center. 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 in 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 weather forecast for Cedar Crest the day before and discuss appropriate attire for the trip.


9.  When should we arrive and depart the center?
 
This will completely depend on the availability of your buses, but 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.


10.  When does the center cancel a trip if there is bad weather?
 
Usually, we do not cancel scheduled field trips to the SMNHC.  On occasion, though, 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.

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