Ecology Field Program
The main program of the SMNHC, the Ecology Field Program, reaches every 5th grade class in APS, as well as many other private/charter schools and schools in communities surrounding Albuquerque. Using the
outdoors, this program teaches students about the interconnectedness of
the biotic and abiotic parts of an ecosystem with a hands-on scientific approach.
The program typically lasts 4-4 1/2 hours and consists of:
• 1/2-hour Ecosystem Introduction/Review
• 2-3 hour Nature Hike
• 1/2 hour Lunch Break
• Time permitting, an additional Hands-On Activity
introduced to the local ecosystem, and producers, consumers, and decomposers that reside here, through a
day of field exploration, observation, and hands-on learning in the
outdoors. The program is free of charge, however you will be responsible
for your students' transportation to the center. All lessons and
activities are aligned with the New Mexico State Science Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for 5th graders.
To schedule an ecology field program...
APS teachers contact:
Susanna Sprague Harris
Non-APS teachers contact:
Traveling Ecology Field Program
For schools outside the Albuquerque area, we offer the Traveling Ecology Field Program statewide. In this exciting program, the staff of the SMNHC will meet your students at a “wild” area near your school and will lead students on a nature hike, interpreting the natural surroundings to explain how all the parts of an ecosystem are connected.
Outdoor teaching areas require hiking trails, restroom facilities, school bus access, and a parking area. Areas that have been used for the TEFP include State Parks, National Park Service sites, National Forest campgrounds and picnic areas, BLM land, and natural areas within walking distance of the school.
To schedule a Traveling EFP:
Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area
For schools in the Los Lunas/Belen area, we teach our Ecology Field Program at WWCA in Belen (http://www.whitfieldwildlife.org/). It covers all the main concepts as the EFP and utilizes a number of hands-on activities. Students are led on a flat hike through the bosque ecosystem, learning about and closely observing cottonwood trees, a pond/water channel, sandhill cranes and other birds, native/non-native species, consumer evidence, and ecosystem restoration projects.
The program typically lasts 3.5 hours, including a 1/2 hr. lunch.
To schedule a trip to WWCA, contact them at:
New Mexico counties served in 2015-'16 school year:
Animal Investigations Program
We have offered an in-classroom program for the past 2 winters, open to 2nd and 3rd grade classes (and 4th grade in the 1st year). Our instructors present a 1-hour lesson in your classroom about local animals. Students visit hands-on stations with animal "evidence" (skulls, tracks, fur) while recording their observations in a journal and figuring out what animal they come from.
Program includes discussion of topics including scientific inquiry and observation, adaptations, habitat, behavior, and biodiversity.
To inquire for next winter (Dec. '17- Feb. '18), contact:
"The students enjoyed the presentation and cannot stop talking about the
animal artifacts. Your staff was wonderful and deserve a big pat on the back."
"Thank you all for coming to our school. Presentation was fantastic .
This is our 2nd year, and we're equally impressed!"
"I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful presentation that my second
graders really enjoyed. They were very engaged in the presentation start to
finish. The presenters did an amazing job! They were organized and gave very
clear instructions and information."