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Media Release

Published: 10/18/2010
CONTACT(s):
Roxanne Witt Celeskey Public Information Officer New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Phone: 505-841-2826

SIERRA CLUB FUNDS SANDIA MOUNTAIN NATURAL HISTORY CENTER’S TRAVELING ECOLOGY FIELD PROGRAM

Albuquerque, NM–The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC), an environmental education center operated by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, has been awarded a $12,500 grant by the Sierra Club to support the SMNHC’s Traveling Ecology Field Program.

The Traveling Ecology Field Program is an innovative, four-hour program that introduces students across the state to their local ecosystem. Trained naturalists from the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center meet students in a local “wild area” such as a state park or national forest and lead them on a hands-on, discovery-based journey into the natural world around them. This free, standards-based program will introduce over 1,500 students to the beauty and wonder of New Mexico.

The SMNHC is a featured partner in the Sierra Club’s nation-wide initiative, Building Bridges to the Outdoors (BBTO). The Sierra Club began awarding its Building Bridges to the Outdoors grants to New Mexico organizations in 2007, in response to recent studies suggesting that outdoor programs can reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and the effects of attention deficit disorder.

According to BBTO Southwest Youth Program Representative, Kristina Ortez de Jones, “The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center provides essential outdoor education to New Mexico schoolchildren. We have long supported their efforts."

Museum Executive Director, Hollis J. Gillespie said, “We are grateful to the Sierra Club, and the Sierra Club Foundation, for recognizing our efforts in environmental education; our outreach will reach further as a result of their generosity.”

By the end of the school year, SMNHC staff will have traveled over a thousand miles delivering the Ecology Field Program to elementary-aged students in New Mexico.

About the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center
The SMNHC is an award-winning environmental education center located in the Sandia Mountains just east of Albuquerque. This beautiful 128-acre piñon-juniper forest is owned by Albuquerque Public Schools and operated by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Operating since 1967, the SMNHC has over five miles of hiking trails and serves approximately 17,000 people a year. The SMNHC provides exciting experiences with a variety of programs for people of all ages.

About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, is a regional center of excellence in scientific research, exhibits, and science education.
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