An Extraordinary Year for Environmental Education in New Mexico

Thanks to our amazing community, 2021 was filled with incredible accomplishments to advance environmental education in New Mexico! At the beginning of 2021, we celebrated the release of Every Kid, Every Day, Every Way after multiple years of conversations statewide with more than 200 individuals and the support of the 17 wonderful EENM Fellows from the 2020 cohort. This shared vision and strategy, the first of its kind in the country, provides a framework for systemic change to support equitable daily access to the outdoors and environmental learning in New Mexico. This document now guides all that EENM does. Here are some of the ways that EENM, our partners, and the EENM Fellows supported the implementation of Every Kid, Every Day, Every Way in 2021:

  • In late February, Senate Memorial 1 (SM1) in support of Outdoor Classrooms,sponsored by NM Senator Siah Correa Hemphillpassed the NM Legislature with bipartisan support. SM1 established New Mexico’s first Outdoor Learning Week (launched at the end of September) and the Interagency Outdoor Classroom Task Force.
  • In the summer, along with our valued partners at the USDA Forest Service-Southwestern Region and the Arizona Association for Environmental Education, the State of Outdoor and Environmental Learning (SOEL): A Landscape Analysis of Opportunities in the Southwest was released. As a result, NM became one of the first in the country to have an inventory and tool like this, which highlights more than 400 programs across the state.
  • In July, 19 new outstanding and dedicated EENM Fellows began the 2021 cohort.
  • Through the late summer and fall, EENM hosted and facilitated the first two meetings of the Interagency Outdoor Classroom Task Force.
  • To highlight diverse outdoor classrooms across the state, EENM released New Mexico Outdoor Classrooms: A Collection of Case Studies.
  • In November, EENM helped present recommendations from the Interagency Outdoor Classroom Task Force to the NM Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC). 
  • EENM drafted, secured hundreds of signatures on, and delivered an outdoor learning sign-on letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, LESC Chair Senator William Soules, and NM Secretary of Education, Kurt Steinhaus.

The EENM Leadership Team, including the Board of Directors and staff, is grateful to everyone who attended a community gathering, signed the outdoor learning sign-on letter, contributed to the SOEL, joined EENM as a member or made a donation, and conducted outdoor and environmental learning with youth in 2021. Your perspective, experience, and knowledge have been invaluable in the implementation of Every Kid, Every Day, Every Way thus far, and we’re looking forward to continuing to realize our shared vision and strategy together in community with you!