Environmental Education of NM’s Community Response to COVID-19

NMDOH COVID-19 Website – cv.nmhealth.org

Coronavirus hotline HEALTH-RELATED questions: 855-600-3453

Coronavirus hotline for FAMILY SUPPORT AND NON-HEALTH-RELATED questions: 833-551-0518

Donations to support Hopi and Diné families can be made here: https://www.navajohopisolidarity.org/

New Mexico Out of School Time Network also has really great community info (including meal info, childcare options, and at-home activities) and other resources available here: https://nmost.org/covid-19-resources!


1. SIXTEEN virtual community check-ins since mid-March. Each community check-in is designed to allow for educators, teachers, program managers, and community members to share their challenges and successes. These check-ins are critical as they allow EENM to stay community-centered and respond to the quickly changing needs of our community of outdoor and environmental educators (and beyond)! Notes are now available as one document (from newest to oldest check-ins) here: EENM – COVID-19 Community Check-Ins-7

2. Coaching on Communicating with Funders. EENM is developing, collating and sharing new and best practices for talking with funders about converting program-specific funding to general operating funds. These communication practices around converting funding emphasize the value of organizations re-orienting to build program and organizational capacityinstead of offering in-person programming during these times of “staying at home”: Building Program and Organizational Capacity during COVID-19.

3. Centering equity, inclusion and justice every day and during the COVID 19 crisis.EENM is committed to equitable education outdoors. In this time of social distancing, this looks like: awareness raising about the structural inequities of online and distance learning across New Mexico, supporting conversations of alternatives to online opportunities through our community check-ins, and amplifying existing tools for working for equity, inclusion and justice. On April 20, 2020, we released the following on why distance learning can lead to the unintended consequences of creating a larger academic gap for our more vulnerable, less resourced students: Inequities of distance learning-2.                                                               

EENM amplified the 21 day Racial Equity Challenge with facilitated virtual conversations to explore shared learnings from the issues, concepts and tools addressed through the racial equity challenge. In these virtual conversations (April 15, 2020 and May 6, 2020) we explored how we individually and collectively create more inclusive and equitable spaces for ourselves, our students, and our communities.

4. Providing information on economic relief through the CARES Act as well as New Mexico-specific opportunities like those opportunities compiled here: Economic Relief for NM Nonprofits, Small Businesses, and Independent Contractors.

5. Sharing the “Wisdom to Live By During a Global Pandemic” mini-video series created by our amazing Exploring Equitable Education Outdoors Fellows. This four part series is filled with great perspective including “Getting Grounded”, “Connecting”, “The Health of Us and Our Planet”, and “Centering Equity”.

6. Online Workshops: “Bringing NGSS Outdoors with the NM STEM Ready! Standards”. We converted our popular 2-day workshop into a meaningful online opportunity. EENM offered two trainings in May, one during the week of May 11th and one during the week of May 18th. Each training involves 90 minutes of online time with other educators for four days and is designed to provide a deep dive into the innovations of next generation science standards along with resources and tools for brining these standards outdoors. We are offering two additional trainings this summer (June 15-18 and June 29-July 2). Both summer trainings are full.

7. Connecting New Mexicans with resources beyond New Mexico such as those through the North American Association for EE including free webinars and other resources available here: https://naaee.org/our-work/programs/covid-19-resources-tips-and-support.



  1. Virtual Multi-State Summit: We are working with our amazing counterparts in Colorado and Maine to provide a virtual multi-state summit in summer 2020 to support a community-generated new vision for the field of EE when we emerge from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Save the date:

“Shifting Towards Equity”:  Community Visioning for EE during and after COVID-19″

July 8, 12:00-2:30pm Eastern, 10am-12:30 Mountain and 

July 22nd 12:30-2:00 pm Eastern,10:30-12:00 Mountain

Join environmental and outdoor educators from Maine, New Mexico, and Colorado in an interactive virtual summit exploring the shifts occurring in environmental and outdoor learning at home, at school, and in our communities as a result of COVID-19.  We will explore inequities that have become even more exposed, and brainstorm the shifts that still need to occur to ensure that EVERYONE has opportunities for environmental and outdoor learning every day! Participants will have the opportunity to share, discuss, and explore these shifts and the strategies needed to navigate the changing educational landscape while holding equity at the center.  Learnings from this virtual convening will be collated and shared at a follow-up virtual gathering on July 22nd.  Limited space available to ensure a quality interactive virtual experience. Registration info coming soon.

Virtual Weekly Community Check-ins

Why does EENM host these community check-ins?

  • Our work is community-centered
  • We know our community has thoughtful, innovative ways to respond to challenges
  • Environmental educators are systems thinkers whose thinking can benefit NM right now

Beginning, Monday, March 16th, EENM began hosting virtual community check-ins. For the first month we hosted two check-in per week (one for program managers and one for educators, teachers, and community members) and then at the urging of the community, combined groups. Many resources and ideas are shared and notes from those meetings are compiled below:

EENM – COVID-19 Community Check-Ins-7

MONDAYS from 4-5 p.m. – ALL community members 

Please join the ecoed list serve for more info, including links to join (https://eenm.org/programs/ecoed/). Please make sure to include who you are and where you work for quick approval to join the list serve.

Environmental Education Resources to share with

youth and families at home:

Quick note: Although there are many wonderful virtual learning opportunities that are popping up, it’s important to be mindful that many children and their family do not have access or have limited access to the internet and computers at this time. Let us all be thoughtful of ways we can distribute this information to our communities in other ways than virtually. 

Read more about the Structural Inequities of Distance Learning here: Inequities of distance learning.

Resources compiled by the North American Association for Environmental Education including for Home-based Distance Learning: https://naaee.org/our-work/programs/covid-19-resources-tips-and-support.


Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s Take It Outside Program – Daily activities and challenges – https://peecnature.org/take-it-outside/


Nature activities from Nature Matters with Dr. Jenny: https://www.naturemattersacademy.com/newslettersignup


Sandia Mountain Natural History Center is posting daily activities on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SMNHC1/


Activities available at Nature Ninos: https://www.natureninos.org


Cinco Puntos Press is sharing daily video storytelling with Joe Hayes in English and Spanish via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/5puntosbooks/

Starting April 6th, PBS began airing lessons for APS students, more info herehttps://www.newmexicopbs.org/what-we-do/education/aps-at-home/.

AND remember to follow CDC guidelines and stay 6 feet apart from one another, even when outside.

To also respond to community feedback, here’s some handy links for online meetings:

Free video chat platforms: https://www.cnet.com/news/7-free-video-chat-apps-to-use-while-youre-social-distancing/

Zoom video tutorials: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials

More info on Zoom’s efforts to support educators through COVID-19 and additional resources: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/13/how-to-use-zoom-for-online-learning/

Free tools, including video conferencing for schools and educators from Google: https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/g-suite/helping-businesses-and-schools-stay-connected-in-response-to-coronavirus


EcoEd Listserv