Member Feature: Joe Garcia

Joe Garcia sees connections everywhere. Constantly observing nature and learning from even the youngest teachers, he is a font of wisdom in and out of the garden.

This month, our featured members are also the pilot candidates in our EE Certification Program. Applications are now open for our 2016-17 class of certified environmental educators. Read more and apply here.
Joe Garcia

Joe with the turkey call he received when he won the 2015 Becker Award.

Joe is all about the big picture. Since he began his teaching career in the 1990’s, he has been striving to teach his students about the holistic relationships between the Earth and all its inhabitants.

Joe came to the La Plazita Institute as student volunteer, and has been on the staff for 11 years. He works with students in “all different situations across the spectrum of learning,” from preschool to adults.

He is the Farm Education Director and oversees a cherished program called Garden Wisdom. He encourages his students to examine ancestral wisdom from all cultures in order to learn from the Earth and apply it to their lives.

Joe teaches UNM and high school students in the Garden Wisdom program about horticulture, agro-ecology, eco-psychology, permaculture design and leadership. He can connect any student’s field of study to gardening—just ask him!

Ever the student of life, Joe says that second graders are his best teachers. He is inspired by their curiosity, willingness to explore new things and ability to make everything fun. He takes this to heart by continually growing his own knowledge of the Earth and seeking ways to share it.

His gratefulness for life’s many opportunities extends to EE Certification, which he sees as a “precious opportunity.” Joe’s journey through the EE Certification program has helped him to focus his work and find more ways to share it. He has already begun to integrate what he’s learned into his garden programming and is developing a curriculum that can be used at other sites.

Like other candidates for EE Certification, he values the insight he has gained from looking at the evolution of his career thus far. He also cites the networking with colleagues as a benefit of the program. Gushing thanks for the opportunity to be part of the program, he shares his excitement for future candidates to travel their own road of career development. He touts the role of professional advisors, and he expresses his hopes for his own ability to diversify and further the field.

He hopes that the certification program will encourage others to join the field. He says, “Environmental education is the best career to have!”

Joe believes the best way to truly learn is to share with others, and this belief is woven into all of his programs. Joe grows more than plants in his garden. He also grows a community of environmental stewards, fed by love and respect for the Earth.

Joe also won EEANM’s 2015 Richard Becker Award for Excellence in Environmental Education. You can read more about him here.

Want to join Joe and hundreds of other awesome members of the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico? (We’d love that!) Click over here to join our community today.