Outdoor Learning in NM during COVID19 – Resources and Support (updated January 2021)

When we support kids in daily experiences outdoors through in-school and out-of-school opportunities in their communities and beyond, kids are healthier and gain the knowledge, skills, and ongoing curiosity to innovate social and environmental problems. This has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 global pandemic. We need your help and assistance in spreading the word about the incredible outdoor learning occurring and the potential for every child to have access to outdoor learning right now!
In fall 2020, Environmental Education of New Mexico (EENM) worked with our incredible Leadership Team, Exploring Equitable Education Outdoors Fellows, and opened up to all of you in outdoor and environmental education community to draft New Mexico’s Outdoor Learning Guidance in support of New Mexico’s School Reentry Guidance for the 2020-2021 school year. This Outdoor Learning Guidance, released by the New Mexico Public Education Department in October 2020 was one of the first released in the country!
To support the Outdoor Learning Guidance, we launched outdoorlearningnm.org in September 2020 to provide a centralized warehouse of resources and support for school administrators, teachers, parents/guardians, families, students, and decision makers. This resource has a variety of curated resources to support “Parents & Families” and “Teachers & Administrators” across the Land of Enchantment with implementing outdoor learning at home, in communities, and at school during and after COVID-19, including links to community-based individuals, organizations, agencies, and schools. And we need your help!
Here’s how you can take action today to support outdoor learning in New Mexico during COVID-19 and beyond:
1. We want to share the incredible work you’re doing in local communities across the Land of Enchantment. If you are supporting outdoor learning in New Mexico, please take a few moments to fill out this google form: https://forms.gle/KixdUhahoKkeMRCp9. Please share this google form with other community-based organizations supporting outdoor learning. This is all included in outdoorlearningnm.org.
2. Share outdoorlearningnm.org! Teachers, please send along this resource to parents and families. Email the Outdoor Learning Guidance and outdoorlearningm.org to school administrators as there are resources and support available to start outdoor learning at home, in communities, and at school today! Please share if this is something that your social media followers might be interested in.
3. Check out one of the webinars on outdoorlearningnm.org. The Introduction to Outdoor Learning at Home, in Communities, and at Schools webinar series was designed for parents/guardians, teachers, school staff, and community members in exploring outdoor learning at home, in community, and at school and gaining access to resources and support across the state of New Mexico. The webinars include Social and Emotional Learning in the OutdoorsStandards-aligned Outdoor Learning, and Cultural Responsiveness in Outdoor Learning. Share these with colleagues!
All of this support for outdoor learning during the COVID-19 global pandemic directly aligns with our larger, community-generated vision of “Every Kid, Every Day, Every Way” to support daily, equitable access to the outdoors and environmental learning for every New Mexican child. We will be releasing Every Kid, Every Day, Every Way: A multi-year shared vision and strategy to provide daily equitable access to the outdoors and environmental learning for all New Mexico kids in February so please stay tuned!
Lastly, we will be sharing more information in the coming weeks, but we at EENM are thrilled to be partnering with Wild Friends on a Senate Memorial in the 2021 Legislative Session to support outdoor classrooms and outdoor learning. We’ll be sharing out more information on this piece of policy and ways for your voice to engage in encouraging even more outdoor learning across the Land of Enchantment!