Outdoor Learning Week

September 26 – October 1, 2022

Let’s get New Mexico’s kids outdoors to learn! 

Outdoor Learning Week 2022 Proclamation from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

Celebrate the second annual New Mexico Outdoor Learning Week with EENM by participating in the Outdoor Learning Prize Drawing, by joining us at the free, virtual Outdoor Learning Symposium, by getting kids outside to learn with one of the great activities featured below, or by doing all of the above! All children in New Mexico deserve the meaningful experiences and sense of discovery that result from outdoor learning. Research shows that when we support youth in daily outdoor experiences, they are healthier and gain the knowledge and skills to innovate solutions to social and environmental issues.1

Free Outdoor Learning Prize Drawing for Educators and Organizations

During Outdoor Learning Week, engage students in your favorite outdoor learning activity, or check out the free lessons and activities below for ideas! Snap a photo, and share it on social media to be entered in a drawing for a prize. Individual educators can win a free $50 gift card to a local establishment in your area, and organizations can win a free one-year EENM organizational membership – along with all the valuable benefits

Educators, there are two ways to enter the EENM #OutdoorLearningWeekNM Drawing:

  1. If your social media accounts are public, post a photo of your students participating in outdoor learning, and tag EENM’s Twitter (@newmexicoee), Facebook (@newmexicoee), and/or Instagram (@enviroednm) accounts.
  2. If your social media accounts are private, leave a comment about your outdoor learning activity (with a photo if possible) on the daily Outdoor Learning Week posts on our TwitterFacebook, and/or Instagram accounts.

Limit: one entry per individual or organization. Questions? Email info@eenm.org.

Plus, when you tag EENM in your post from your public social media account, we’ll share it to highlight how you get kids outside in New Mexico! Be sure to watch our socials for lots of inspiration during the week!

Outdoor Learning Symposium

Just in time for Outdoor Learning Week, the fall edition of the Outdoor Learning Symposium will showcase outdoor classrooms and curricula in action! Along with the Conservation Science Center at NM Highlands University, we will host two virtual, free symposium sessions on September 27 and 29 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm MST. Join us to hear from inspiring educators from across the state discuss their design and build processes and teaching strategies for outdoor classrooms, and learn about activities from locally designed, standards-aligned curricula that can be facilitated in the schoolyard, outdoor classroom, or out in the field. Learn more and register here.

Outdoor Learning Lessons and Activities for All Ages

Use these free, NM-focused resources developed by our partners to provide your students with inspiration, meaningful learning experiences, and fun during Outdoor Learning Week and beyond!

All Ages
Bird Observation and Drawing: all ages, science and art, developed by Audubon Southwest
Practice drawing skills, and then go outside to observe and draw organisms in nature.

Garden Musings: all ages, science and art, developed by the Santa Fe Botanical Garden
Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s 2020 Earth Day project, Garden Musings, includes a set of 12 mindful, observation-based activities to do outdoors with very few materials; try one or all 12 with your students.

Going Out – Field Activities (for visits to the bosque): all ages, science, developed by the Bosque Education Guide
This chapter from the Bosque Education Guide compiles an assortment of field activities to support multiple visits to the bosque.

Meandering Channels: all ages, science, developed by the Bosque Education Guide
This chapter from the Bosque Education Guide compiles classroom and schoolyard-based activities about the Rio Grande grouped by these topics: natural history, geology, water, and human influence.

Nature Journaling: all ages, science and ELA, developed by the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program
One way to monitor the environment is through nature journaling! When doing this activity, we invite you to slow down, be present, and pay attention.

The Lost Words: all ages, ELA and art, developed by the Railyard Park Conservancy
In this lesson inspired by The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, students connect to the natural world found in their own backyards, parks, and trails, by exploring, observing, drawing, photographing, reading and writing about natural elements.

Water Walk: all ages, science, developed by the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program and Valencia Water Conservation District
This outdoor observatory walk focused on watershed health is a great way for students to get some outdoor time, benefit from fresh air and physical exercise, and the opportunity to connect to the ecosystems surrounding their local schools and/or homes.

Your Monitoring Site: all ages, science, developed by the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program
In this lesson, you will explore another way to monitor the environment by creating your own monitoring site.

A Walk in the Woods: K-3rd grade, science, developed by the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
Use this field journal to observe and identify living things in the schoolyard or your backyard.

Ecosystem Quadrat and Lesson Plan: 5th grade, science, developed by the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center
Observe everything present in a quadrat placed on the ground outside, and draw and record observations.

Scavenger Hunt (en Espanol): 5th grade, science and ELA, developed by the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center
A scavenger hunt for searching for natural things in an ecosystem and understanding their importance.

Middle School
Students Using LandPKS to Share Data, Information, and Knowledge: 5-8th grade, science, developed by the Asombro Institute for Science Education
Learners collect data on soil properties, land cover, and other characteristics of one or more sites in the schoolyard or local area; they then use the data they collected to generate Land Capability Classifications using the free LandPKS app.

1Nicole M. Ardoin, Alison W. Bowers, Noelle Wyman Roth & Nicole Holthuis (2018) Environmental education and K-12 student outcomes: A review and analysis of research, The Journal of Environmental Education, 49:1, 1-17, DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2017.1366155