SANTA FE – The Public Education Department this week announced a $300,000 investment in the Outdoor Learning Program, awarding grants to six schools and four school districts to help promote innovation and expand access to outdoor learning and environmental education. The ten grant recipients will each receive an average of $30,000 to support the development of outdoor learning programs.
10 grant recipients will receive an average of $30,000 to support the development of external learning programs.
“Opportunities to learn in the natural world help students reduce stress and engage creativity,” Public Education Secretary Dr. Kurt Steinhaus said. “The Outdoor Learning Program is another way we can help students succeed academically and emotionally.”
The grants will give teachers resources and activities that promote discovery, experimentation and connection to the natural world. Spending class time outdoors can help students think beyond the blackboard and engage them in the real-life application of their schoolwork.
“The goal of each grant is to increase teacher confidence in utilizing outdoor spaces, provide high-quality instruction aligned to standards and expand all students’ access to outdoor learning opportunities,” said Shafiq Chaudhary, the Public Education Department’s math and science director.
Grant applications explored a variety of topics ranging from the creation of new outdoor learning spaces to plans to include outdoor experiences in all core subjects.
- Alamogordo Public Schools;
- Albuquerque Public Schools;
- Aztec Municipal Schools;
- Las Cruces Public Schools;
- Monte del Sol Charter School;
- Mountain Mahogany Community School;
- Native American Community Academy;
- Rio Gallinas School for Ecology and the Arts;
- Siembra Leadership High School;
- Vista Grande High School.
Last spring, the PED received a $500,000 legislative appropriation to expand outdoor learning opportunities after a multi-agency task force recommended the department issue grants to local education agencies and create two outdoor learning specialist positions to establish an Outdoor Learning Program.