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Asombro Institute pulling for Heinrich’s Living Schoolyards Act


The Asombro Institute for Science Education (AISE) is excited about a bill introduced in May by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, the Living Schoolyards Act, which would authorize federal outdoor learning spaces grants to help schools and organizations like AISE “create outdoor learning spaces and develop living schoolyards,” AISE said in a news release.

Asombro has been providing opportunities for students across New Mexico to learn outdoors for more than 30 years, primarily at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park east of Las Cruces, which the nonprofit owns and manages.

This year, Asombro designed and implemented the Schoolyard Field Trip Program in partnership with

Las Cruces Public Schools, AISE said. These “field trips” are two-hour programs that take place on the school’s playground and surrounding outdoor spaces. The program focuses on interdisciplinary outdoor learning and has been “incredibly popular with teachers, as they don't require bus costs, parent permission slips, lunch arrangements and other logistics,” AISE said.

Asombro also emphasizes training teachers to utilize outdoor spaces, the news release said. AISE has created a professional development model to give teachers materials, lessons, training and confidence to use the schoolyard for outdoor learning.

In the last year, Asombro has held several teacher workshops in Las Cruces and Alamogordo, AISE said, and, as a result, more teachers are taking their students out of the classroom and enriching their education with outdoor learning tools and experiences.

“My Living Schoolyards Act will provide grants to help more schools build thriving outdoor learning environments on their campuses,” Henrich said.

Visit www.asombro.org and www.greenschoolyards.org/living-schoolyards-act.

Asombro Institute, Live Schoolyards, Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park