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3 NM groups awarded grants for environmental education

Created: 08/04/2014 8:57 AM

TIJERAS, N.M. -- The Board of Directors of Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc., has announced the award of three new Talking Talons Community Fund grants to local, youth-oriented non-profits: the University of New Mexico's Wild Friends Program, Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District and the Moriarty-Edgewood Schools Early Childhood Center.

The University of New Mexico Foundation's Wild Friends program grant will fund live wildlife presentations to the seven Wild Friends schools in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties. A program of the UNM School of Law, Wild Friends provides experiential education integrating civics with wildlife science to teach students about the democratic process. Students develop good citizenship skills, and contribute to wildlife conservation by becoming involved in public policy projects. 

"This  funding will help enhance and enrich the hands-on educational experiences that are the heart of our work, and we are delighted to partner with Talking Talons,” said Susan George, Director of the Wild Friends Program.

"The UNM Wild Friends program is a way for students to learn how civic engagement and effecting changes at the policy level are two of the most powerful forces for the protection of our natural resources," said Genevieve Barrett, Talking Talons Board Member and Community Fund Advisory Board chairperson.

Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District has been awarded a grant to fund supplemental classroom education for 6th grade students in some Albuquerque Public Schools. Focusing on the  impacts of human activity in the urban environment and how it affects water quality in the Rio Grande, this program shows students the importance of reducing human-caused pollution in order to sustain the integrity of the Rio Grande as a source of drinking water, as habitat for endangered species, and as a recreational resource.

This program will use the proven highly effective Rolling River watershed model to enhance their understanding of the Middle Rio Grande urbanized watershed. With this knowledge, students can then share their experiences with family, peers and friends, thus becoming leaders in reducing discharges of pollutants from the urban environment into the Rio Grande.

"Water-in-motion is not an easily understood phenomenon in our climate, where we can truly only witness the movement of water in our landscape during major storm events. The Rolling River watershed model really captures the reality of what happens, both naturally and man-made, to the water we all depend on," said Ms. Barrett.

The Moriarty-Edgewood Early Childhood Center has been awarded a grant in support of its program that enriches early childhood learning with hands-on exposure to and exploration of their environment. Throughout the school year, children will mainly learn the "Why?" behind our collective need to protect our water resources. Water falling from the sky, how water magically appears in our homes, where water goes when flowing down the drain and the natural systems that purify our water will be observed, discussed and reinforced with science, technology, engineering and math exercises and field trips woven directly into their everyday education.

Talking Talons Youth Leadership’s Community Fund was established to assist the mission and program delivery of nonprofit organizations within Central New Mexico (Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Torrance Counties).

Talking Talons Youth Leadership was founded in the fall of 1988 by Wendy Crouch Aeschliman, an educator and registered nurse with Albuquerque Public Schools. Talking Talons delivers high quality, independently tested curriculum to educate Central New Mexico youth promoting environmental literacy, stewardship and leadership.

Talking Talons' programs are offered in school classrooms, community workshops and through the organization’s Biological Field Station located in the Cibola National Forest. Current funding for Talking Talons Youth Leadership programs is from federal, state, corporate and private sources; and, from the operation of the Talking Talons Thrift Store.

The Talking Talons Thrift Store is located at 12159 N. Highway 14 in Cedar Crest and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Talking Talons' mission is "To elevate youth to become effective advocates and ethical stewards of themselves, wildlife and the environment."


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