Kids Exploring Nature in Albuquerque’s Oldest Neighborhood

Cal and Kids Cutting Riobbon at Grand Opening

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, October 19, 2018 – Children, parents and teachers came together for the grand opening of the Children’s Garden, a certified Nature Explore Classroom, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  By: Marc Thomas.

The Children’s Garden is an outdoor space that offers interactive elements such as musical instruments, garden areas and natural materials for building and creating art.

When the clock struck 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, children from the Young Musicians Initiative greeted guests and fellow classmates with a musical performance.

Cal Joyner, Southwestern Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service, shared with the children what an important role nature has played in his life.

Three children then shared why they like nature and their favorite parts of the new outdoor classroom.

Rebecca Avitia, Executive Director, National Hispanic Cultural Center, told the kids that this would be their place to come play, and then dozens of anxious children cut the ribbon revealing their new garden and it was quickly filled with curious and playful minds.

Kids could be seen planting flowers, painting their favorite elements from nature and playing the marimba.

According to Forest Service Regional Cooperative Education Coordinator Apple Snider, there is an important takeaway from this event. “Children who have positive experiences outdoors are more likely to want to protect nature as adults,” said Snider. “It’s crucial that kids get outdoors, learning and having fun for the future of the Forest Service and our public lands.”

The Nature Explore Children’s Garden gives more opportunity to children who live in urban areas to regularly interact with nature. 

This safe, comfortable space not only allows for nature enrichment opportunities, but also builds a “bridge” to nearby wilder spaces like the Bosque Trail and other walking paths in the region.

This project was a partnership between the USDA Forest Service, the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.

View more photos from the event hosted on Flickr.


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