Sandia Mountain Natural History Center


The Center and its staff educate New Mexico students about ecology, ecosystems, the environment and conservation. The Center also hosts teacher workshops on science and ecology.


The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC) is a beautiful 128-acre piece of pinon-juniper forest owned by the Albuquerque Public School System, and run by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS). As part of New Mexico EPSCoR’s education goal to reach a large and diverse population in both urban and rural areas, funding was provided to the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center for extra staff to give tours to school groups interested in the Ecology Field Programs. SMNHC employee Rosie Norlander, hired through EPSCoR funding, led a group of 5th grade students from A. Montoya Elementary on the Ecology Field Program. The students followed Rosie on a 2-hour walking tour of the forest, learning about what an ecosystem is, the aspects of nature that join to create ecosystems, the different kinds of trees and wildlife in the Sandia Mountains, how to properly catalogue plants and animals, how to observe without disturbing any surroundings, and much more. Students performed hands-on observations in order to understand human connections to ecosystems. The SMNHC teaches over 10,000 students a year about the interconnectedness of nature, and how to protect it.


Partnership with the NMMNHS and the SMNHC via funding for education staff achieves the NM EPSCoR education objective to develop a citizenry informed about climate change and its impacts on the state of New Mexico.