Bosque Education Guide

This Guide is a resource book of background information, activities and curriculum suggestions to help all educators teach others (Kindergarten through 12th grade students) about the bosque. The Guide is a newly released major revision of the popular curriculum to teach about the Middle Rio Grande Valley ecosystem. The new edition is 621 pages and has activities for elementary through high school students. Click on the chapters below to find PDF downloads of selected content and activities.

More information about this curriculum.

Upcoming Professional Development Workshops

Click here for additional ecological and bosque background PDFs

Click here for a bilingual Glossary of Plants and Animals included in the curriculum (82.4kb PDF)

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 1: Introduction presents the concept of using the bosque as a focus for instruction.
Chapter 2: Bosque Background
Chapter 2: Bosque Background includes background information on both the bosque and on many ecological concepts that are important for understanding the bosque.
Chapter 3: Going Out - Field Activities
Chapter 3: Going Out - Field Activities compiles an assortment of field activities to support multiple visits to the bosque. These include activities that support observation skills, as well as activities to develop critical thinking skills.
Chapter 4: River of Change
Chapter 4: River of Change is devoted to creating a cloth and paper model of the river valley that can be used for many lessons. The River of Change model, which is designed for classroom use, is unique to this program.
Chapter 5: Meandering Channels
Chapter 5: Meandering Channels compiles classroom and schoolyard-based activities that do not utilize the river model.
Chapter 6: Fire in the Rio Grande Bosque
Dry weather and a changes bosque ecosystem have made fires a common occurrence in recent years. Large bosque fires have increased public awareness of this fragile ecosystem, but there is still much to learn about riparian fires.
Chapter 7: Living Like We Love It
Chapter 7: Living Like We Love It - Service Learning and Outreach explores the potential of making the bosque a focal point for service-learning opportunities.
Includes various references for the Bosque Education Guide including a glossary, NM Science Standards Correlation, and more.


The Bosque Education Guide is dedicated to Clifford Crawford, professor emeritus of biology at the University of New Mexico, long- time bosque researcher, co-author of Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem: Bosque Biological Management Plan, director of the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program, key supporter of the Bosque Improvement Group, and treasured mentor and colleague.


  By Cynthia G. Abeyta Middle Rio Grande Coordinator/Hydrologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


he Rio Grande bosque (riparian forest) is a priceless resource that stretches alongside the majestic Rio Grande. As the Rio Grande experiences signifi- cant changes due to natural and anthropologic activities, so does the bosque.

Understanding the effects of these dynamic processes is necessary in sustaining a quality environment for all beings that live in, adjacent to, or at a distance from the Rio Grande. The vulnerability of the Rio Grande and the bosque to over-use and development, degradation, fuels loading, encroachment of invasive species, etc., is a major concern to many.


The principal objective of this guide is to provide an exciting hands-on environmental education program for teachers (K–12) so that current and future generations will be equipped with a better technical understanding of the dynamic processes that occur in the Rio Grande and its bosque. Today’s students are the resource managers of the future. Information provided in this guide makes learning, and teaching, about our environment and natural resources fun. The hands-on activities provide educators and students opportunities to experience and appreciate one of our country’s most remarkable natural resources, the Rio Grande and its bosque, a resource many of us take for granted.


The proven success of the first edition of the Bosque Education Guide (published in

1995) has resulted in continued support from the Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initia- tive for production of its second edition. The Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initiative ( is an ongoing, congressionally supported interagency eco- system management effort with the objective of protecting, enhancing, and restoring biological values by addressing ecological functions within the Middle Rio Grande. The Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initiative is guided by the Bosque Improvement Group (BIG). BIG is an informal non-exclusive “think tank” that provides a forum for those interested in the Rio Grande and its bosque. BIG participants include federal, tribal, state, city, county, and local government agencies, educational institutions, private industry, non-profit organizations, and private individuals.


The Middle Rio Grande Bosque Initiative and BIG are grateful to Bosque Education Guide project coordinators Mary Stuever, Letitia Morris, Rebecca Tydings, and Lisa Ellis, the many others who have contributed to production of the guide, and the educators and students who have utilized this valuable educational program. We are confident this new edition of the guide will continue to equip current and future generations with a solid foundation for better understanding, appreciat- ing, and protecting this vital natural resource, the Rio Grande and its bosque.


Forward, Preface, and Acknowledgements (161kB PDF)