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Kiwanis Learning Garden was built by Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque in 1998 to inspire in New Mexican families a love of nature. It was later expanded by the NM Museum of Natural History & Science to be a picnic spot. Since May 2013, families have gathered once a week to be its caretakers, exploring the outdoor space, planning how to plant and create a garden that is for animals, humans and plants. See more background about this important part of the museum here.
Ways you can experience the garden. . .
Kiwanis Garden Discovery Hour for Preschools -- Wednesday mornings
Provide the children in your preK program with a visit to the garden classroom. Explore a wildlife habitat garden planned by children and their families from the Family Stewardship Collaborative (see below).
Thanks to Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque, longtime community supporter of children through built outdoor environments, preK classrooms may visit free of charge on Wednesday mornings.
Let us give you time to explore bugs, dig worms, water plants, search for shelters, sow seedlings, collect building materials, sing songs -- discover together in a garden classroom. Themes vary each month: Soil - February & November; Seeds - March & October; Pollination - April & September; Photosynthesis & Water - May & August. An outline of the program will be emailed to the teacher who registers.
If you would like to schedule a visit, please email CC firstname.lastname@example.org to see which available Wednesday is available. Morning arrival times are flexible: 9, 9:30, or 10 a.m.. Extra adults are always welcome. Please have children wear hats and sunscreen. Bring your own lunch to eat after program! Water and light snack provided. Each participant gets a Take Home packet.
#KidsNeedKiwanis -- Kiwanis Needs You
Garden Workshops for Families – Fall & Spring
Garden Workshops for Families provide opportunities for families with children ages 4 to 12 to explore biology, garden practices, soil science, water in the desert, and much more in an outdoor garden setting. This program is hands-on and encourages independent exploration; this is a STEAM program, incorporating creative art, music, poetry with science discovery. Included is a healthy, theme-based snack and a take home packet.
$15 per family - limited to 12 families.
Preregistration required - see link on Calendar of Events.
Email Cirrelda.email@example.com or call 505 948-1615
Prickly Pear Family Workshop
Saturday, October 21 10:00 am—Noon
Discover the Fall Garden with your family – Prickly Pear Harvest, Garlic Planting, Windmill Workings, Why Worms, Mulching Manners, and more!
Seedlings Garden Workshop
Saturday, April 20 10:00 am—Noon
Celebrate Earth Day with your children in the Learning Garden – How to Thin, Soil Tests, Seed Balls, Test Your Seed IQ, and more!
$15 per family - limited to 12 families.
Family Stewardship Collaborative
Kiwanis Learning Garden Family Afterschool Program is a project of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Education Department. It was envisioned with help from The New Mexico Wonder of Learning Collaborative.
When We Meet On first Tuesday of the month and third Wednesday of the month from 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm (School Year) 8:30-11:00 am (Summer)
One Sunday a month 3:30-5:30 "Garden Gathering for Maintenance"
Coordinator: Cirrelda Snider (505) 948-1615; firstname.lastname@example.org
Joining Membership is limited to 8 families. If you would like to join the Afterschool Family Stewardship Collaborative, please contact the Garden Coordinator to be put on waiting list. A sliding fee of $20-50 every 6 months is required and a commitment to contribute your ideas, skills, and time is what makes it work. Please contact our Garden Projects Coordinator: Cirrelda Snider at (505) 948-1615 or email@example.com for more information.
In-House Garden Programs
For preK-12 classrooms, home school groups, and play groups. Check out the garden opportunities that you and your group will be able to enjoy! Selected activities will change depending on age of group.
Discover Soil – February and November
Sink your hands into soil to learn about its amazing function on our planet. Explore our ‘Worm Farm,’ conduct ‘Soil Tests’ you can take back to your playground, process with ‘Life in Soil Art,’ think through the ‘Soil is a Filter’ experiment.
Discover Seeds – March and October
Seeds hold the future of a plant inside. By creating ‘Seed Balls’ and ‘Newspaper Pots,’ students learn ways to start a new plant’s life. By ‘Planting Cool or Warm Season Seeds to Take Home’ we learn about different plants’ needs. ‘Flowers are Seed Factories’ explains germination. Process and expand through ‘Seed Art.’
Discover Pollination – April and September
Plants need animals! We make ‘Insect Hotels,’ ‘Paint a Water Dish,’ ‘Make Bird Feeders’ to support the wildlife that supports plants. With a ‘Hunt for Flower Shapes’ (seasonal activity), we discover the ways plants attract different types of pollinators.
Discover Photosynthesis – May and August
Plants create their own food, making our planet unique. We make a leaf to know its ‘Leaf Anatomy’ and where and how the food gets made. ‘How Plants Drink & Breathe’ experiments reveal plants’ processes. ‘Wind Power’ tunes us in to air, and helps us understand the windmill in the garden. ‘Watering with Ollas’ shows ways we can reuse plastic containers to help get water to the roots.
Discover Ground Water – any month by request
Surface water vs. groundwater - what's the difference? Use monitors on the 2 wells in the garden to measure how deep water is below us. Grow with Groundwater and make your own aquifer model to take home. Play a game about the water cycle in the Rio Grande Valley. Learn ways to get water out of the ground. What are ways we can help keep groundwater clean?
Discover Garden Practices – vary by month
Spend your garden time in the acts that keep plants healthy and thriving: ‘Composting,’ ‘Mulching,’ ‘Watering.’ Begin your ‘Garden Notebook’ with observations on plant size and bug life. Experience our ‘Herb Garden’ with all your senses. Use ‘Soil Tests’ on our soil, to learn how to test your own. In the Fall, spend time harvesting and processing Prickly Pear that grows in the garden.
Water is Life in New Mexico: Museum Collaborates on Statewide Groundwater Project
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) has joined the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources in a statewide collaborative groundwater monitoring network. The Museum will host one of the many monitoring locations for the project and serve as an important educational outlet.
Water shortages have been commonplace in communities across New Mexico over the past several years and the state lacks sufficient groundwater level measurements for many regions. In an effort to protect the groundwater resource, this new community-oriented program aims to reach out specifically to farmers, ranchers and well owners, as well as municipalities to share data and information.
The Our Groundwater Future project will be launched Monday, April 26, at 10:30 a.m. at the NMMNHS’s Kiwanis Learning Garden. The project goal is to work with well owners and operators in rural communities to inform and train them on groundwater measurements. The Learning Garden is located across 18th Street from the museum’s main entrance. A monitoring well for the project will be drilled April 10.
“The problem is currently in the state, we have no way to map or track how much groundwater is in the aquifer, nor are we able to assess the health of the aquifer,” explained NMMNHS director, Margie Marino. “There is terrific value in establishing a professional community specifically to share knowledge about water resources, particularly here in the Southwest where it is such a precious commodity. Using real-time data measurements of groundwater in can and already has proved useful for tracking the size and health of dynamic aquifers.”
In addition to the NMMNHS, other partners in this coalition forged by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources include: Aquifer Mapping Program; New Mexico Tech; Wellntel; Kiwanis International; and Rogers & Company, Inc.
Participation in the program is free thanks to a generous donation from the Healy Foundation, in collaboration with the Aquifer Mapping Program at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral, a research division of New Mexico Tech.
NMMNHS is working with the collaboration to establish the outreach location at the museum’s Kiwanis Learning Garden. The outreach is geared to help New Mexicans understand more about groundwater across the state, how it relates to geology, and why we need to protect it. For more information https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/resources/water/home.html