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Kiwanis Learning Garden
"Dedicated to Families of New Mexico –
A Garden for Understanding and Appreciating Nature"
- John Arnold, NMMNHS, 1998
Kiwanis Learning Garden was built by Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque in 1998 to inspire a love of nature in New Mexican families. 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. By exploring the outdoor space and learning how to plant, create and sustain this garden, families get a first hand look at the profound way humans, animals and plants are intertwined.
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 Tuesday: 3:00 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
Membership is limited to 13 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.
We pay close attention to the interests of children and to the needs of the natural environment in the urban “parking lot” garden, which in turn inspires the children. Our interests include: pollinator and other urban wildlife habitat (bats, birds, worms, arthropods including Monarch butterflies), soil building and compost, food cultivation, garden interactives for humans, wind energy via the working garden windmill, native plants, irrigation techniques, and others.
The practice of documentation with scripting and photos inspired by the Reggio Emilia way of learning and teaching, guides our endeavors. Documentation is shared via email newsletter, blog, Dropbox or Flickr, Closed Group Facebook page. We follow the missions* of both the Museum and the NMWOLC. We believe in the importance of children spending time and having opportunities to enjoy and learn in the outdoors.
*Mission - The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science preserves and interprets the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through our extraordinary collections, research, exhibits and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. Vision - We inspire a greater appreciation, understanding and stewardship of science and our natural world.
The mission of the Education Division is to provide educational opportunities about natural history and science for the benefit of New Mexico citizens and visitors by connecting where we live and how we live to natural systems and evolving processes.
*The New Mexico Wonder of Learning Collaborative (NMWOLC) is a group of individuals and early childhood organizations throughout New Mexico that are interested in supporting the rights and potential of ALL children, their families and teachers. NMWOLC brings educators and families together to study the world-renowned early childhood programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
What Inspires Us
Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible. No one can do more.
- Loris Malaguzzi, Pedagogista, Reggio Emilia, Italy
The cornerstone of our experience, based on practice, theory, and research, is the image of the child as rich, strong, and powerful. The emphasis is placed on seeing the children as unique subjects with rights rather than simply needs. They have potential, plasticity, the desire to grow, curiosity, the ability to be amazed, and the desire to relate to other people and to communicate.
- Carlina Rinaldi, Pedagogista, Reggio Emilia, Italy
New Mexico Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights 2012 NM State Legislature
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that it support the idea that every New Mexico child should have the opportunity to:
- Play outside and explore freely;
- Watch wildlife in the outdoors;
- Wade in a river, creek, lake or pond;
- Catch a fish and hunt for food;
- Camp out under the stars;
- Plant a seed and visit farms and ranches;
- Hike a trail;
- Explore public parks, open spaces, nature centers, wildlife sanctuaries;
- Actively care for land, water and wildlife;
- Dig in the dirt and learn about the world from the ground up;
- Use their imaginations to draw, dance, sing and play outdoors.
Museum Volunteer Eligibility
Any family who joins our afterschool group is welcome to join the Museum as a Volunteer. As a Volunteer, any time you and your child put into the garden can be logged in as volunteer time.
Becoming a Museum Volunteer involves:
- Completing a Volunteer Application Form
- Paying $16 a year in Volunteer Association dues
- Attending a Host Training
- Agreeing to communicate regularly with Garden Coordinator
Through the efforts of Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque, many community members and businesses have given amazing gifts of time and money to continue the original intent. These include the NM Museum of Natural History & Science, the Modern Natural History Committee, the NM Wonder of Learning Collaborative, Learning Garden Families, Rodgers & Co. Drilling, Bethany Farms, Plants of the Southwest, New Mexico Earth, and Jett Emms, for his Eagle Scout project.
Rodgers & Co. Drilling donated labor and materials in January 2014 to add a second pump to the KLG windmill. Now the windmill can pump water with the wind! Click here for pictures of the installation. Please visit and enjoy this space that children, with their families and community friends, have created for the public: