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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Service and stewardship incorporated into 16th Summer Environmental Academy

Soil profiling for the Carson National Forest Stewart Meadows Wetland Project and campground improvement tasks for the Bureau of Land Management in Rio Grande Gorge recreation sites are two new elements of service that will be undertaken by participants of the WERC Summer Environmental Academy, to be held July 16-21 in Taos.

demy is the longest running K-12 environmental outreach program under WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development and the New Mexico State University College of Engineering. Started in 1990, the weeklong event for high school math and science teachers and their select students is intended to increase awareness of how science, technology and mathematics relate to studies and careers in engineering and the environmental fields. The goals are to get students excited about environmental issues and encourage them to pursue environmentally related careers, and to provide teachers with increased knowledge of environmental and energy issues.

The focus of the 2006 academy is Conducting Sustainability Education in a Cross-cultural Context. WERC will collaborate with tribal leaders, community members, environmental experts and educators to support professional development opportunities for teachers and learning experiences for students.

"A historical and cultural-based approach will allow students and teachers to see how these factors influence the choices we make regarding the environment and the effects these influences bring forth," said Bryan Swain, WERC Academy coordinator. "These issues are particularly important in New Mexico because cultural practices and beliefs play a significant role in how different groups address environmental issues."

Presentations by professionals in environmental fields will address Rio Grande riparian ecosystems, wilderness wetlands, tribal cultural approaches to environmental education, presented by Taos Pueblo, and the acequia culture, a community-based system of irrigation and water governance maintained through custom and tradition.

The academy capacity is 50 participants with lodging and meals included.

Sponsors of the 2006 Summer Environmental Academy include the U.S. Department of Energy and WERC, one of three units of the newly established Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE) in the NMSU College of Engineering. The IEE also includes the Southwest Technology Development Institute and the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center.

Other academy sponsors are Los Alamos National Laboratories-Water Research Technical Assistance Office, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the New Mexico Environment Department Surface Water Quality Bureau-Wetlands Program, and the Carson National Forest.

For more information contact Abbas Ghassemi, executive director of IEE, at (505) 646-2038 or visit www.werc.net.

July 14, 2006