Conservation Science Center at New Mexico Highlands University

Conservation Science Center at New Mexico Highlands University

The mission of the Conservation Science Center at  Highlands University is to build the capacity of Hispanic and Native students to actively lead the stewardship of local landscapes. New Mexico's stewardship of natural resources often does not represent the cultural and intrinsic values of local communities. Yet these same communities are disproportionately affected by climate change degradation.

The place-based programs of NMHU combine cultural relevancy, leadership, and socio-emotional development to increase persistence in STEM while building resilience in our youth as they navigate enriching and challenging interactions in the diversification of of the STEM workforce.

Last year, the Santa Fe Community Foundation awarded a grant to the Conservation Science Center at Highlands University to support equitable and accessible pathways to STEM for Native and hispanic youth.

"Initially, we focused on increasing engagement in immersive science programming, such as ChemXchange, where NMHU undergraduates led lab experiments and practiced near-peer mentoring with Mesa Vista high schoolers," said Shantini Ramakrishnan , Conservation & Restoration Education Program Manager at the Conservation Science Center. "Then, the largest fire in New Mexico history happened." 

The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire redefined our landscape and our focus as we considered our displaced population and the multitude of challenges ahead. We quickly pivoted and used SFCF funds to support “Querencia in Action” workshops designed to build community capacity in post-fire land restoration. The flexibility of Santa Fe Community Foundation funds allowed us to respond quickly to meet an urgent community need.   

Aug 3, 2022
News & Stories

Related stories

View all