Through generous funding provided by Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA), Ciudad SWCD’s Arroyo Classroom program for third graders began as a pilot in 2013 to promote safety near natural arroyos, awareness of the local environment and to teach students about the arroyos’ value as wildlife habitat. As part of the educational standards, Ciudad SWCD wants to inform students about habitats in their neighborhoods and the animals that make their homes in arroyos. Students learn that something as simple as “scooping the poop” (cleaning up pet waste), picking up trash and debris, and staying on trails to reduce erosion and sediment can have a direct impact on stormwater quality. Stormwater isn’t cleaned and carries whatever it picks up directly to the Rio Grande River.
The program focus areas are:
• Watersheds - learning what a watershed is, how water moves through it and we impact our watershed
• Arroyo Safety-know when it’s safe to be in or around a sandy natural arroyo
• Animal and Plant Adaptations – learning about the plants and animals that live in our arroyos and how they are adapted to survive in the desert climate
• Burrowing Owls – learning about burrowing owls, their lives, their habitat, and why their populations are threatened in some areas
• Bats – learning about how many mosquitoes a bat can eat each night, and how they control insect populations naturally in our arroyos, ponds and areas that attract large amounts of flying bugs
Students receive three in-class presentations, meet live animals they are learning about, and put their newfound knowledge into motion in a walking field trip near their school to observe arroyos, plants and animal habitats. For more information about the Arroyo Classroom Program, or to sign your school/class up to participate, please contact Ciudad SWCD at (505) 225-RIVR or firstname.lastname@example.org.