Student-led Environmental Stewardship Initiative

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Exciting New Program Gives Students Opportunity and Resources to Help Our Local Environment

Insights is excited to be partnering with two local high schools and environmental organizations on a two-year mission to build a strong environmentally conscious future for the border region by providing young community members with skills and experiences to promote a new generation of conservational awareness, thanks to $100,000 in grant funding from the EPA.

Over the next year and a half, supported by the environmental organizations, Environmental Stewardship Clubs at each high school will receive $10,000 to accomplish a hands-on student-led restoration project that solves a community environmental issue. This leadership program will also give students and teachers funding and opportunities for building networking relationships and incorporating several field trips into their curriculum, while their classroom education is enhanced with monthly workshops by environmental professionals.

We are proud to empower students with ecological compassion to make a difference for the planet we all call home.

Fostering Young Environmental Stewards…


Friends of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park and Frontera Land Alliance kick off our program by introducing environmental stewardship to students at Horizon High School (left) and Cathedral High School (right).

In this workshop, John Sproul [Friends of the Rio Bosque] gave an inspiring talk on being a true steward of the environment while Maryflor Garcia [Frontera Land Alliance] engaged the students in a group carbon-footprint calculating activity.



(Left) Cathedral High School students excitedly learn about how to measure birds in an area and what they mean to an ecosystem and researchers. They also practice their skills identifying local and migratory bird species using a field guide in the this workshop hosted by our friends, Kevin Floyd [Transpecos Audubon Society], John Sproul [Friends of the Rio Bosque], and Maryflor Garcia [Frontera Land Alliance]. The students might even find themselves birding on their own this weekend!



(Above) Horizon High School students enjoy searching for bird species as groups in preparation for bird identification on their upcoming field trips. Thanks to Kevin Floyd [Transpecos Audubon Society], John Sproul [Friends of the Rio Bosque], and Maryflor Garcia [Frontera Land Alliance] for presenting another great workshop.



(Above) At Cathedral High School and Horizon High School students compare plant parts to identify local species of trees and shrubs they will encounter on their upcoming field trips. Sarah Dillabough [Creosote Collaborative] and Maryflor Garcia [Frontera Land Alliance] show the students recently collected samples and talk about the role plants play in our region. Identifying native versus invasive species will be important for restoring an area.


(Left) Students of Horizon High School and Cathedral High School (Right) engage in a mini-debate during this workshop. After Claudia and Daniel [Centennial Museum] introduced the factory with a short video tour, the students were given a pile of local primary resources such as newspaper articles dug up from archives to prepare their case. They were split into three groups: 1) as pro-ASARCO, 2) as anti-ASARCO, 3) the questioners/jury. Each group had time to make their case based on research then were asked questions by the jury and debated. You can also see the mini-posters each group made to support their argument.


(Below) Horizon High School students visit the ASARCO special exhibition at the UTEP Centennial Museum to learn about the environmental and cultural effects of the smelter. They also spend time in the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens practicing their plant identification skills.

(Below) Horizon High School students get their first taste of field work as they learn how to perform plant transecting, and how to collect environmental/ecological data. They also had quality bird identification and point count practice with experienced bird-hobbyists.

(Left and Right) Students learn how to use the EPA’s EJScreen (Environmental Justice Screen) mapping program to cross-compare environmental indicators (examples: cancer, hazardous waste proximity, waste water discharge) to demographic data (examples: education level, income level, age). This workshop was led by a real attorney, Veronica Carbajal [Green Hope Project] who gave students insight to how this tool is useful in her line of work. She also shared stories about local people who have used their voice to prevent environmental polluters from moving into specific regions of El Paso County.




(Below) Cry Sosa [Green Hope Project] asks the students to consider what green infrastructure projects would be most beneficial in their community. They discuss the options and how they would funnel funding towards implementation. Each group was awarded with $2,000 in Monopoly money to distribute as they saw fit to various project options. This is great practice for that $10,000 in club funding they will receive for a restoration project this year!


(Below) Students work with volunteers to collect bird and plant identification data at Keystone Heritage Park, a beautiful refuge for local and migratory wildlife. The information collected will be used in the next workshop where students will learn what to do with this kind of data, what it indicates, how to analyze it, and how to measure outcomes using data. Data from Keystone Heritage Park will be compared to data collected from Rio Bosque to practice these skills.




Do you have skills in bird and plant identification? Or other naturalist skills like animal tracking and identification? Then please consider volunteering to help guide students during our planned field trips.



Want more information? Contact Program Manager: Gabriela Franco,

Insights Executive Director: Meghan Curry,




This publication was developed under Assistance Agreement No. NE96878101-0 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of Insights and EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication.

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