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Posted August 16, 2017

APS Natural History Center Hosts Professional Development

The most recent guests of the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center in Cedar Crest was the APS Fine Arts Department.

The Department of Fine Arts hosted their yearly professional development staff retreat at APS' Sandia Mountain Natural History Center in Cedar Crest on Thursday, August 10.

More than 100 APS elementary music and visual arts teachers, along with Fine Arts leadership and staff, participated in the center’s “Ecology Field Program”, collaborating with SMNHC staff from both APS’ Curriculum & Instruction and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

During the morning hours, Fine Arts staff learned about the Sandia mountain ecosystem. Much like the district’s 5th grade program – teachers engaged in experiential, inquiry-based science lessons as they hiked the center’s trails with SMNHC instructors.

Teachers learned how to identify rocks, clouds, trees, and lichen; they hunted for fossils, learning to provide evidence for scientific theories; they discovered the relationship between fire, bark beetles and forest health; and, they began to consider how to integrate 5th grade art and music with science. After lunch, all developed community-mindedness in a drum circle as well as spent time discussing and planning the Fine Arts portion of the Academic Master Plan.

This professional development retreat was planned in coordination by C&I’s resource teacher Steven Henley and Fine Arts director, Gina Rasinski. The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center, a partnership between APS and the Museum, is currently working with several APS departments as they continue to develop academic field experiences for the district’s students.

SMNHC staff can be reached at (505) 281-5259 or via email case@aps.edu or henley_s@aps.edu.

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