What is Nature Niños?

When a child catches their first trout, or sees an eagle take flight, or explores a backcountry trail, they light up, they learn something new, they connect. But it's not always easy to get outside-it might seem far, unfamiliar, or there's just not enough time in the day. That's where Nature Niños comes in! We are the New Mexico Wildlife Federation's youth initiative, and we are here to be your outdoor learning team. We take the guesswork out of getting outside so families-across generations-can access and explore the outdoors alongside a family-focused, professional team.  

Nature Niños was created in 2019 as a youth initiative of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. For over 100 years the New Mexico Wildlife Federation has protected our waters and wildlife, ensured access to public lands, and provided opportunities to pursue the outdoor traditions that make New Mexico unique. The Federation believes strongly that the future of our public lands, our wildlife, and our democracy lies in the hands of our future generations. As the Federation's youth initiative, we are an entry point. We expand access to the outdoors, share all it has to offer, and invite youth and families who might not readily access the outdoors into a safe, inclusive, and welcoming community where we build skills and grow the next generation of conservationists, land stewards, and recreationalists. 

Please visits our Programs Page to see all the amazing opportunities that Nature Niños is offering for our New Mexico youth from PreK thru High School. 


On May 31st Olivia Martinez, the Nature Ninos Charter School & NASP Coordinator, was presented with an award for Nature Nino's Outstanding Partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Middle School!

Sarah Candelaria, Youth Program Director for NMWF and Nature Ninos New Mexico, presented at this year's R3 Symposium alongside Christopher Kilgour, from Color in the Outdoors, and William Freeman Jr., with Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Ms. Sarah and Ms. Laura headed to Anchorage, Alaska to meet our Project Wild associates across the country! We were able present our findings from the "Engaging Marginalized Youth in Hunting and Angling: Identified Best Practices and Opportunities" report with the conference attendees and had time to field questions about the Nature Niños program...

At the end of April, our ITO classes enjoyed a brand new outdoor space at Mandy's Farm in the South Valley. Our morning class attended a magic show and the magician shared a few magic tricks we could practice at home! After that we hung out with the chickens and the goats.

Mi Tierra Salvaje Project Resources & Recap

The goal of this project was to identify the best practices to effectively engage youth and their families in hunting and angling - focusing on communities not historically involved in these activities. Our team compiled the leading strategies in youth engagement utilizing a mixed-methods approach. This included identifying educational frameworks from the leading organizations in outdoor education, conducting a literature review to understand what peer-reviewed research existed, and hosting three listening sessions with partner organizations within, and beyond, our AFWA region that are either implementing hunting and angling programming or other outdoor programming. Many barriers were identified throughout our research including cost, transportation, adult supervision, and the community perception of hunting and angling.

Click HERE to read the full report.

Click HERE to access the How-to-Guide

NMWF implemented potential solutions to many of the identified barriers to create positive social-cultural experiences for participants, such as presenting an array of interests to provide various access points to outdoor activity, creating strong community partnerships, communicating safety guidelines clearly within our programs, and marketing our programs directly in and for the communities we are serving. The Nature Ninos program utilized these findings to release the research report "Engaging Marginalized Youth in Hunting and Angling: Identified Best Practices and Opportunities," the action guide "Breaking the Barriers to Nature: A How to Guide for Engaging Marginalized Youth in Outdoor Programming," and host the "Outdoor Adventure Summer Camp" to serve over 300 youth during the summer of 2022. This camp invited youth typically not engaged in the outdoors to meet community mentors in conservation who introduced them to activities such as angling, archery, pellet gun shooting, bird dogs, wilderness first aid, foraging, field-to-table cooking, water conservation, nature photography, nature journaling, and so much more!

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