Early Childhood Health Outdoors

These are the foundations of Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO). And this is what ECHO is designed to accomplish: 

All young children in New Mexico have daily access to quality outdoor learning environments where play and learning support development across all domains- cognitive, physical, social, and emotional

ECHO is based on a decade of research by North Carolina State University's Natural Learning Initiative on the Preventing Obesity by Design model. This research showed that by improving the design of outdoor spaces through affordable interventions and training early childhood professionals, young children and early childhood programs enjoy substantial benefits:

  • Children are more physically active in the outdoors and engage in social interactions more often.
  • Children and providers enjoy naturalized outdoor spaces and spend more time outside, supporting healthy behaviors.
  • Hands-on gardening encourages the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.

ECHO is a partnership between The National Wildlife Federation, North Carolina State University's Natural Learning Initiative, and Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance and now New Mexico Wildlife Federation. Learn More

How can you participate in ECHO?

There are various ways to become involved with ECHO. Details are outlined below. Please note, if you meet the eligibility criteria to become a Demonstration Site or a Seed Grant Site, you may apply to both. However, you are only allowed to receive one of the opportunities. In addition, if you are applying as a licensed child care center or preschool, you can not apply as a publicly accessible site serving Family, Friend, and Neighbor child care, and vice versa. Sites that receive an ECHO grant are not eligible to receive additional ECHO grant funds in the future. However, if you apply and are not selected to receive funding during the current grant cycle, we encourage you to reapply.