Investigating the Outdoors

Investigating the Outdoors provides homeschooled youth with the opportunity to engage, reflect and connect with the outdoors in meaningful and inspiring ways. 

Thank you to the Outdoor Equity Fund, through the New Mexico Economic Development Department, Outdoor Recreation Division & the McCune Charitable Foundation or supporting our work in the community:

What is Investigating the Outdoors?

  • Open for ages 9-16 years old
  • A 100% outdoors class to explore and learn
  • Supplemental lessons & experience in Environmental Education  

Each week focuses on a different lesson, including:

  • Plant & Wildlife identification
  • Fishing & Archery experiences
  • Planet's natural and ecological facts and changes
  • Animals, flowers, insects
  • Time to explore and play with friends
  • An end-of-semester "Surthrive Project"

Our programming integrates social-emotional benefits which nature provides through reflective nature journaling and encouraging individual interests. The class is balanced with social opportunities like group work, in-class games, and time to just laugh and have fun with friends. 

We provide hands-on experiences to learn about these topics presented by Nature Ninos staff or by one of our knowledgeable community partners. These include creating art projects, exploring the natural space, investigating science materials, or practicing skills.

The Surthrive Project

All students are asked to create a Surthrive project to present to their classmates during the last week of the semester. This project can be on any nature topic chosen by the student and presented in any method. This can include a presentation board and speech, a video project, an art diorama, or other creative methods! An outline will be provided to students in class. Presentations should be around 5 minutes long.

About the Class

Class Days & Times:

Tuesday AM Session (9:00AM - 12:00PM)

Tuesday PM Session (1:00PM - 4:00PM)

Please Note:

Each class has a maximum limit of 25 students.

A class needs a minimum of 10 students registered for the class to occur. 

Classes cost $75-$225 per semester (fee details on registration form).

A Typical Class Schedule Includes:

  • Welcome 
  • Nature Topic Introduction
  • Language Learning (ASL & Spanish)
  • Nature Journaling
  • Topical Group Activities: Art, Games, Science
  • Depart Location

Notes for Parents:

  • The first class meeting will include a MANDATORY 30-min introductory session for parents/guardians to meet the instructors and discuss details for the semester. 
  • This is a drop-off class. Please follow the drive-in drop-off and pick-up instructions to support a smooth process.
  • There will be some additional locations away from our home classroom at Shady Lakes. See below for additional locations. 
  • Family Hike Days REQUIRE a parent/guardian to attend the whole class - other siblings may attend as well.
  • Consider volunteering in class on instructor-requested dates.

After Registration:

After you register, an email will be sent to confirm your submission.

As the class start date approaches, Nature Niños will email specifics and details about the upcoming class. This email will contain all information needed for the semester. This will include drop off/pick up times, confirmed dates and locations, volunteer needs, and instructor introductions. Please review this class handbook. 

Most Nature Niños classes are based out of Shady Lakes in Albuquerque's North Valley.

Shady Lakes: 11033 4th St. NW Albuquerque NM 87114

A few classes will meet at an additional locations as a field trip. These include:

Alameda Open Space: 9521 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114

Los Ranchos Agri-Nature Center: 4920 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Los Ranchos, NM 87107

Local hiking trails on our family hiking day.

Parents are responsible for transportation to and from all events.

Restrooms in Outdoor Spaces

Many outdoor spaces include restroom facilities, but when you get off the beaten path, that situation changes a bit. 

Most of our places include access to either a building facility or a port-a-potty with hand sanitizer or handwashing stations. Shady Lakes is set-up with a port-a-potty, handwashing station, and hand sanitizer. 

In locations that do not have restroom access, Nature Niños provides a sanitary and private portable toilet with a privacy tent, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. 

Cancellation and Inclement Weather Policy:

Because we are a 100% outdoor program, we plan to have class in all kinds of weather.  However, when conditions become hazardous like lightning storms, icy roads, and extremely high winds, this can create undo dangers in our outdoor spaces. 

Should a class need to be cancelled, an instructor will notify through email with this update. Thank you for your understanding.

For all other classes, please come prepared in proper weather clothing!