2015 MVAS Lorraine Schulte Excellence in Teaching Award

In April, 2015, Mesilla Valley Audubon Society (MVAS) will award the 18th annual Lorraine Schulte Excellence in Teaching Award.  This award recognizes a teacher for his/her efforts in teaching children to care for the environment.  MVAS will determine the winner and the award will be presented at our April 15, 2015 program and membership meeting.  Deadline for applications is March 15, 2015.  Any person may nominate a teacher of elementary, middle or high school.  Teachers can nominate themselves, or they can be nominated by administrators, students, parents or community members with first-hand knowledge of the teacher’s efforts.  Click here for the form that needs to be completed and turned in by March 15, 2015.


MVAS will be teaching another bird identification and appreciation course through the Dona Ana Community College (East Mesa Branch) this spring.  The class will emphasize vocalizations, form and function,, and bird behavior.  Saturday field trips will reinforce skills learned in classroom sessions.  Handouts and materials will be provided.

Classroom sessions will be Tuesday nights, from 6:30-8:30pm April 7, 14 and 21, 2015.  Field trips to a variety of habitats, ranging from wetlands to desert foothills will be on Saturdays, April 11, 18 and 25.

For registration information visit the DACC Community Education web site at or call 575-527-7527.  Space is limited to register now.

Excellence in Teaching Award

At our April program meeting, Gregory Contaldo, a science teacher at Gadsden High School, was awarded the 16th Annual Lorraine Schulte Excellence in Teaching Award.  This $250.00 award recognizes a teacher who makes an extra effort to help his or her students learn to appreciate and care for the natural world.  In his classes, Mr. Contaldo has his students do hands-on field ecology research projects, and uses classroom labratory experiments to explore the mechanisms of climate change.


Education Happenings

Since agreeing to become the MVAS Education Chair at our February meeting, CJ Goin has been busy. During March and April, he led 9 educational programs, including several in partnership with NM State Parks and Audubon NM. The programs also included a presentation to the NMSU Wildlife Society and an introductory program about birds for a local group of American Heritage Girls.

CJ has also committed to helping with four more Audubon NM Programs before the end of the school year, so the first couple weeks of May will be busy for him as well.

If you are interested in helping CJ with these important outreach and educational events, contact him at 575-202-1354 or


Please click here to access the Wild Guide Hummingbird Supplement used in conjunction with Audubon Adventures.



One of the most important goals of any Audubon Society chapter is to foster environmental education.  Members of the Mesilla Valley Audubon Society are firmly committed to teaching children and adults the importance of appreciating nature, preserving our natural resources and protecting natural habitats.  Our MVAS board works very hard to fulfill this mission and are having a very positive effect on the growth of environmental awareness in the Las Cruces area.  Conservation and concern for wildlife are especially important in an environment as fragile as our Chihuahua Desert.  Through our education programs, Mesilla Valley Audubon Society feels that is building greater public awareness of our surroundings and of the value of preserving natural areas.  We are gratified to know that we are helping to increase our community’s respect for and apprecation of nature.  These are the highlights of MVAS’s ongoing educational projects.

Audubon Adventures:  Our most successful school program is Audubon Adventures which is currently made available through MVAS funding to 80+ fourth grade classrooms in the south central New Mexico area, including Las Cruces, White Sands, Alamogordo and Truth or Consequences.  Lorraine Schulte and her committee work diligently every year to supply this natural history curriculum to our school children.  MVAS also actively supports and contributes to the newly created New Mexico supplement, featuring birds and reptiles unique to our area.

Lorraine Schulte Excellence in Teaching Award:  Each spring, MVAS presents the Lorraine Schulte Excellence in Teaching Award to a local teacher, grades K-12, who exemplifies excellence in environmental education.

Beginning and Intermediate Bird Watching Courses:  If you are new to the area or just want to get acquainted with local birds and where to find them, this is the class for you!  You will learn to identify birds by their shapes, sizes, sounds, behaviors and habitat.  Classroom sessions will be led by expert birders who will also accompany the class on field trips.  Saturday field trips to local birding spots will reinforce concepts learned in classroom sessions.  Please check back to see the schedule for the Fall 2014 Bird ID Course.

Mesilla Valley Audubon Society Richard Bischoff Scholarship:  A scholarship awarded to an NMSU student studying biology or wildlife science.