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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

High School Students Get Hands on Learning

Region 2, November 1, 2012
Students at ACE Leadership High constructing and installing bridge
Students at ACE Leadership High constructing and installing bridge - Photo Credit: n/a

More than 25 high school students from an Albuquerque school have designed, constructed and installed visitor viewing bridges and informational kiosks at the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Sanctuary. This work is all part of a hands-on educational project aimed at providing students with real-life career experience in the construction field. The students are from ACE Leadership High School, (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) a charter school that focuses on creating young leaders in the construction profession. ACE teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Region and EDI Architecture to develop a unique outdoor education center. The outdoor area will be used by the community and schools in order to share the importance of ecosystems and endangered species, as well as to connect youth with nature. The sanctuary, located along the Rio Grande Bosque in Albuquerque, New Mexico, mimics wild conditions for the Rio Grande Silvery minnow, a federal and state listed endangered species. Over a period of eight months, the students followed all the steps of a real world project as part of their classroom curriculum. They started with a conception stage, researching and developing kiosk and bridge ideas and models. Next they worked with Service engineers and local architects to design ADA compliant structures, and to develop a materials and budget list. The students then put their skills to the test and successfully brought their ideas to life by building and installing their structures. All along, the students worked with Service biologists researching and presenting posters on the importance of the Rio Grande Silvery minnow. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, recently visited ACE High School and recognized the school with a Registered Apprenticeship “trailblazer and innovator” award for its work in preparing young people for careers in high-skilled, hands-on occupations.

Contact Info: joaquin baca, 505 248-6471, joaquin_baca@fws.gov