The Wild Friends Program is an award-winning civics education program at the UNM School of Law, providing hands-on learning to students in grades 4-12 across New Mexico. In this unique program, students help draft legislation on a wildlife conservation issue and work to pass it in the New Mexico State Legislature. Students learn how our government works, and that they have a voice!
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Prohibit Drones for Hunting Animals Drones, aircraft without a pilot, are used by the military, fire fighters, and maybe soon by Amazon!—but should they be used to hunt wildlife? Several states have already banned the practice, and the New Mexico Game Commission recently passed a rule to ban their use. Now we need a statute to prohibit this unfair and unethical practice.
Jack Pickering, 98, a long-time volunteer and supporter of Wild Friends, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, Oct. 20. Jack was the very first member of Wild Friends, and spent countless hours as a mentor to students, both in the classroom and at the Roundhouse, where his enthusiasm and devotion motivated people both young and old. We are grateful to have known Jack, and will miss him. He will forever be an important part of Wild Friends.
Some other news! - As a result of our 2013 memorials on wildlife safety zones, NM Game and Fish has received funding to build a wildlife safety zone! The funded project will put three miles of fencing on I-25 through Raton; a second project will involve five miles of fencing near Cuba, and will funnel wildlife below the highway at two bridges over the Rio Puerco, and has a "strong chance" of being funded. Mark Watson from NMGF says,"hats off to Wild Friends!" These are real, on-the-ground results that will save both human and wildlife lives, and the students should be proud! FYI, the photos are from the first wildlife culvert in NM, which is being used as a model for the Rio Puerco project.
In 2014, the Wild Friends had worked a memorial on Poaching, in support of NM Game & Fish efforts to increase the penalty for certain poaching to a "4th degree" felony. What is poaching? It is illegally catching live animals or killing animals. A person who illegally kills wildlife is called a poacher. The illegal killing of wildlife, otherwise known as poaching, has become the world’s most profitable crime activity behind drugs and guns. Poaching has driven many species to the point of extinction. Because wildlife belongs to all of us, poachers are stealing something of enormous value from us all. Good luck, Wild Friends!
Our local television station, KOB TV in Albuquerque, became interested of our memorial regarding poaching and interviewed one of our Wild Friends student, Dylan Martinez from Rio Rancho Cyber Academy. She did an outstanding job!
The Wild Friends Program is 20 years old! Under the guidance of Ruth Musgrave, Carolyn Byers, Judy Flynn-O'Brien, and many other staff and volunteers, the program has reached over 10,000 students across New Mexico. We thought it would great to celebrate with a new logo and have the students from various schools who participate in our program help design it. With the many talents of the students, we took some of their ideas and images to create the new logo. We hope you like our new design.
Special thanks to the students at Guadalupe Montessori School (Silver City), Horizon Academy West (Albuquerque), Madison Middle School (Albuquerque), South Mountain Elementary (Edgewood), and Rio Rancho Cyber Academy (Rio Rancho) for their creative, heartfelt and inspiring work!
In designing the new logo, we asked all the students who participated to tell us why they came up with their logo and its meaning to Wild Friends. We integrated elements of the various designs shown here to create the new Wild Friends logo. The talent of all these students is truly amazing!
Wild Friends staff were so thrilled of the talents of the students, we thought you would enjoy some of the other images they came up with.