LAS CRUCES, New Mexico-- One Las Cruces New Mexico teacher is keeping her students busy while teaching them the importance of using their voice to create change.
Students in Mrs. Berry’s fifth grade class at Monte Vista Elementary school are spending their time advocating for more outdoor classrooms across New Mexico.
“Outdoor classrooms are beneficial because you get to learn a lot more and focus more outdoors than you would outside,” said 5th grader Eliana Renteria.
Renteria is one of dozens who are proud to call themselves the Berry bunch.
“Mrs. Berry is a great teacher, shes awesome enthusiastic and helps us,” said fifth grader Christopher Sierras.
Robbi Berry has been teaching for over 25 years. She proudly calls all her student’s the Berry bunch and it was last year’s Berry bunch that started advocating for more outdoor learning days.
“The Berry bunch from previous year started with Senate Memorial one where we requested an outdoor learning day from the governor just to promote outdoor learning and because of COVID when we were concerned about being inside close together,” said Berry.
This past April, the Berry bunch continued the advocacy by speaking at a Las Cruces public school’s board meeting about their journey and reasons for their passion for outdoor learning.
“We talked about our legacy and the legacy we want to leave behind after we go to middle school and what we expect this to be,” said Sierras.
The students also spoke about the benefits of outdoor learning which include promoting better health, sleep, helping student’s focus more, and giving the student’s the ability to learn more about the environment around them
After their last board meeting presentation, the Berry bunch student’s were proud to hear that the Lad Cruces Superintendent, Ralph Ramos, had approved $500,000 dollars to support the construction of outdoor classrooms district wide.
“I was really happy because this is something not all kids get to do and the Berry bunch were there special few that did get to,” said fifth grader Kayden Herring.
For Mrs. Berry, this victory is something she hopes her Berry bunch will take with them even after they leave her classroom.
“I want my kids to learn about the world around them and what’s important to them and what their passion is and to make a difference in the world,” said Mrs. Berry.
24:04 “I want my kids to learn about the world around them and what’s important to them, what’s their passion and then take that passion and make a difference in the world.”
Mrs. Berry and her Berry bunch are hopeful that more outdoor classrooms will pop up all across New Mexico and beyond.