Whiptail Trails Club
The Whiptail Trails Club seeks to empower middle-school students in New Mexico to learn about public lands and develop land stewardship, first-aid, and wilderness survival skills. The program is led by the nonprofit Public Lands Interpretive Association in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Conservation Corps New Mexico, and a group of dedicated volunteer leaders.
Students participate in classroom activities with a STEM focus while preparing for field trips to nearby public lands, where they will apply the principles of land stewardship and science learned in the classroom.Along with lessons on the history, culture, and equity of public lands, students will get an introduction to different career pathways within public land management and partnership.
The Whiptail Trails Club also hosts a week-long camp for middle school girls to build confidence in outdoor skills and recreation. A cohort of girls get the chance to learn about public lands, wildlife, and survival skills, putting those lessons into practice on several field trips and overnight campouts on public lands. In its first year, the camp was a huge success, giving about a dozen girls a fun and formational outdoor experience in the Lincoln National Forest, White Sands National Park, and other public lands in southern New Mexico.
The camping experience provided outdoor skills training, teaching skills such as wayfinding outdoor cooking, backpacking and camping skills, as well as basic First-Aid techniques. These skills will aid students in developing self-reliance and discovering the importance of being prepared in the outdoors. Students also met with land management agency and conservation leaders to better understand career opportunities in the industry.
The Whiptail Trails Club program exists thanks to generous funding from the New Mexico Outdoor Equity Fund as well as private individual and corporate donations. The BLM also generously supported PLIA with a full-time intern to help enact this program.
PLIA regularly offers presentations and trips for schools, as well as the Girls' Camp, in spring and summer. Check this page regularly, or sign up for the newsletter below to stay informed of new opportunities!