What We Do

By Libby Grace


Many mornings, the Asombro office begins to buzz just as the sun rises over the Organ Mountains to the east. We check activity bins, grab handouts, load up the cars and are off with the hopes of beating the buses to schools with plenty of time to set up before students arrive. With everything ready before the bell rings, we get to greet them at the door and see their excitement in discovering what science has in store for them that day.


This is what we do. Asombro will greet more than 800 classes this way in this school year alone. We will greet more than 20,000 students as they walk into their classroom to discover science.


Have you ever seen 2nd graders hopping around like jackrabbits, modeling animal seed dispersal with sparkly pompoms flying about? This year, Asombro has the joy of assisting twenty 2nd grade classes as they collect seed dispersal data. That’s more than 450 jackrabbit 2nd graders, and a whole lot of pompoms! In combination with our 3rd and 4th grade programs, Desert Stories will reach more than 5,500, 2nd through 4th graders this year.


Have you ever seen 5th graders so empowered by their learning that they cannot wait to teach it to others? Science Interns gives students the opportunity to become experts and then teach younger students. With 24 classes participating this year, approximately 650 students will become Science Interns, taking the hands-on activities they have been taught by Asombro and becoming the teachers themselves. The impact of Science Interns is even greater considering the countless young students that benefit from being taught by their older peers.


Have you ever seen 7th graders stare intently at a screen that isn’t a cell phone or television, but rather a data logger plotting the amount of carbon dioxide surrounding a photosynthesizing plant? This is just one example of many excited moments about data that occur during Asombro’s 450 class programs, totaling more than 11,000 student visits, with Las Cruces’ public middle schools.


For the five Asombro staff members and our devoted volunteers, these moments are our victories. While they can make for long days that begin with the rise of the sun and end with aching feet and hoarse voices, if you ask any one of us, you undoubtedly will hear that it is always worth it.


At the end of our days we are tired, but at the end of the year, we are energized. We bring science to life for tens of thousands of students. This is what we do.


Asombro is able to bring these programs to this area this through the generous support of individuals who make donations to Asombro, as well as regional and national organizations including the Davidson Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Hunt Family Foundation, Las Cruces Public Schools, the Lineberry Foundation, the Native Plant Society of New Mexico, the Schoolyard Longterm Ecological Research Program, and the Stocker Foundation.


Every donation, no matter how large or small, helps Asombro do what we do. Every dollar that goes to Asombro contributes to our ability to be standing in the doorway of these classrooms, greeting students, and witnessing their excitement. And while we may stand in front of more than 20,000 students this year, there are still many more that we would like to reach. All donations to Asombro help us get there. They help us bring science to life.