Albuquerque’s Environmental Story Overview

Picture used on the cover of Albuquerque's Environmental StoryThe book “Albuquerque’s Environmental Story: Educating for a Sustainable Community” is an award-winning teaching resource that “was created to help students relate caringly to their local natural and human environment. A primary objective of the document is to “foster a mindset in Albuquerque’s future citizens which can lead to a sustainable future for their community,” It is still used in classrooms throughout the city and includes anecdotes about the city, hands-on science activities, teacher worksheets and questions about such topics as public policy, pollution, historic preservation, the built environment, transportation, neighborhoods and downtown redevelopment. View the classic Albuquerque’s Environmental Story website.

The Albuquerque Historical Society is pleased to host the classic web version of the 1996 final edition of “Albuquerque’s Environmental Story: Educating for a Sustainable Community“. The contents of this site are the copyrighted works of Hy and Joan Rosner which were later transferred to the now defunct Friends of Albuquerque’s Environmental Story. It may contain out-of-date or inaccurate information. If you have questions concerning this content, please feel free to email the Albuquerque Historical Society at or use our Contact Us form.

About the Albuquerque’s Environmental Story Resource Guide

Albuquerque’s Environmental Story: Toward a Sustainable Community (Third Edition 1996; First Edition 1978; Second Edition 1985) teachers’ resource guide was jointly developed by the Albuquerque Public Schools and the City of Albuquerque. It contains five sections in addition to an Introduction and an Appendix. The first section is an interdisciplinary look at the major natural areas in and around Albuquerque. This is followed by a section on Albuquerque’s Built Environment, an overview of the city’s built environment – its architecture, infrastructure, and the many sub-areas within the city, each reflecting a distinctive sense of place. Next is Albuquerque’s Human Environment, a review of the city’s cultural history and a glimpse into the interactions people of Albuquerque have had with their natural environment. The fourth section, The Home, School, and Neighborhood as Mini-Environments, views the students’ own school as a city in microcosm and presents the concept of an environment as an abiotic-biotic-cultural interrelated triangle. The last section looks at the environmental concerns of Albuquerque. Each section contains suggested activities which integrate various subject areas and are adaptable to various grade levels.

Teacher Worksheets

  • Eye Opener Worksheet 1 – Getting to Know a Habitat (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 2 – Studying Streetscapes (2A); Be an Urban Design Evaluator (2B) (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 3 – Does Your Community Give You A Sense Of Place? (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 4 – Albuquerque As A Place To Live (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 5 – Your Neighborhood As A Little Environment (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 6 – A New Look At A Vacant Lot (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 7 – A Closer Look At Your School (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 8 – What Is Your School’s Impact On The Environment? (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 9 – How Does The Community Serve You? (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 10 – Me (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 11 – How Well Do You Treat Your Inner Environment? (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 12 – How Can You Get Something Done? (pdf) (doc)
  • Eye Opener Worksheet 13 – Albuquerque’s Environmental Concerns (pdf) (doc)

Producers and Senior Writers – Joan and Hy Rosner

Photo of Joan and Hy Rosner - Producers of Albuquerque's Environmental StoryAlbuquerque’s Environmental Story was a grass-roots endeavor led by Joan and Hy Rosner. Joan was the district science coordinator for the New York Public Schools from 1958-75 and directed elementary science in the New York City Board of Education Office. Hy was a former social worker and chairman of the New York City School Board. They were affectionately known as “Mr. and Mrs. Environment'” in New York, where they started an environmental training program for New York City teachers. Upon retirement, they split their time between Albuquerque where their daughter Lynn Rosner lived and Miami, where their daughter Suzi Rosner Doucha resided.

In the mid 1970’s, the Rosners began working on “Albuquerque’s Environmental Story” with the first edition being published in 1978. Their intention was to develop an environmental education resource based on a holistic view of the natural, built and cultural environment and to foster environmental stewardship among young people. It became more than that, eventually involving aver 50 different authors from the Albuquerque Public Schools, the University of New Mexico, specialists from the City of Albuquerque and others. This was a largely volunteer effort that spanned two decades. There were many workshops held for teachers and all private and public schools had multiple copies of the printed version of the teacher resource manual. The Rosners also produced the “Dade-County Environmental Story” for teachers in Florida.

Ray Powell, past New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands, once said, “Joan and her husband, Hy, and her daughter, Lynn – who ran the YMCA environmental camp for a number of years – were outstanding members of our community. The love, the dedication, the passion they brought to everything they did was just remarkable.” While at the State Land Office, Powell proposed that the environmental education center at La Semilla be named after the Rosner family. La Semilla, a nearly 3,000-acre nature preserve, was to be a part of the Mesa del Sol development in Albuquerque.