Students in the New Mexico Highlands University forestry ecosystems and humans class are volunteering in the Las Vegas Community Garden for a better understanding of the relationship between humans and the natural world.  

 Taught by professor Tomasz Falkowski, the class helps students build skills for future employment, networking with community partners, and connecting outdoor service learning with personal experiences.  

 The Las Vegas Community Garden, also known as the Peña Community Garden, is at Douglas and Railroad avenues on land donated by Tom and Tina Clayton. Until recently, it was an abandoned lot with junk cars 

MainStreet Las Vegas is spearheading the project and working with Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance and 100% Community.  

 “I wanted to really focus on environmental issues close to home,” said Falkowski. “The ways humans interact with the environment is often painted in a very negative way, and community gardens offer a wonderful way in which humans can positively relate to their environment and one another.”  

He added that place-based learning encourages good citizenship because it helps students become aware of local issues and develop tangible skills.

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