Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame


Heizer Middle School

Raised Bed

Raised Bed - David Hooten helps the students with raised bed gardening.


Garden - Students work in the raised bed gardens.

Nature Trail

Nature Trail - Volunteers work on the nature trail.


The Western Heritage Horticulture Society and New Mexico Junior College have been working with the Hobbs Schools, specifically Heizer Middle School on their very own Nature Trail and Garden. Director of Education, Mary Lyle and NMJC Grounds Supervisor, David Hooten have held two day workshops for teachers with a special interest in gardens on school grounds. The program was assisted by New Mexico State University's Ag in the Classroom. In addition to the workshops held at the Museum, the teachers have walked the Nature Trail, visited the Heritage Gardens, and even participated in planting days hosted by the Western Heritage Horticulture Society.

Heizer Middle School embraced the workshop and the science based core curriculum on gardening. Principal Freddie Salgado and teachers, Terri Sallee, Wendy Haggerton, and Kileen Smith initiated this project at their school. They have acquired more than $30,000 in grant monies and have started an after-school program which now includes 60 middle schoolers and four more teachers.

David Hooten has emphasized to the teachers and students that they are creating an outdoor education lab. It will be an area to teach science, math, and social skills on a whole new level. He also says that Heizer will be the first middle school in the State of New Mexico that has accomplished building a Nature Trail and Garden. David will be assisting them in achieving certification from the National Wildlife Federation, 1 Million Pollinator Gardens, Xerces Society, and more.

Are you a teacher and want to learn more about doing something like this at your school? Contact the Director of Education, Mary Lyle for information on upcoming workshops or talk to NMJC Grounds Supervisor and Western Heritage Horticulture Society President, David Hooten about what you need to do to get started.