The Wild Friends program is an award-winning project of the UNM School of Law, providing hands-on civics education to students in grades 4-12 across New Mexico with the assistance of law students. Each year, the Wild Friends vote on a wildlife topic of concern, research the issues, and help write legislation to address those issues. They then travel to Santa Fe each legislative session to speak to the legislators about their bill or memorial, and testify at committee hearings as well as on the floor of the Senate and House.
This year, the Wild Friends voted to work on expanding wildlife safety zones in New Mexico, to protect both human and animal lives. Each year, thousands of animals, including elk, bear and deer are killed in wildlife/vehicle collisions in this state, causing death or injury to humans as well. The students wrote a memorial (SM 11/HM 1), which asks the Department of Game and Fish and the Department of Transportation to hold a workshop to determine where the highest numbers of wildlife/vehicle collisions occur, develop a priority list of sites, and apply for funding. The memorial also asks the Governor to declare a Wildlife Safety Awareness Day to help educate New Mexicans about the importance of being cautious behind the wheel in wildlife safety zones.
Both SM 11 (Sen. Morales, sponsor) and HM 1 (Rep. Stewart, sponsor) passed unanimously, thanks to the hard work of over 400 students from 12 schools in the state. Congratulations, Wild Friends!
March 11, 2013