Museum of Southwestern Biology
Museum of Southwestern Biology

The Museum of Southwestern Biology is a research and teaching facility in the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico.

open weekdays 8am - 5pm
visitors welcome by appointment
information for visitors

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phone: (505) 277-1360
fax: (505) 277-1351
museum administrator


Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

University of New Mexico
302 Yale Blvd NE
CERIA 83, Room 204
Albuquerque, NM, USA 87131

K-12 Science Education and Community Outreach

How can we develop a deeper understanding of biodiversity? Where does our information on species distribution, status, and even names for species come from?

Natural history specimens and associated data represent the foundation of humanity's understanding of biodiversity. As an irreplaceable historical record of morphological, genetic, ecological, and behavioral variation, specimens have emerged as a key indicator of the impact of anthropogenic activity on environmental conditions. Because digital records of specimens are now widely available via the internet nearly anyone can probe these vast storehouses of information to learn about the biodiversity of our local bosque or learn more about the birds of Peru. With the most extensive natural history collections in the Southwest, many New Mexicans and others are able to learn more about our unique biomes. Teachers, students, and the general public can now freely explore biodiversity through web-accessible databases.

Digital specimen data allow K-12 educators to leverage these sources of information to enhance active, place-based learning by students who have been web-savvy from an early age. New museum educational modules are available that allow teachers to rapidly enter the world of museums as a basis for encouraging their students to actively explore the biodiversity of our planet.

Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program

The Museum of Southwestern Biology collaborates with BEMP, the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program. BEMP is a joint effort between UNM and Bosque School. Research is conducted by student and citizen volunteers along the Middle Rio Grande. Phil Tonne, Herbarium Collection Manager, has worked on the vegetation monitoring for this program for 14 years.

BEMP logo

USFW Native Fish in the Classroom Project

The Division of Fishes works with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Office on the Native Fish in the Classroom program. USFWS Fisheries Biologists guide school children from Albuquerque and surrounding communities in learning about the wonders of New Mexico’s native fish fauna, their unique life histories, and many aquatic parameters required for the health of these fishes and the health of New Mexico’s river systems. Classroom presentations include fish anatomy and NM native fish identification, for which the Division of Fishes provides the specimens.

US Fish &Wildlife logo

Amy Biehl High School

Division of Mammals staff take part in Amy Beihl High School's Service Learning Program by serving as a mentor for a student's Senior Project. Each year, mentor and student develop a 100-hour collection-based project. It is the hope that these projects result in increased knowledge, professional skills, employability, and active citizenship. Mammal staff also host three to four Service Days each year in which several sophomore and junior students take part in collection curation tasks.

Amy Biehl High School logo

Bernalillo County Master Naturalist Program

The Master Naturalist Program provides an excellent opportunity to participate in conserving, preserving, and restoring the local environment. Community members learn about the local environment and contribute towards natural resource management. Each summer, museum staff teach Plant and Animal Identification as part of this program. Students learn to identify local flora and fauna using a field guide or identification key. The Division of Mammals also guides two interns each year through their service project. Projects have included gathering data for a New Mexico Mammals webpage and the digitization of collector notes and field journals.

Bernalillo County Master Naturalist Program logo