Barbara Lazar, Bosque School
Robert Lazar, Cleveland Middle School

As teachers return to classrooms and schools across the country, we seek out effective, relevant, and engaging lessons and activities. Whether building foundations of knowledge and learning in an elementary classroom, reinforcing information and skills in a middle school class, or enriching and solidifying authentic curriculum connections in high school, we educators are constantly exploring ideas and value-added curriculum. NEED provides just that: a plethora of such lessons, activities, and support.

Our first introduction to NEED was many years ago when the National Energy Conference for Educators was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the course of the five days, we learned more about energy, experienced teaching and learning strategies that could be used right away in our classroom, and met teachers from around the country who came to be among some of our longtime friends and network of colleagues. One of the most amazing parts was that the cost of the conference, the resources and kits we used with our students, and the ongoing support did not cost out-of-pocket as most teacher conferences and materials often do. It turns out there are businesses, industries, and organizations who not only believe in the power of education, but ‘walk the talk’ and provide support for educators and students to receive the necessary training and materials to learn about energy in a balanced and meaningful way. These hands-on, educationally sound, and multi-faceted learning modalities are built in to NEED’s bank of curriculum materials. Those in the energy sector understand that an investment in education will benefit not only the students’ immediate learning, but will ultimately provide a citizenry with those who have a better understanding of the needs, challenges, and issues of our world’s energy demands.

So, it was with great pride and honor to be invited to represent NEED’s teachers at the Annual Meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico. As educators we understand that many people get most of their information about schools from the popular media, and often do not get a chance to hear about many of the challenges and joys we face. It was a treat to share not only some of what NEED has accomplished recently in curriculum development, teacher and student workshops and training, and tiers of support, but also to hear about ways we and our students have learned and benefited from NEED.

In the setting of a brilliant, breathtaking, colorful Sandia Mountain sunset, we accepted on behalf of NEED, and were able to personally thank not only one of the organizations, but also some of the people who have valued the work we do at NEED. We especially wish to give a shout-out to Richard Gilliland, Past President of IPANM, Karin Foster, Executive Director of IPANM, and Gerry Harrington, longtime IPANM member and friend of NEED, for their generosity and support as champions for energy education.