Rufus, a 17-year-old bobcat, has been with the New Mexico Wildlife Center since he was a cub. Between now and Aug. 31, the Center is offering virtual classes about various species of New Mexico and the world.

   The New Mexico Wildlife Center has launched a virtual summer camp this year to give elementary school-aged children more to do during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Campers will be provided with educational videos, guided activities, and activity packets to two age groups: first to third grade and fourth to sixth grade students.

    Wildlife Education Team Leader Jessica Schlarbaum said part of the $40 registration fee goes toward the campers’ packets, which include a flash drive for educational videos that Spearing pre-recorded. These cover different topics based on the age group and other activity materials.

    She said for the first to third grade group packet, “Wildlife Explorer Camp,” includes videos and activities focusing on various groups of animals: reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds and fishes.

    The package includes coloring books, matching activities and other materials of getting the students to engage with the activities, she said.

    “Nature Adventures” is the second camp offered to fourth to sixth grade students, which focuses on the five different habitats and ecosystems, Schlarbaum said.

    The packet is similar to the younger age group’s packet of videos. However, the educational information focuses on five different habitats explained over the course of five days.

    Along with that packet includes more advanced activities for the older group, she said.

    Part of the money also goes toward caring for the educational animals.

    Schlarbaum said they have a little over 30 ambassador animals that are brought to educational programs, which make appearances in the videos that Spearing prepared.

    In addition, the money goes toward rehabilitation for the Wildlife hospital to help care for native New Mexico wildlife, she said.

    Last year, the Wildlife hospital had 697 intakes and are on track to have close to 900 to 1,000 this year, Schlarbaum wrote in an email.

    From May to present, 583 were taken in with a record intake of 20 in a day, she wrote.

    “In total, we’ve had 84 species,” she wrote.

    She wrote that the most common species are house finches, rock squirrels, and desert cottontails.

    And in order to make up for what they lack in in-person outreach and education, she wrote they have focused a lot of their efforts on producing education videos and social media posts, which they can be found via Facebook, Instagram or YouTube and their website.

    New Mexico Wildlife Center, a nonprofit organization, focuses on rehabilitation and wildlife education including their Wildlife hospital that focuses on rehabilitating wildlife in Northern parts of the state, Schlarbaum said.

    In Schlarbaum’s position, her job is to educate Northern New Mexico communities about the environment and wildlife education.

    The Virtual Summer Camp is offered between July 20 to Aug. 31 and registration is on-going at $40. Those interested can contact Chase Spearing, the  education coordinator, at

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