Orfeus Prassinos and his classmates rake and prepare one of the gardens at Monte Del Sol on Oct. 19 for the winter.

Outdoor education advocates hope a $500,000 allocation from lawmakers will get more New Mexico students outside in the next school year.

The funding, part of the massive general appropriations bill the Legislature passed last month, will allow the state Public Education Department to fund a state-level position to oversee outdoor learning initiatives and also provide professional development and grants to school districts looking to get more equipment for open-air learning spaces.

The initiative behind the appropriation comes from Senate Bill 32, introduced by Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, D-Silver City. The bill itself, which carved out specific amounts for spending on full-time positions and grant funds, didn’t make it through the Legislature, but lawmakers folded the funding into the main budget bill.

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