Congratulations to the top Prize winners!

Green Rooftops

High School 1st place

Ekaterina Tocheva - United World College


Middle School 1st Place

Laniah Draper, Radfor Ashley, Jr. Valarie Castillo, Hayley Martinez - Ojo Amarillo Middle School

Rain Water Filter

Elementary School 1st Place

Beto Quintana, Sarah Parkers, Melody Leyva, Madelyn Jevertson, Gabriella Duran, and Jordan Apodaca - Amy Biehl Elementary


CAVU held the first New Mexico Climate Innovation Challenge on January 18th, 2020.

Students and teachers participated on a showcase where to they had the opportunity to show their videos about climate adaptation ideas and projects.

The Goal

Our hope, through this project, is to help reshape the conversation about climate change towards a more hopeful vision of the future, one in which humanity and the natural systems we love and depend upon endure because of intelligent interventions by passionate people. The flood of bad news about climate change have caused many people, old and young alike, to distance themselves from the issue, but we need all hands on deck to be thinking about some of the ways that we can adapt to the changes we’re already causing. Participating kids and teachers will walk away with storytelling skills, a more comprehensive understanding of small and broad-scale climate adaptation (which addresses Next Generation Science Standards), and a sense that while climate change is a serious issue, human innovation, and their ideas specifically, can ensure our continued thriving and surviving even if we initially miss our mitigation targets.

The Why

As we begin to see the impacts of climate change in New Mexico, from more mosquitos to hotter summer temperatures, it’s becoming increasingly important to talk about practical measures to make our lives, loved ones, and the landscapes we care about more resilient to our changing environment. Driving your car less may reduce your carbon footprint, but it doesn’t necessarily help you or your environment cope with the impacts of climate change. The good news, however, is that adaptation solutions are out there! Communities and individuals have been innovating and adapting since time immemorial, and now is the time to provide a venue by which this collective genius can emerge once again.

The How

Videos must describe 1) what climate impact the submitter is trying to address, and 2) how they plan on addressing it. We encourage students to think outside the box! We’ll be judging based on scientific merit, creativity, efficacy, and practicality (among other metrics) so broad, bold ideas will be considered alongside smaller, more implementable ones. To facilitate learning outcomes and submissions, CAVU will be providing educational materials and potential lessons plans, training for teachers through one-day summer institutes, and in-class support for those teachers who request it.

What We Provide

-CAVU will provide tutorial and example videos for use in the classroom in both English and Spanish.
-Free resources for teachers and students, including supplemental curricula and tutorial videos, are available at Additionally, CAVU staff will mentor select schools (based on need for equitable access) to supplement classroom lessons with video/editing instruction, project development/guidance and guest speakers.

About The Video

Students will create a short video (3 minutes max) that explains an adaptation idea they have or project that they’ve done that has made them, their home, their family, their community, and/or their environment more resilient. » Submissions will be accepted from groups of 1-5 students with no more than 2 adult advisors.

Video Topics Might Include:

Resilience to natural disasters

Example: Creating home “wildfire preparedness kits”

Human Systems

 Example: Organizing a community emergency response team

Food and agriculture

Example: Determining more efficient ways to use irrigation water

Urban adaptation

 Example: Painting pavement white to reduce urban heat island effect

Hydrology and soil

Example: Erecting check dams and swales to improve infiltration in backyard/sidewalk


Example: Finding culturally permissible substitutes for plants or trees needed for a particular ritual or cultural function (eg. Christmas trees)


Example: Placing a rock rundown on the downstream side of a culvert

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