About BioSTEAM

photo credit: Jim O'Donnell

In 2019 STEMarts Lab created the BioSTEAM Youth Program at Taos Land Trust that combines art, environmental science and technology to raise awareness to local and global environmental issues which are part of the Fernando Park mission. The program goal is to engage Taos County youth in artist-led interdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations that integrate art, science, technology and nature. Our curriculum blends western, indigenous and hispano worldviews that reflect diverse ways of knowing and experiencing nature. The mission is to beautify and promote the park with a site-specific installation and build STEM curriculum around the artist work to educate students and the community on the preservation work happening at the park, instill value for protecting our environment, and increase visitation to the park as a place to feel wonder, respect and inspiration for nature.

To launch the BioSTEAM program we selected the eco-artist, Ana MacArthur, who designed a site specific interspecies installation called Pollinator Concentrator. The installation explores the environmental topic of biodiversity loss and pollinators which relates to the Rio Fernando Park mission of land, river and watershed revitalization. The artist delivered a Sci-Art Lab with middle school students at Taos Integrated School of the Arts to share her process and engaged members of the community. We then built this comprehensive online STEMarts curriculum tool around the artist's installation and the topic of Pollinators and biodiversity designed to the Next Generation Science Standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The curriculum is developed in conjunction with Taos Pueblo educators to create an interdisciplinary and intercultural learning experience.

The BioSTEAM activities include science concepts such as how insects see, pollinate and navigate with the stars combined with cutting edge bio-tech projects that collect and visualize data on bat population and movements. In collaboration with Taos Pueblo BioSTEAM field guides, students learn about pollinator food sovereignty and indigenous ways of coexisting with nature and the land. Through a partnership with Field Institute of Taos, summer field trips to the installation at Rio Fernando Park will be facilitated that incorporate the BioSTEAM curriculum as part of their FiTaos nature experience.

We encourage all schools in Taos County and beyond to explore this intercultural BioSTEAM Curriculum Tool in their classrooms and then come explore the site-specific installation and Rio Fernando Park for a unique sci-art experience that will capture the imagination and curiosity of students.

BioSTEAM Curriculum Team



agnes320320

Agnes Chavez, Program Director

Agnes is the Program Director of the BioSTEAM Youth Program at the Taos Land Trust/Rio Fernando Park. She is an artist, educator and curriculum developer. She is founder of the STEMarts Lab, a Research and Innovation project that applies the latest science research and technological innovations to arts and education through interdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations. She is founding member of the PASEO Festival in Taos. in 1996 she developed the Sube Teach language thru Art, Music and Games curriculum kit, now in its 22 year of service.



Estacia Huddleston, Program Design

Estacia develops curriculum content for the BioSTEAM Youth Program. She is a Community Planner and Placemaker working at the intersection of creativity and community. Her primary interests revolve around facilitating visioning and creative placemaking processes that make community planning accessible and meaningful. She returned to apply her experience in sustainable design, interactive art and place based planning to her hometown of Taos.



Sheryl Romero, Cultural Specialist /speaker

Sheryl advises on the cultural knowledge exchange program for the BioSTEAM Lab and is a speaker for our public programs. Sheryl is the Community Engagement Director at the Red Willow Farm at Taos Pueblo, working to reclaim the agricultural heritage of Taos Pueblo and to restore its traditional food systems.



Henrietta Gomez, Tribal elder/speaker

Henrietta is a living treasure in Taos serving as a cultural specialist for so many organizations and projects. She has a unique gift of sharing traditional knowledge while seeking new ways to create intercultural bridges of understanding and communication. Henrietta is the tribal advisor and speaker for the BioSTEAM Lab.






Dr. Greg Cajete, Native Curriculum Advisor

Dr. Greg Cajete is a Native American educator whose work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of indigenous knowledge in education. He serves as a curriculum advisor for the BioSTEAM Lab. Dr. Cajete is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in ethno botany of Northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. Dr. Cajete has authored five books including “Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence” (Clearlight Publishers, 1999 and 2000) which guides the BioSTEAM Lab curriculum.

About the STEMarts Model

This STEMarts methodology developed by STEMarts Lab, has been implemented as part of school workshops, festival youth programming and online curriculum tools since 2012. The mission of STEMarts Lab is to inspire passionate learning through innovative and immersive  ‘experiences’. We combine art, science and technology to explore real world challenges through creative expression as a way to inspire and activate our future leaders.

The STEMarts Lab is a Research and Innovation project that applies the latest science research and technological innovations to arts and education through interdisciplinary collaborations. We deliver real world sci-art installations and STEAM programming for schools, art and science organizations, festivals or events.

STEMarts Lab CORE ETHOS
The future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed  – William Gibson

  • We prioritize intercultural exchange and collaboration and design culturally responsive programming.
  • We are guided by ‘21st century thinking’ with a focus on inner well-being, ethics and social practice toward a peaceful and sustainable future.
  • We investigate the latest science research and cutting edge technologies to inform our design practice and curricula for  our future leaders.
  • We are committed to closing the gap between the “knowledge rich” and “knowledge poor” which can lead to economic disparity.
  • We focus on community outreach to make STEAM programming accessible to underrepresented minorities and girls. Workshop participants must be representative of the socio-economic and cultural diversity of the community they serve.
  • We are engaged in the transition from being passive consumers of technology to problem solvers and critical thinkers, investigating the social, environmental and global impact of the tools we are using.

Methodology
The STEMarts Education Model is based on carefully designed media-rich workshops, hands-on demos or community interventions built on instruction with four design pillars that revolve around the core principle that all content must make a connection to self, society and the natural world. The chart below provides a visual illustration of the key components that guide all the activities and intended outcomes.