By Joshua Kellogg
Fifth-grade students from a Farmington elementary school are working with students across the state in an effort to increase the penalty for poaching crimes.
Students in Wendy Carpenter's class at Ladera Elementary School are collaborating with the "Wild Friends" project organized by the University of New Mexico School of Law on a "memorial" for consideration by lawmakers that would support legislation to increase the penalty for certain poaching to a fourth-degree felony from a misdemeanor.
Memorials are expressions of legislative intent and usually are written as requests, not demands.
Carpenter said her current and previous students have been enthusiastic about wildlife projects and about 20 other different classes around the state are also working on the memorial.
"The kids love that kind of stuff," Carpenter said. "They had a choice of three different projects and they were overwhelmingly interested in this project on poaching."
Students in Carpenter's class last school year worked on a memorial promoting wildlife corridors and safety zones on highways.
In conjunction with Farmington attorney Emet Rudolfo and New Mexico Game and Fish employee Brad Ryan, the students have been learning the ins and outs of what it takes for legislation to be passed by the state House of Representatives or Senate.
Student Maya McGee said the protection of animals is important and felt good about working on this project.
"What I learned is that poaching should be stopped," McGee said. "It deprives hunters from doing what they do legally. It's not fair for the hunters." More....