Most fifth grade classes across the country study civics and the basic structures of how the U.S. government works, but one class in Farmington, N.M., is taking it a step further by actually putting legislation together as a class project. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, Wendy Carpenter’s class at Ladera Elementary School is proposing some pretty cool wildlife-related legislation. Along with the Wild Friends project by University of New Mexico School of Law, the class is proposing a memorial to lawmakers to consider legislation to increase the penalty of some poaching from just a misdemeanor to a fourth-degree felony.

It’s not the first time one of Carpenter’s classes has focused a legal project on the environment. Just last year, her class did the project on promoting wildlife corridors. This year’s memorial increases the penalty on poaching to a felony, which means if a hunter is convicted, he/she will lose their right to own a gun. The kids hope this would be enough to deter hunters from poaching in the future. What a simple but genius approach to the problem!


Working alongside the Wild Friends organization, many classes across the state of N.M. have been able to participate not only in the legal system but in conservation as well. Although they mostly propose memorials, which are only legislative requests, not demands, the students have been successful in the past, when memorials have translated into actual legislation. This includes a memorial proposed and then passed by state legislation in 2011 by students asking that a number of agencies work together to create a pilot program for a wildlife safety zone.

It goes to show you that there’s more you can do then just vote when you’re 18. These kids, teachers, and organizations prove that with the right information, some research, and the right amount of heart, you can make a difference in the world around you. If fifth graders can make a difference, why can’t any of us do it? Congrats to Wendy Carpenter and her fantastic educational plan, but also good luck to her students and to them getting their anti-poaching memorial heard. It’s a fantastic piece of legislation.

According to the Daily News, the class will be traveling to the New Mexico State Capitol at the end of January where they hope to present their project to a House or Senate Committee. Hopefully, these little guys will be heard because they have some pretty big ideas.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons