Role of CBES

Inherent in CBES' mission is the goal fostering interdepartmental and intercollegiate communication and cooperation among the faculty, staff, and students whose research, teaching, and service activities involve the collections. The Center also facilitates collaborations with other institutions and agencies within the geographical area and beyond. The Center recognizes the need to consolidate the scattered resources and collections into a single permanent recognized collective entity that efficiently chronicles the plant, animal, and mineral diversity in our region.

To accomplish this it is necessary to gain suitable long-term housing, improved facilities, dedicated staff, maintenance, and documentation of the collections. Future goals of CNHC include expanding educational and research partnerships, developing and expanding outreach programs, and optimizing use of existing space for research support, teaching and service as outlined in the University's document titled Strategic Directions.

CBES recognizes a need for a Collections Management Policy that provides an operational framework for its work. A Collections Management Policy is the first step in assuring the long-term protection of the collections while providing for continued development and appropriate use. In addition, a Collections Management Policy is required by many of the agencies and foundations that normally provide support for museum activities. Until a Collections Management Policy is in place with an administrative framework to implement it, the funding opportunities that can bring the much-needed resources to the collections at NMSU will be greatly diminished.

The natural history collections are integral to the university's role as one of the premier land grant institutions in the Southwest and in the United States. The natural history collections developed as a necessary outgrowth of the research, teaching, and service functions of university personnel starting in 1890. These collections have come to represent a major resource for the institution, including:

  • Research, including diagnostic services for New Mexico and the Southwest, biodiversity data basing and archiving, biosystematics research (including loans of specimens to other institutions and agencies), development of taxonomic keys and manuals, and establishing voucher specimens for research studies at NMSU and the greater Southwest.
  • Teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, interdisciplinary and activity-based learning, systematic-based classes, training of museum techniques.
  • Service, including outreach to local public schools, identification services and services to community organizations and to the public.