The National Forest Foundation proudly supports Tucson-area high school students in underserved communities by providing three-day experiences throughout the school year; connecting science, art and communication, ethnobotany, and engineering with hands-on stewardship and restoration experiences on the Coronado National Forest. Earth Camp brings STEAM skills to life while also providing outdoor leadership opportunities.
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With our partners at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Arizona Conservation Corps, four unique sessions are offered, each aligned with a STEAM career and technology focus. In each session, students learn the connection between current professional fields/interests and the resources and values of the Coronado National Forests. Students can participate in one (or all) of the four sessions, including:
- The science of earth conservation
- The art and communications of earth conservation
- The engineering of earth conservation
- The foods and culture of earth conservation
Earth Camp stewards develop new skills and a deeper appreciation for the natural world. All while connecting their interests and career pathways to a new landscape and perspective.
In my 18 years working with teen programming at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, I have never seen a program as powerful as this one. The energy, wisdom and enthusiasm that was brought to the Interns by the AZCC crew members was magical! The amount of hard labor provided was jaw dropping! The attentiveness of the Interns to the scientists and other adults was unsurpassed! Eyes were opened. Hearts were filled. Minds were expanded. Futures made to look brighter.
An Average Day in the Life of an Earth Conservation Camp steward
Each of the three-day sessions offers new experiences. Students will:
- Work in the field on a restoration project,
- Apply session themes to restoration and management needs on federal lands,
- Meet a variety of scientists, social media specialists, forest leaders, and botanical experts,
- Participate in team-building and leadership development activities, and
- Provide reflections of personal and conservation goals through photos, social media content, and blogs.
“This week we learned a lot, I didn’t realize so much effort had to go into keeping trails maintained – and that fact that it takes so long. It was really fun to actually go out there and get hands on. I camped for the first time this week which was also really fun. It was also eye opening to see all the effort that is needed, and how hard the Arizona Conservation Corps works, it’s really admirable because there is so much to get done for people to enjoy.”
I actually got into the forest! I want to go on to volunteer my time to contribute to this place because it is so beautiful.
- Connecting Tucson-area high school students in under-served communities to their backyard National Forest
- Introducing new career pathways aligned with STEAM focused interests
- Supporting stewardship and restoration on the Coronado National Forest
- Developing a new generation of public land stewards and advocates