Field trip season is in full swing at the Rio Salado Audubon Center. During the spring 2018 school semester alone, Audubon brought 1,412 elementary students and 581 high schoolers on field trips to learn about birds, native plants, other wildlife, and the places they live. This fall, new and returning students are exploring desert and riverside habitats and applying STEM concepts to their experiences in nature.
Thanks to the Burton Family Foundation, Audubon staff is offering Urban Hummingbird in-class presentations for free, as well as Downtown Owls presentations thanks to NFWF/FedEx. The presentations are expected to reach hundreds of additional students this year.
To schedule a presentation for your own classroom, email Emily Martell.
Through the River Pathways program, high school students will visit the Rio Salado Audubon Center, Agua Fria National Monument, Tonto National Forest, or Black Canyon Heritage Park to explore Arizona's treasured riparian habitats.
Support from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the Mackenzie Foundation, and the APS Foundation help strengthen River Pathways and incorporate the multi-layered components of the program into other facets of Nature in Your Neighborhood. The suite of education programs is transforming from an effective but primarily linear field trip model into a versatile, applied environmental education program that serves youth throughout their entire academic progression and beyond, in addition to involving youth in leadership roles within education and conservation.
Grants from the listed institutions help to empower youth in on-the-ground field work and conservation, like River Pathways intern Aritzel Baez.
"Working off the field was one thing, working on the field was my absolute favorite and incomparable with any other job. From peacefully observing birds, to falling into a muddy sink hole. I encountered many wildlife creatures and came to love every single one of them," she recounted after finishing another season of surveys.
"Thank you, Audubon, for choosing me to assist you in conserving nature; I hope to be able to work with you again."
Other generous donors, including Arizona Public Service Co., Arizona Community Foundation, Applied Materials Foundation, and General Dynamics uphold and enhance Audubon Arizona's programs geared towards K—8th grade students. Thanks to their support, River Connection field trips and River Keepers after-school sessions reach young learners across the Valley, from Buckeye, to South Phoenix, to Chandler, and beyond.