We do not inherit the
earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from
our children.
- Native American Wisdom

Engaging Youth with Nature

Photo by Pete Gregoire
Photo by Pete Gregoire

To enable Saguaro National Park to fulfill its mission as educator, and connect youth to nature, the NPS and Friends of Saguaro have developed a diverse array of innovative resource conservation and environmental education activities for young people.

Curriculum-focused field trips to the park engage youth of all ages in hands-on activities that allow them to explore and discover the significance of the park's resources, and be introduced to the national park system and its conservation mission.

Ranger visits to classrooms augment in-class teaching with a variety of age-specific programs.

Teacher/Rangers utilize the park as a large living classroom, and help ensure that the park's environmental education activities meet all state standards and curriculum requirements.

Youth Hiking Clubs involve participating students in regular after-school activities, and monthly hikes at the park -- empowering youth with outdoor recreation experiences that build skills and confidence.

Schoolyard BioBlitzes enable middle school students to utilize GIS database platforms, and apply skills and knowledge gained in the classroom to explore differences in biodiversity between their own schoolyard and the park.

Older students participating in the Cactus Rangers and Park Stewards programs are engaged in "experiential learning" (citizen science) activities -- undertaking a variety of projects at the park to help restore habitat, survey saguaros, or monitor wildlife.

And, Next Generation Rangers -- student interns drawn from area colleges and universities -- provide essential programmatic support for the park, and a pathway to a potential NPS career for the interns.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, critical financial support from Friends of Saguaro enables the park to extend these multi-faceted environmental education programs to more than 15,000 youth throughout the community each year.