Adult nature walks, workshops, activities, events, and presentations are sponsored by the Friends of Madera Canyon Education Program in the canyon and surrounding communities to help local adults discover the nature of Madera Canyon and the Sky Islands. The organization has re-focused on providing nature learning activities for local adults, particularly Friends members and volunteers. These activities supply a tangible benefit for membership in the organization, while also providing an additional avenue to promote “conservation through education.”
Adult nature education was originally limited solely to training natural history docents for the 4th Grade Nature Walks. Requests by volunteers and the public for copies of the Madera Canyon: Web of Life Teacher’s Manual after its original publication gave the Friends Board of Directors a clue that many adults were interested in learning about the natural history of Madera Canyon and the Sky Islands, too! As a result, the Friends of Madera Canyon sponsored the popular natural history book, The Nature of Madera Canyon, published in 1999.
In 2005, the Education Program expanded to include regular adult nature education, with emphasis on using beautiful Madera Canyon as a natural “classroom.” General nature, birding, and wildflower/plant walks have become regular offerings. Madera Canyon “Bug Nights” and “Bat Nights,” where participants get a chance to see and learn about the canyon’s amazing nocturnal insect and bat species, are sponsored in the summer. Field sketching and nature art workshops are popular activities, particularly when the subjects are canyon butterflies or wildflowers. Friends members can place their e-mail address on an activities alert list and receive notice by email of upcoming activities and events.
For a community outreach program, Education Director, Doug Moore, has developed a Power Point presentation, “The Nature of Madera Canyon,” that has been presented to many organizations in Green Valley and Tucson since 1996. Often updated, the presentation was recently modified to highlight special subjects. Now the Friends has separate presentations on Madera Canyon wildflowers, butterflies, insects, amphibians & reptiles, and “rare and unusual” plants and animals.
The Friends of Madera Canyon also sponsors community forums to alert and educate the community on subjects such as wildfire and important environmental concerns that effect Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountains.