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Canyon Notes

Education - 2009

by Sondra Dexter and Joan Heinz

            How can we pass along our love of our desert home and, in particular, our special fondness for Madera Canyon, to the next generation?  This is the question held foremost in the minds of members of the Friends of Madera Canyon.  We know that as much as we enjoy our frequent forays into the canyon, whether it is for a strenuous hike, to sight favorite birds returning in the spring, or to show off the best of Arizona to visitors, we must take steps to ensure that generations to come will know and appreciate the canyon as we do.  Thus, a major goal of our organization is education about out natural world for our youth.

Toward this end, The Friends of Madera Canyon established a nature program for local fourth graders.  Trained volunteer docents are the foundation of the program.  After many years, this successful program has served over 6,500 local fourth graders.  Perhaps you have encountered these lively youngsters during your visits to the canyon.  If so, you have no doubt observed the enthusiasm and pleasure of the children and the docents as well.  We encourage these same children to return with their families and pass along their new knowledge of the flora and fauna of Madera Canyon. 

A more recently developed outreach program is the Bud and Mary Gode Scholarship for graduating high school seniors.  Bud Gode was a true scholar and teacher, who gave much of his time and effort to preserving Madera Canyon.  Due to a generous endowment from the Gode Family, we were able to initiate this program whose goal is to assist young scholars whose interests parallel those of Bud Gode.    

We seek college bound students who intend to pursue a career in the natural sciences, or in some field of study related to the natural world; be it nature art, journalism related to the natural world, archaeological research, etc.   The recipient receives one thousand dollars upon graduation and an additional thousand dollars during each year of undergraduate study, providing grades are satisfactory and the intended career goals remain in place.

Our winner in 2007, the first year the scholarship was awarded, was Rae-Ann Jarvis-Redford and the 2008 recipient was Gregory Reida.  Both are Sahuarita High School graduates currently attending the University of Arizona.  

            Applications are solicited from all high schools in Sahuarita, Rio Rico, and Patagonia.  Counselors will receive application packets in January.  Completed applications are due to the Scholarship Committee by March 1 so that the committee can make a selection and notify the winner prior to graduation.  Questions about this program can be directed to Sondra Dexter at 399-2711.


Santa Cruz River Valley 4th grade students led by Friends of Madera Canyon docents on a nature walk in Madera Cayon

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