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Education Program

A primary directive of the Friends of Madera Canyon is to promote “conservation through education” to Madera Canyon visitors and area residents. To fulfill this directive, the Friends Education Program was created in 1988 and has initiated a variety of nature education/conservation/preservation programs and projects that encourage children and adults to explore, study and, most importantly, connect with nature in this biologically rich and diverse Arizona canyon and surrounding Sky Island region.

Many people today, especially children, are cut off from the natural world. They often lack significant exposure to nature and have little understanding of the natural cycles vital to maintaining life and a healthy environment (a condition recently termed Nature Deficit Disorder). The Education Program maintains that when encouraged to explore and investigate nature, people become fascinated and curious; they learn about and form healthy connections to the life and natural world around them. Connections lead to caring about nature, which in turn can grow into a concern for conservation and preservation!

Education & Conservation Programs, Projects, Publications & Videos include:
Fourth Grade Nature Walks
Natural History Docent Program
Adult Nature Walks & Activities
Madera Canyon Traveling Nature Project
Bud Gode Interpretive Nature Trail with canyon trails interpretive signage
Proctor Education Ramada with Geologic Timeline and Wildlife Tile Posts
Madera Canyon Junior Ranger Program
Madera Canyon International Migratory Bird Day
Bat House Project
Hummingbird Monitoring Network partners
Madera Canyon Bird Checklist, compiled by Dr. George West, Jack Murray, Laurens Halsey, and Mark Stevenson (updated every two years)
Nature of Madera Canyon, author Douglas W. Moore (2000)
Madera Canyon Wildflowers, author Joan W. G. Lewis (2008)
A History of Madera Canyon, editors Gibbeson, Gantt, Van Kempen & Willcox
Madera Canyon Plants & Animals Children’s Brochure
A Canyon Among Friends (DVD & video)
The Experts Look at Madera Canyon (DVD & video)
Madera Canyon’s 5 Seasons (DVD & video)

Education Program History
Former Friends of Madera Canyon President Patsy Proctor developed the Education Program and was its director for over 12 years. Patsy, with volunteer Betty Lane, started the 4th Grade Nature Walks and created the Natural History Docent Program. Patsy was the impetus behind the writing of the Docent Manual, the award-winning teacher’s manual Madera Canyon: Web of Life and the natural history book The Nature of Madera Canyon, as well as construction of the Proctor Education Ramada in the canyon.

Naturalist Bud Gode took over leadership of the Education Program in 2000. An active docent volunteer since 1998, Bud updated the docent manual, expanded docent training and led the program by his inspiring personal example, constantly investigating the nature of Madera Canyon and sharing his observations with others. Bud was a classical naturalist, spending hours in the canyon identifying plants, studying insects, and making copious field observations on the nesting habits of Elegant Trogons. Bud initiated the Bat House Research Project for canyon bat conservation and inspired the popular canyon “Bug Night” activities. It was a major blow to the Friends of Madera Canyon and the Education Program when Bud passed away unexpectedly in May 2005.

Later in 2005, naturalist Doug Moore was hired as Education Director. A Friends of Madera Canyon docent volunteer since 1992, Doug had written the Madera Canyon: Web of Life teacher’s manual and The Nature of Madera Canyon. Initially, he rallied the docent corps, completed a major revision of the Docent Manual, expanded the 4th Grade Nature Walks and initiated adult nature walks/activities for Friends members and the community. In 2006 Doug developed the concept for the Bud Gode Interpretive Nature Trail and acted as principal designer/interpretive specialist. The Education Program has since created the Madera Canyon Junior Ranger Program, sponsors the Madera Canyon International Migratory Bird Day, and developed the “Madera Canyon Traveling Nature Project” to bring the nature of Madera Canyon to the classrooms of area students that cannot visit the canyon for nature walks.

Friends of Madera Canyon Education Director Doug Moore can be contacted at or (520) 682-0459


In the 1990s the Friends of Madera Canyon sponsored the construction of a large covered ramada at the Proctor Parking Area in the canyon for education and conservation activities. The Patsy Proctor Education Ramada is dedicated to the former Friends Education Director and President, who conceived of the ramada and oversaw its design and construction.

Located in the semi-desert grassland at the mouth of the canyon, the ramada is connected to the parking area by an accessible sidewalk. A brass compass rose, embedded in a concrete pillar, rests on the southern edge. Along the sidewalk are imprints of animal paw prints, three wooden columns of painted tiles of canyon wildlife, and a geologic timeline of life on earth with interpretive signage.

The ramada commands a majestic panoramic view of the surrounding landscape - Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Crest towering to the east; the Santa Cruz Valley and Sierrita, Tumacacori, and Baboquivari Mountains past prominent Elephant Head to the west. Local artists are often observed painting this spectacular scenery from under the cooling shade cast by the ramada’s roof. The ramada is also one of the best places for viewing a sunset or storm-watching in southern Arizona!

Used primarily by the Friends Education Program, the Patsy Proctor Ramada is the meeting place for the 4th Grade Nature Walks. Separated into small groups, the children assemble in the ramada with their docent leaders for their introduction to the canyon and orientation on the morning’s activities. The Friends also use the ramada for docent training exercises, children and adult nature activities, and cultural events such as “Music in the Canyon.” A cinder block “Education Shed” off the edge of the ramada provides secure storage for equipment and educational materials; electric power is also available.