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Adult Education Programs

Natural History Docent Program

Our volunteer docent naturalists conduct 4th Grade Nature Walks with local kids, as well as assisting with adult walks & activities, and other Friends-sponsored events. Docents are members of the Friends of Madera Canyon recruited from the local community; many have a background in education or science, while others are birders or have other natural history interests. The unifying qualities of the docent corps are a love of Madera Canyon and a desire to share their knowledge about the canyon with others. Please contact Education Director, Doug Moore: maderaedu@q.com or  520-682-0459.

Becoming a Docent

An important requirement for a docent is gaining a broad practical knowledge of Madera Canyon and the Sky Island region. With training sessions and other activities, docents are encouraged to learn about canyon natural history subjects such as; ecology, geology, field zoology, field botany, and archeology. Training sessions are held in February:

1) Classroom work for walk protocol & procedures and introduction to the nature of the canyon. Docents receive the our Docent Manual, a Madera Canyon nature slideshow CD, and a copy of Madera Canyon Wildflowers.

2) On-trail work includes ideas and techniques for docents to help visiting students become “field naturalists,” improve their powers of observation, and gain first-hand experience of plants, animals, and other features along the trail.

Docents are encouraged to continue their education during the year by attending nature walks, workshops, and activities sponsored by the Friends and other organizations. Several field guides and books are required study material; pertinent new material is regularly added to the Docent Manual.

4th Grade Nature Walks

Thursday mornings in the spring and fall, new, inexperienced docents are paired with experienced lead docents to observe and learn. New docents rotate to a different lead docent each walk to study different teaching styles and techniques. When ready, a new docent leads a group of 4th grade students under the supervision of the Director of Education. → Proctor Teacher Naturalist Guide (PDF)

The Education Program is always looking for reliable, enthusiastic docent volunteers wanting to make a commitment to learn about the canyon and share the information. A docent must be a FoMC member and available Thursday mornings for 3 to 4 weeks in October/November, and 9 to 10 weeks in February/March/April (including mandatory training sessions). Interested in volunteering? Please contact Education Director, Doug Moore: maderaedu@q.com or  520-682-0459.

Learning Through Nature Programs

Nature walks, workshops, activities, events, and presentations help members and volunteers, residents and visitors discover the nature of Madera Canyon and the Sky Islands. The offerings of the Education Program supply a tangible benefit for membership, as well as fulfilling an organizational mandate, promoting “conservation through education.”

Originally, the education program focused on kids. And, while it still does, requests by volunteers and the public for the Madera Canyon: Web of Life Teacher’s Manual gave the Board of Directors the idea that adults wanted to learn about Madera Canyon and the Sky Islands, too! As a result, in 1999, FoMC sponsored the popular natural history book, The Nature of Madera Canyon.

Madera Canyon as a Natural Classroom

In 2005, the Adult Education Program expanded to include a variety of nature education programs: 

  • General nature, birding, wildflower & plant walks
  • Summer Bug Nights and Bat Nights focus on the canyon’s amazing nocturnal insect and bat species
  • Field sketching and nature art workshops with subjects such as butterflies, wildflowers, landscape.

FoMC members can add their email address to the activity alert list and receive email about upcoming activities.

Community Outreach Programs

The presentation, The Nature of Madera Canyon, created by Education Director Doug Moore, has been shown to many organizations in Green Valley and Tucson since 1996. Often updated, the presentation offers options highlighting special subjects, such as Madera Canyon wildflowers, butterflies, insects, amphibians & reptiles, and 'rare & unusual' plants and animals.

Community Forums sponsored by FoMC help to alert and educate the community on subjects such as wildfire and environmental concerns that effect Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountains.

Community Activities of all sorts provide environmental education to the local community, ranging from a Speakers' Bureau, to information tables at the local Farmers' Market and at the White Elephant Country Fair.

Is your service organization or club interested in enjoying a beautiful, learningful presentation on Madera Canyon? Please contact us at: info@friendsofmaderacanyon.org.