Natural History Classes

Adult Programs

The Highlands Center offers educational programs for adult learners throughout the year on and offsite regarding the natural history of the Central Highlands of Arizona. For our full list of upcoming events, please view our calendar.

Native American Culture

Native American Culture

We are excited to welcome Manuel Lucero, Executive Director of the Museum of Indigenous People, to offer a presentation about Native American Culture at the Highlands Center for Natural History!

Wednesday, June 19th

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Suggested $10 donation.

**This event is full. If you have pre-registered, please arrive and take your seat 15 minutes before the start of the event. Walkins will be seated if space is available. Please note that parking and seating are limited. 

Discovery Gardens in the summer time

*The July 20th session will be at Goldwater Lake and you can sign up through this link:

Mindful Meanderings: Deepening Our Awareness of Nature

A series of mindful sense-experience walks with Grace Burford in collaboration with the Natural History Institute and the Highlands Center for Natural History.

Saturday’s, April 27th, June 1, July 20 and October 5th

10 am-12 pm (April), 9 am-11 am (June), 8 am-10 am (July), 10 am-12 pm (October)


Guided Walk: Hike with a Naturalist

Saturday, July 20th

7:30 am – 9:30 am

This event is free but donations are welcome

A female deer in the Prescott National Forest

Summer Colored Pencil Drawing Series

If you have ever been interested in drawing what you observe in the natural world, you should attend this program! Join local illustrator and author, Diane Iverson, for the Summer drawing series. Learn and practice colored pencil drawing and leave with finished pieces. This class will be held in the Kieckhefer Classroom, where fresh air and inspiration are just a few steps away. Supplies are not included, but coffee and tea are.

July 22nd – July 26th

M-F, 9 am-12 pm

Western Bluebird on Juniper Tree colored pencil drawing

Wildlife Study Series

Are you interested in learning about native birds of prey, reptiles, and other wonderful wildlife and their habitats? The Highlands Center and the Heritage Park Zoological Society are partnering to offer a Wildlife Study Series this summer!

Tuesdays, July 23rd (Gila Monsters) & July 30th (Birds of Prey)

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

This event is free

Suggested $10 donation

Proceeds support both organizations!


Peregrine Falcon in flight
Gila Monster on a boulder

Natural History Book Club

Sitting in the Highlands Center ramada while the wind rustles through the ponderosa pine needles and a robin chirps, there is a moment of silent contemplation. Natural history is complicated – personal and universal at the same time. Our Natural History book club met beginning in 2021 and the discussions occasionally resulted in these special moments of quiet thoughtfulness. 

We’re excited to continue to offer this free and open to the public program. Reading is something on many of our “to-do” lists, but some of us need a little extra incentive, like having a group that meets monthly to discuss. This group focuses on books related to natural history, with some southwestern component, written in the last decade or so. Books are selected by the group and then sold in the Benson Family Nature Store. We take our time reading – two months for each book. And we encourage personal connections, as well as universal questioning, when we come together for our meetings. People can jump in at any time!

Join the Natural History Book Club today!

Book club meetings are the first Friday of each month from 1pm-2pm and meet in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Discovery Gardens Ramada, weather depending.

2024 Natural History Book Club Books and Dates:

  • February/March: Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon by Melissa Sevigny
  • April/May: What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the Worlds Most Enigmatic Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
  • June/July: A Salad Only the Devil Would Eat: The Joys of Ugly Nature by Charles Hood
  • August/September: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  • October/November: The Sound of Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey
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