Natural History Classes

Adult Programs

The Highlands Center offers programs and events for community members throughout the year on and offsite regarding the natural history of the Southwest. Some examples are our Community Nature Study Series, HCNH Book Club, and Happy Hours. For our full list of upcoming events, please view our calendar.

Community Nature Study Series

Interested in coyotes, cannibalism (yes, really!), creating backyard wildlife habitat, and geologic features of the central Highlands?  Learn from local educators in this autumn’s Community Nature Study Series. These presentations are held in our classroom, on our trails, and in our gardens.

$15 for HCNH members, $20 for nonmembers per class.

You can register for multiple classes by selecting “register for another event” before payment.

Tuesday, October 4

Coyote as Survivor, Teacher, and Trickster with John Huff. Featuring special guest Manuel Lucero IV, Director of the Museum of Indigenous People. In the Kieckhefer classroom and on our trails from 1:00-4:00 pm. 

A general talk on the ‘barking dog’ (Canis latrans) from thousands of years
of survival to becoming a teaching example of morals and being a trickster.

John Huff is a current volunteer Board Member of Highlands Center for
Natural History. He  was a docent mentor at Heritage Park Zoological
Sanctuary and volunteer in living collections where learning about animals
at HPZS became a natural endeavor. Before that he taught at Yavapai
Community College.

Tuesday, October 11

Plate Tectonics with Steve Van Slyke. In the Kieckhefer classroom and on our trails from 1:00-4:00 pm.

The Highlands Center is fortunate to have five rock formations that illustrate the dynamic processes of plate tectonics that were occurring here more than 1.7 billion years ago, and are continuing today all
around the globe. The seminar begins with a classroom discussion of the history of the Theory of Plate Tectonics followed by a hike to the five rock formations where participants use instruments to reveal
evidence of past tectonic activity.


Tuesday, October 18

BEES, BIRDS, AND BATS, OH MY! with Gaye Oberlin. In the Kieckhefer classroom and on our trails from 1:00-4:00 pm.

Provide homes and they will come! Learn how you can attract bees, bluebirds, kestrels, and bats to your yard by providing them with boxes for shelter and reproduction. Not only will you be aiding in their conservation, but you will also experience hours of wildlife watching fun. Best practices will be discussed, and box plans provided.  A short hike to view wildlife boxes at the Highlands Center will be included.


Tuesday, October 25

Cannibalism: Fascinating Examples in the Natural World with Sarah Vincent. In the Kieckhefer classroom and on our Discovery Garden trails from 1:00-4:00 pm.

Get in the Halloween spirit by learning about a dark side of nature. This masterful, interactive, and exciting presentation will cover fascinating examples of cannibalism in the natural world paired with a human example or two.

Sarah is not a cannibal, nor is she a cannibal expert. However, she has a B.S. in Earth Science paired with an M.Ed. and currently serves as the Education Director at the Highlands Center.


Fall Colored Pencil Drawing Series

If you have ever been interested in drawing what you observe in the natural world, then 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.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

November 7th–November 18th

9 am-12 pm

$30/class for members, $35/class for non-members

Diane Iverson Art Classes

Diane Iverson is the author and/or illustrator of over 20 books. Her illustrations are in the permanent collections of the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in Fresno, California and the Mazza Museum of International Art from Children’s Books.

2023 Central Highlands

 Arizona Master Naturalist Course


Register for an upcoming Zoom Info Session to begin your journey toward certification.

October 6, November 3, or December 1

6:30 — 7:30 pm

The Central Highlands Master Naturalist Program is a leadership development certification course designed to supplement natural and cultural history training, docent programs, and volunteer service opportunities available in communities across the state. This course includes an overview of scientific concepts, natural history in the Central Highlands of Arizona and best practices related to local volunteer opportunities. Completing this course results in statewide certification.

Highlands Center Book Club

Do you love to read? Do you love to talk about what you’ve read with other readers? Do you want to read more, but need some motivation? Join the Natural History Book Club and read along with others interested in topics ranging from beavers to the ice age. This book club is for adults eager to learn more about the natural history of the Southwest & natural history in general. Book club meetings one Friday/month from April-November from 1pm-2pm and meet in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Discovery Gardens Ramada. Register at any time to begin receiving email notices about our current books and meetings.


Friday June 10th, July 8th, August 12th, September 2nd, October 7th, & November 11th

Wreath Workshop

If you have ever been to the Highlands Center around the holidays, then you are sure to have seen the lovely wreath we hang by our store every season. This November, we are offering you the opportunity to learn from Sue Clabby, the creator of our wreath, and take home your very own made with your own hands. In this two-hour class, we will provide all the materials you need to create your own grapevine wreath and discuss how to collect and prepare materials. By the end of the class, you will have a finished simple wreath and the knowledge to add more or make another. Children are welcome to attend with their guardian.

Supplies are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own decorating materials, too.

$25 for members, $30 for nonmembers

$10 for members, $15 for non-member for children 13 and younger.

Offered twice on Saturday, November 12th, 10 am-12 pm and another from 12:30-2:30 pm


Workshops at the Highlands Center has included wreath making and a 3 day program called “Sense of Place” workshop where participants learned more about the natural world we live with. 

Happy Hour

Happy Hours at the Highlands Center are classes that include a tasting with a presentation. Some examples of past Happy Hours are mushroom, chocolate, and cider tastings. 

Trips and Tours

Trips and Tours with the Highlands Center are typically day long adventures with an experienced guide. Trips have been offered as far as Phoenix and Flagstaff.

Art Classes

Art Classes with the Highlands Center include our Colored Pencil Drawing Series taught by Diane Iverson. It is offered as a 6 class series and will be returning in Spring 2021.

Natural History Classes

Natural History Classes at the Highlands Center are taught by professionals in their fields. These are offered throughout most of the year.