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.

Highlands Overlook

2024 Central Highlands

 Arizona Master Naturalist Course

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.

Please contact Hannah at to learn more.

Winter 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 spring 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.


Becoming Wild: Animating the Audacity of the Human Heart

In this 3 part series, Will Duncan explores the relationship between wildness and civility and the idea of re-wilding our lives. Through stories, reflections on various authors, poets, philosophers, religious writers, and mythology we will explore what it means to rekindle one’s life into a deeper and more vibrant intimacy with the world.


Monarch butterflies in flight
Wilderness First Aid

NOLS and the Flagstaff Field Institute offer the finest in wilderness medicine education.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine is the international leader in wilderness medicine education. The NOLS Wilderness Medicine curriculum is dynamic, accurate, practical, and empowering, and seasoned instructors facilitate an active, fun, and engaging educational experience that provides students with the skills and confidence to manage emergencies in the backcountry. NOLS Wilderness Medicine is accredited by CAPCE, and NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications are recognized throughout the world.

Wilderness First Aid

The Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course will help you prepare for the unexpected. This fast-paced, hands-on training is designed to meet the needs of trip leaders, camp staff, outdoor enthusiasts, and individuals working in remote locations. It will introduce you to caring for people who become ill or injured far from definitive medical care. Classroom lectures and demonstrations are combined with realistic scenarios where mock patients will challenge you to integrate your learning. At the end of the course, you’ll have the knowledge, skills, and ability to make sound decisions in emergency situations.

Saturday, April 13th &
Sunday, April 14th 2024

8am – 5pm

The price is $325.00 

Register for this WFA Course at:

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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