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 native grasses, fungi, and geologic features of the central Highlands?  Learn from local educators and view examples in this summer’s community nature study series. These presentations are held in our classroom, trails, and gardens. 

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

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

June 14th: Voyage to a Mid-Ocean Ridge with Steve Van Slyke. On our trails from 5:30-7:30 pm. As you descend the trail to Lynx Creek your Highlands Center geology guide will point out features in the rocks that tell a story of how oceans grow as new crust is formed and continents “drift” to accommodate that growth. 

June 21st: Native Grasses with Sue Smith. In our classroom and gardens from 5:30-7 pm. Grasses are spectacular and provide wonderful form, color and texture to the landscape as well as changes with the seasons. Learn how they protect soil, survive in the climate of Arizona and about their differences and similarities in morphology.

June 28th: Underground Fungus: Foundation of Life on Earth with Susie Percy. In our classroom and garden from 5:30-7 pm. 90% of all plants rely on fungus for nutrients and defenses against pests and predators. This presentation will explore fungus structure, life cycle, role, and extent of fungus in the world.

Guided Walk:
A Pebble’s Journey

Take a walk on easy trails with a Highlands Center geology guide to learn the amazing story of one single “tortured” pebble, now “frozen” in a wall of rock, known as Stretch Pebble Conglomerate. Follow the billion-year travels of this special stone from a lofty volcano to the bottom of an ancient ocean up to where we see it today, a mile above sea level.

These walks are on the unpaved trails on the Highlands Center’s 80-acre campus. These trails are rocky and have short, but occasionally steep, inclines. Make sure to bring water, wear appropriate hiking shoes,
dress in protective layers, and wear sun protection.

Saturday July 9th from 8:30-10 am 

Meet in front of the main building by the bronze sculpture. 

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


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.

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