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.

Wildlife Study Series

Interested in native birds of prey, reptiles, and other wonderful wildlife and their habitats? Learn more about local species and meet animals from the zoo in this study series, a partnership with the Highlands Center for Natural History and Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. These classes are held in the Highlands Center’s Kieckhefer Classroom. Proceeds support both organizations.

Thursdays March 23rd and 30th


Price per session: $15 for members of either organization/ $20 non-members

Register below


Special Program for seniors

$30 for full series, $25 for members

Life Enrichment Through Nature

This course was designed with seniors in mind. Tom Benson, Highlands Center Master Naturalist, has created this course to connect you with the natural world of the Arizona Central Highlands. Topics covered will be geology from the start, wildlife, and edible and medicinal plants. In addition, part of each class will discuss the nine lifestyle habits that have been statistically supported not only to lengthen life, but to enrich those years as well. Attendees will be provided time to connect with each other as well as time for solitude and meditation at our beautiful site. The course is conducted entirely in the Discovery Gardens with only short strolls on paved, walker-friendly paths. Class size is limited to sixteen participants.

Coffee and baked goods are provided, beginning at 9:10 am.

Monday, August 7th-Friday, August 11th from 9:30 am- 12:00 pm in the James Family Discovery Gardens Ramada.

Spring 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.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

May 15th – May 26th

9am – 12pm

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

butterfly drawn in colored pencil

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.

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 are the first Friday of each month from 1pm-2pm and meet in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Discovery Gardens Ramada, weather depending. Register at any time to begin receiving email notices about our current books and meetings.


2023 Dates: Friday February 3rd, March 3rd, April 7th, May 5th, June 2nd, July 7th, August 4, September 1st, October 6th, November 3rd, and December 1st. 

Forest Bathing

In collaboration with certified Forest Therapy Guides, the Highlands Center is now hosting a Forest Bathing walk series. In these experiences, guides will lead groups on a gentle walk through the woods, providing instructions—referred to as “invitations”—for sensory opening activities along the way.

You’ll not only feel rejuvenated after each walk, but also make great friends who share the same interests and learn practices you can do at home by yourself or with family and friends.

Each experience is 3 hours long, with much wandering and sitting time built in. The experiences are suitable for all fitness levels. Sessions begin March 25th, and space is limited. Reserve your spot today by visiting the link below.

More About Forest Bathing

With Jackie Kuang

 Forest Bathing is a practice of going outdoors and opening all your senses to soak and immerse yourself in the atmosphere. A certified Forest Therapy guide will facilitate and support you in slowing down and awakening your senses. Then you may begin to notice incredible things that you hadn’t before. You may find unparalleled beauty in the moment, and in doing so, relax into that beauty. This is an opportunity of wellness for humans and, you’ll discover, other-than-humans.

Though the entire walk often covers no more than a quarter mile distance, most people experience nature in a deeper way than they have before. Guides are trained in the skills and perspectives needed to be supportive witnesses of these experiences. Please bring your own drink (water, tea, etc.) and healthy snack for the conclusion of the walk.



Jackie guided regular forest therapy walks at the LA arboretum and the surrounding canyons for years before moving to Prescott AZ. Her calm,engaging and confident ways easily help people, even the skeptics, to open up to a deeper connection with nature and themselves. She’s also a mentor and a trainer of guides for the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. Jackie’s work has been featured in several magazines and/or blogs, including WebMD. Find out more about Jackie and guide Amos Clifford here:


Hiking Spree

This Highlands Center happening is a community-wide event that takes place each fall and can be completed at the participant’s own pace. People from all over the state come to Prescott to hike 8 out of 10 trails within the Prescott National Forest and the City of Prescott between August and November.

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