Insights to the Outdoors

Insights to the Outdoors is offered once a month on Tuesday mornings, March through November. Classes are held outdoors in our covered ramada in the James Family Discovery Gardens, weather permitting, and include a hands-on field and/or lab component. The number of participants per class is limited to ensure low student-teacher ratio.

Predator Killing Contests: The Hidden War on Wildlife

with Joe Trudeau, Betsy Klein, Emily Renn, & Matt Francis

There is a certain displeasure of finding an wild animal in an unwanted space: a mouse in a cupboard or a gopher in a garden. But what happens when the unwanted space is a town or county and the animal is a long-standing native? Recently, predator killing contests have made their way into Arizona news. Explore this heated topic with the Center for Biological Diversity’s Southwest Advocate, Joe Trudeau, by examining the impacts these contests have on wildlife populations and ecosystem health. Learn about the risks that they pose to ethical hunting laws and why there is a drive to ban these contests nation-wide.

Where: Highlands Center for Natural History (1375 South Walker Road)

When: May 14, 2019 : 9am – 12pm

Cost: $30 for class, 10% discount for members

Language, Culture, and Climate: How Indigenous Resources and Perspectives are Impacted by Climate Change

with Nikki Cooley

Culture and language are the foundation of our world view. In order to adapt to environmental changes, sometimes our culture and language have to change as well.  In this class, join co-manager of NAU’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) and their Tribes & Climate Change Program in discussing the impacts of climate change on natural and cultural resources in some of the country’s most vulnerable indigenous communities. Explore how indigenous culture and language play a significant part in addressing climate change.  Attendees will have an opportunity to share their own experiences about how climate impacts them and their communities.

Where: Highlands Center for Natural History (1375 South Walker Road)

When: June 25, 2019 : 9am – 12pm

Cost: $30 for class, 10% discount for members

Past Programs

The Verde: Exploring Arizona's Last Wild & Scenic River

with Dr. Nancy Steele and Dr. Maxwell Wilson

Water is an increasingly precious commodity in Arizona’s harsh landscape. The Verde River, Arizona’s last free flowing waterway, provides a dramatic contrast to the rocky and dry expanses. Its green channels support myriads of plants and animals, water farms, ranches, and vineyards, and increasingly attracts visitors to swim, fish, kayak, and play.  And yet, this water source is in danger. In this interactive workshop you’ll learn more about the Verde River watershed and hear stories of people working to save the Verde.

Where: Highlands Center for Natural History (1375 South Walker Road)

When: April 16, 2019 : 9am – 12pm

Cost: $30 for class, 10% discount for members

Spider Pharm: Harvesting Venom for Research and Education

with Chuck Kristensen

This special presentation from Spider Pharm founder, Chuck Kristensen, focused on on collecting, breeding, and harvesting venom from spiders and scorpions for antivenin. This process was discussed, along with the beneficial applications of these thrilling toxins. 

Where: Highlands Center for Natural History  When: March 26, 2019

Volcanoes in Action: Transforming the Landscape

with Beth Boyd

This interactive workshop with Dr. Beth Boyd, geology professor and discipline chair at Yavapai College, invited participants on a journey through time with discussions of volcanism and the ways it has transformed the landscape of Central Arizona. Workshop included a short uphill hike to the overlook at the Highlands Center to talk about Glassford Hill.

Where: Highlands Center for Natural History   When: October 27, 2018


Ethnomycology Happy Hour

with Bob Gessner and Aimee Novak

Eat, drink, and learn at the Highlands Center!

This interactive workshop focused on the role of fungi in everyday cuisine.  Bob Gessner discussed the history, the fungi involved, and the fermentation processes used in the production of foods and beverages prepared with fungi. Aimee Novak demonstrated cooking gourmet meals with mushrooms and other fungal fermented foods.   Tasting included samples of beer and wine, mushroom crostini, truffle popcorn, and other fungal fermentation products.

Where: Highlands Center for Natural History   When: September 8, 2019

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