Saguaro Fruit Harvesting

Laurel Clark Earth Camp

Entering Grades 8-9 in the Fall 2019

June 24-28, 2019

Not all science happens in a laboratory. This summer spend some time in the great outdoors exploring what it might be like to become a botanist, ecologist, ornithologist, marine biologist, or geologist. This camp includes two overnight camp outs (Monday and Wednesday nights) and time at the museum, in the desert, in the rainforest (at Biosphere 2), and underwater (in a pool as we learn to scuba dive). Hands-on field research will allow students a real world experience in learning about the natural world and developing a passion to preserve and protect it.

9:00 a.m. drop off, 3:00 p.m. pick up (Mon-Thurs at the Desert Museum, Fri at the Dive Shop)

Botany Day – Hug a saguaro and harvest its fruit. Sleep under the stars at the harvest site amongst the lullaby of coyotes. (Monday night spent camping)
Geology Day – Discover hidden treasures in the museum’s mineral vault and peek over the edge of a working copper mine. (Tuesday night spent at home)
Ecology Day – Travel through five different biomes searching for interconnections of their unique flora and fauna during our visit to Biosphere 2. (Wednesday night spent camping)
Ornithology Day – Wake to the buzzing of hummingbirds on an early morning hike at Catalina State Park before our return to the museum to meet with our resident birding experts. (Thursday night spent at home)
Marine Biology Day – After a jaw dropping experience with an Elasmobranchologist, dive right into a Discover Scuba course at The Dive Shop. (Friday drop off & pick up at 1702 E. Prince Road)

Dinner provided Monday and Wednesday night. Breakfast and lunch provided Tuesday and Thursday. Bring your own lunch and snacks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Tents will be provided. Some sleeping bags and sleeping pads are available to borrow on first come, first served basis.

Transportation to campsites provided.

$375 Non-members
$345 Members

Needs-based scholarships are available.

Scholarships are awarded to students with a demonstrated interest in the environment and a household income or special circumstances that make the camp unaffordable for their families. Applications due May 3, 2019. Awards will be announced by May 17, 2019.
Scholarship Application Form

Questions? Contact Amy Orchard at 520-883-3083 or

Cancellation Policy:

Payments will be refunded (minus a $25 administrative fee) if cancellation is given 30 days or more before the start date of camp. Within 30 days of camp, refunds (minus a $25 administrative fee) will only be given if another camper is able to fill the space that was occupied by the cancelled participant.

Picture of Laurel Clark

Who was Laurel Clark?

Captain Laurel Salton Clark was a physician, diver, aviator and astronaut, and also a great lover of nature. Laurel's greatest and last adventure ended February 1, 2003 over the southern United States when she and the Space Shuttle Columbia crew perished during re-entry. Earth Camp honors Laurel and her love of the Desert Museum, which included everything from the smallest insect to the Raptor Free Flight program.

About the Instructor:


Amy Orchard has been an environmental educator since 1992. She has worked at Arches National Park as an interpretive ranger, at numerous river companies throughout the western US as a river guide and as an Education Specialist at the Desert Museum since 2000. Amy also is a registered yoga instructor (RYT 200) and loves teaching all ages and all levels of yoga. She enjoys her position at the museum working with the Junior Docent program since 2000 as well as the being the lead coordinator and instructor for the Earth Camp programs since 2005. Amy's own two daughters are now on big adventures of their own, so she looks forward to spending lots of time with other youth. Amy is a certified Wilderness First Responder (many steps above basic first aid certification) and is current in CPR certification. Besides teaching and practicing yoga and working with teens, she enjoys riding her bike over Gates Pass, backpacking with her husband, star gazing and listening to the breeze move through the spines of a saguaro.


Michelle Constanza Miner is an Educator at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum specializing in childhood nature education using music, movement, and art. She also enjoys training youth/teens in nature interpretation at the Packrat Playhouse and inspiring young folks to approach life with more confidence and compassion. Michelle completed a B.A. in Environmental Studies/Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz in 2012 and a M.S. in Entomology at UC Riverside in 2018. She has worked with USGS, USFWS, and USDA on projects including desert tortoises, threatened & endangered marsh birds, and pollinator diversity. Michelle loves hugging rocks, laughing, making music, and ogling at native bees (cactus and mallow specialists are a favorite).

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