Junior Docents

Group of teenagers in a rocky desert landscape, holding their hands up so as to appear to be supporting a large rock above (and behind) them

What is a Junior Docent?

Junior Docents (JDs) are teen volunteers who engage with Museum guests and community members by sharing stories about the animals, plants, and ecosystems of the Sonoran Desert Region. Additionally, JDs engage in meaningful projects throughout the year to help better the world in which we live.

Previous JDs have enjoyed learning about the interconnectedness of the natural world, discovering possible career paths, and developing their own conservation habits. Junior Docents show tremendous growth in confidence and skills in public speaking and teaching as well as expanded knowledge and understanding of Life and Earth Sciences.

Learn More!

What are Junior Docent Responsibilities?

  1. Learning about the flora, fauna and geology of the Sonoran Desert Region
  2. Interpreting natural history with Museum guests
  3. Working side-by-side with community members to take action to fight against the effects of climate change and environmental injustice
  4. Engaging the public during on-site and off-site programs

How often do Junior Docents Meet?

Junior Docents meet approximately twice a month. This is a year round, two-year program.

Junior Docents make a two year commitment beginning in September 2022 and ending in August 2024. They meet approximately two Saturdays a month for a full day. Additional field trips, campouts and other activities may occur throughout the year. Junior Docents are asked to attend each scheduled shift and no more than four absences per year are permitted.

How can you get involved?

Youth ages 12-16 are eligible to apply. This program is for middle school and high school students and is a two-year program; therefore, applications must be entering 7th-11th grade in the Fall of 2022. This position is best suited for youth who have a desire to develop public speaking skills and are interested in learning about nature and conservation, and sharing what they learn with others. Volunteers in this position must be able to get to and from the Museum and other community events, as the Museum is unable to provide transportation.

Applicants should be aware that standing for long periods of time is generally part of the position (please let us know if any accommodations need to be made). Preference is shown to applicants who exhibit a willingness to develop the following skills: sociability, inquisitiveness, coachability, leadership, and maturity.

A $45 fee (per year) for the program includes an Individual Membership to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a Junior Docent polo shirt, and the cost of most activities. Payment plans and scholarships are available.

To apply for the Junior Docent Program, please fill out the
  1. Teen Application Form
  2. Parent Form
  3. Scholarship Form (if applicable)

Dates to remember

Applications are due by midnight on Saturday, July 16, 2022. A complete application includes the Student Form and the Parent Form.

The optional Scholarship Form is also due Saturday, July 16, 2022. The Scholarship Forms are not seen by the Selection Committee and are not a consideration in the selection process.

Applicants selected to be interviewed will be contacted the first week of August 2022 to arrange for an interview.

Notification of acceptance into the Junior Docent program will be made by August 27, 2022.

The first day of the 2022-2024 Junior Docent program is Saturday, September 10, 2022.

Contact Amy Orchard, Education Specialist, Conservation Education and Science Department
aorchard@desertmuseum.org or phone 520-883-3083

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.

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