Saguaro Fruit Harvesting

Laurel Clark Earth Camp

Ages 13-15

June 22-26, 2020

Not all science happens in a laboratory. This summer spend some time in the great outdoors exploring what it might be like to become an ethnobotanist, myrmecologist, ecologist, geologist and elasmobranchologist.

This camp includes two overnight camp outs (Monday and Wednesday nights) and time at the museum, in the desert, on the mountain, 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)

Monday: Eat the Desert
Before sleeping under the saguaros, we will smell, touch and taste foods carefully selected by the museum’s ethnobotansists. (Monday night spent camping at the Museum’s Harvest Site)
Tuesday: Explore the Microworld
Working side by side with our myrmecologist, we will collect some of her favorite live animals and then take a peek at them through a microscope. (Tuesday night spent at home)
Wednesday: Travel the Biomes
By studying current data collected by local ecologists, we will come to understand how driving up the mountain is like traveling from Mexico to Canada (Wednesday night spent camping on Mount Lemmon)
Thursday: Stroll along the Schist
On a hike with our museum’s geologist, we will learn some gneiss facts that we should not take for granite! (Thursday night spent at home)
Friday: Dive into the Deep
After a jaw dropping experience with an elasmobranchologist, we’ll 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 1, 2020. Awards will be announced by May 15, 2020.
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.

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