Summer Conservation Experience
Dorrance Scholars from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University gather each July to participate in the Summer Conservation Experience (SCE). During the first week of the program, students visit the Grand Canyon and then live on the NAU campus where they attend intensive workshops on environmental conservation, Arizona history and culture, and indigenous wisdom. While in Flagstaff, students identify the "thorny conservation problems" that serve as the inspiration for their final projects. Students also gather resources to take in the field that will help them understand the background behind their conservation problem.
During the second week of the SCE, students travel to the San Juan River for a four day professionally guided river trip that focuses on the sustainability of Ancestral Puebloan culture. Next, the group travels to Kykotsmovi to visit the Hopi Cultural Center and speak with Hopi community members about ground water decline and traditional Hopi agriculture. While on the Plateau, the group will discuss the unique geologic history and ecology of the region. Students also visit historic La Posada and dine at the renowned Turquoise Room in Winslow.
After exploring the Colorado Plateau, students return to Flagstaff where they further their knowledge about their thorny conservation problem using the NAU library, local resources, and Flagstaff community members. During this time, the group learns to prepare sustainable meals from locally sourced ingredients with Chef Frank Branham at the Cottage Place. The course ends with an exploration of the Sonoran Desert including a visit to the Santa Rita Experimental Range and the Sonoran Desert Museum. The SCE students finish the course by sharing their final projects with the Dorrance Entrepreneurship students at a joint symposium.