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. 

tree coring
Student with tree core.

The students will explore the Flagstaff and Grand Canyon region during the first week of the program.  They will hear from Grand Canyon National Park staff about natural resource and visitation management challenges, discover ancient Puebloan architecture at Wupatki National Monument and gain experience in tree-coring while learning about Ponderosa Pine forest ecology. While in Flagstaff, students will gather resources to take in the field that will help them understand the background behind their problem.  

During the second week of the SCE, students will travel to the San Juan River for a 4-day professionally guided river trip that will focus on the environmental change over time and the sustainability of Ancestral Puebloan cultures.  After leaving the river, the group will visit the Goosenecks of the San Juan where we will talk about the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. At the end of the field section, the group will visit La Posada Hotel in Winslow and mark the transition to Flagstaff with a special dinner at the Turquoise Room. 

The last full week of the course will be spent in Flagstaff where students will further their knowledge about their conservation problems using the NAU library, local resources, and Flagstaff community members.