Upon the passing of Dena Greenwood in 2018, many NAAS members wished to memorialize Dena’s substantial contributions to our community by making a donation in her name. Over a relatively short period of time, over $7,000 was raised and her family decided that the most fitting tribute would be to use these funds for educational purposes. Dena had been very active in education over many years as she saw this as the key to sustaining a vibrant natural environment.
To that end, a team consisting of Randy Miller, Rob Gibbs, Rita Faruki and Brent Bitz have been busy developing a course called An Introduction to Natural History Field Studies. However, the really exciting news is that Yavapai College has become our partner in this endeavor and the course is now part of their non-credit curriculum.
This four-session course will introduce students to the diverse habitats of the Greater Verde Valley region with special emphasis on understanding why these habitats exist where they do and the characteristic species found in each. Participants will visit our Bubbling Ponds and Sedona Wetlands sanctuaries and other natural areas, learn about the region’s plants and animals, and get a hands-on introduction to the art of birding and other aspects of natural history field studies. The class will focus on identification of local species and stress the interdependence of species within each habitat discussed. Opportunities to participate in natural history studies through a variety of citizen science projects will also be discussed.
Students will meet in the field the morning of each session to take advantage of wildlife activity and cooler temperatures, returning to the classroom mid-morning to expand on the day’s lessons. NAAS recently purchased 20 binoculars specifically for educational purposes and these will be made available to the students. NAAS members Rita Faruki and Rob Gibbs will be the instructors for this course. The course registration may be found at the following link:
Yavapai College charges $160 per student for this program and the Greenwood Fund will provide each student with a $50 tuition reimbursement payment. With class size being limited to twelve students, this means that the fund will incur expenses of around $600 per semester.
The Greenwood Fund intends to work with Yavapai College so that the program is offered twice per year, in Fall and Spring. Current funding will sustain the program for the next few years, but it is hoped that the program will become permanent. Given this, the Fund is still seeking donations so that Dena’s dream of encouraging the next generations to support healthy habitat through education can be realized. Donations may be made via the NAAS website through the following link: