Thank you to all who helped make this year's IDE a wonderful experience! Stay tuned for information about our next IDE:Grasslands scheduled for fall 2013 at the Audubon Research Ranch.
April 19-22, 2012
- IDE photo slideshow -
- Listen to interview with former Institute Director Matt Brooks on Thirty Minutes from KXCI radio
- Read an article about IDE in February 2010 issue of Desert Leaf
We take great pride in the fact that the annual Institute of Desert Ecology is now in its fourth decade. Since that first Institute, over 2,000 individuals have come together to learn and share experiences, connecting with the natural environment in ways both intimate and profound. The 40th annual Institute was no exception, filled with "warmth, humor, brainwaves and brilliance."
The enthusiastic and inspired teaching of our own local experts, the spectacular backdrop of the northwest face of the Catalina Mountains, the catered meals, and the camaraderie of all those involved combine to produce four days that participants have described as "life changing" and "an experience that will not be forgotten."
Location: The site of the Desert Institute is Catalina State Park. The spectacular northwest face of the Santa Catalina Mountains forms the backdrop for this 5,500 acre desert park located just north of Tucson at elevations ranging from 2,650 to 3,000 feet. Desert washes, canyons and bajadas contain a vast array of desert plants and wildlife. The park is a popular birding area and has a bird list of over 150 species seen within its borders. Our camping area is comfortably shaded by mesquite trees, adjacent to undisturbed desert washes, canyons, hillsides and rich riparian areas, and secluded from other campgrounds. Days should be sunny and hot, but expect chilly nights and evenings.
Program: Our study focuses on Sonoran Desert ecosystems with emphasis on relationships between plants, animals and the physical characteristics of the desert rather than on classification and identification. Our days start early and optional activities such as owling, blacklighting for insects, and star talks extend into the evening hours. Participants and faculty interact in small groups during the first three days. On Sunday, a final hike ties together the experiences of earlier sessions for the entire group.
Accommodations & Meals: Participants furnish their own tents or campers. Water is available but there are no electrical or water hookups. To avoid disrupting the peaceful surroundings, operation of generators is not permitted. Restrooms and showers are available at the group camping site, and the park has holding tank disposal facilities. Ample, tasty meals are catered from an on-site unit, with adequate choices to accommodate vegetarians. Before early field sessions, a nutritious pre-breakfast snack is available.
Dates: April 19 - 22, 2012 - View the 2012 Brochure
Participants: Tucson Audubon membership is not required, but membership entitles you to a discounted price! Participants should be at least 18 years of age and in good health. Anyone with an interest in natural history and desert ecology can participate. No pets are allowed.
Note to teachers: 40 hours of Professional Development Credit is available for participants who teach within the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). “The Tucson Unified School District neither endorses nor sponsors the organization or activity represented in this document. The distribution of this material is provided as a community service.”
University Credit: One unit of University of Arizona credit is offered through RNR 497B/597B—Desert Ecosystems, for an additional fee. The University of Arizona is an EEO-AA Employer.
Scholarships: Limited scholarship funds are available. Contact the Institute Director for more information. Donations are welcomed and are tax deductible.
Faculty: Faculty members are experienced at teaching students with different knowledge levels. All faculty members have been teaching at the Institute for at least a decade, and some for much longer.
Learn more about the instructors and what they will teach at IDE.
IDE Faculty: Linwood Smith, Carl Olson, Bob Scarborough, Ronnie Sidner, Carl Tomoff, Cecil Schwalbe, and Matt! Brooks (director). Photo: Sara Pike.
RONNIE SIDNER, Ph.D. (Mammalogy)
CARL OLSON, M.S. (Entomology)
The University of Arizona
KEVIN BONINE, Ph.D. (Herpetology)
The University of Arizona
LINWOOD SMITH, Ph.D. (Ornithology and Botany)
CARL TOMOFF, Ph.D. (Ornithology and Botany)
BOB SCARBOROUGH (Geology)