September 2022 E-Newsletter

Ironwood Tree Experience is Back in Action!

Now in our 17th year of operation, our team fully understands what it takes to be back in action the right way – the ITE way! It requires caring, highly qualified, and dedicated people.

Read on to see who is making ITE a top choice for youth and how we’ve been gearing up to get young people and their teachers outdoors, connecting with each other, their communities, and nature.

To set the tone for upcoming programs, get ready for the field, and cohese the team, ITE staff had a week of training.

With this year’s theme of “spaciousness” in mind, Deborah, Operations Manager, said, “We have carved out lots of intentional space and time before the program season starts so our team can properly prepare and do a lot of the needed background work…”

Training included practicing interpretation and providing feedback, discussing workplace culture, meeting partners, and a staff camping trip on Mt. Lemmon.

Olivia, who will be starting their first season as a Field Instructor, said, “Not only was [camping] fun and beautiful and an amazing way to spend time with folks, but it was also helpful to experience the way that ITE does certain things in the field. It was really helpful for me to feel comfortable and confident in myself and the folks that I’m going to be working with.”

Isaac, who will be entering his second field season with ITE, used staff training as a time to reflect on successes in past programs in order to plan for the ones to come. Isaac is most looking forward to camping and providing experiences for ITE youth that pull them out of their day-to-day routines. He says that camping provides a “really cool opportunity to create the space and the community that [youth] want to have in a natural way… I like to create the vessel in which that can happen.”

ITE’s first program of the season was Field Studies for Schools with Gavin Lehrer’s class from Sahuarita High School. Keep an eye out for next month’s newsletter to see an update!

Outdoor experiential education isn’t only for students. Teachers are invited to join the fun too!

With help from local restaurant, La Botana, ITE staff were energized to lead a nature-based professional development workshop and share a meal with teachers representing Sahuarita High School, Satori Middle School, Tucson High Magnet School, Khalsa Montessori School, Sunnyside High School, and AZ State Schools for the Deaf & the Blind.

Teachers learned what they can expect in our Field Studies for Schools program, where students engage in field-based activities that are experiential and hands-on and often take place on public lands in Coronado National Forest.

Rebecca was excited to reconnect with teachers in her new role as Program Coordinator. She said, “I look forward to developing rigorous and innovative programs that excite students about natural and cultural history and inspire students to be leaders of climate action in Southern Arizona.

Kristen, Youth Development Manager, said, “Teachers … often see potential, curiosities, and passions that students don’t even realize they show. My hope is to deepen that relationship with teachers so … the teachers can help us connect with students who will really love to be part of the ITE community.”
Kristen holds a lead role in coordinating teacher professional development workshops while bringing great joy and care to the ITE EcoNetwork, a community of youth participants who gather monthly for outdoor EcoPrograms. Check the ITE website for the fall EcoProgram Calendar and the EcoNetwork benefits!

Teachers: If you’d like to sign up for Field Studies for Schools for Spring 2023, please contact Eric, Program Director, at

With all the changes experienced in the last year, we need caring, highly-qualified, and dedicated team members to help ITE get back in action.

Being away from ITE for 1.5 years due to the fallout of the pandemic, Chrissy is also back in action with ITE as the new Development Coordinator! She feels uplifted by witnessing the energy that everyone puts into creating the programs, and she said, “I can’t wait to see all this effort come to fruition when we get to witness how young people enjoy the outdoors and learn from these experiences.”

We wouldn’t have been able to make so much happen without the continued support of our dedicated Board of Directors, partners, donors, teachers, parents, and youth — Thank you!

Suzy, Executive Director, said, “I reflect on all the wonderful experiences our partners and donors support so that youth have more opportunities to fall in love with their community and the Sonoran Desert.”
And Eric, Program Director, said, “Getting into the field with youth and reconnecting with all the amazing natural areas around and within Tucson” is what he looks forward to most when he comes to work at ITE.

All of us at ITE look forward to engaging with the youth, parents, partners, and community that continue to support our programs as we support the youth that steward our environment.

Keep an eye out for our 2021-2022 Investment Report, which shows the amazing impact donors and partners like you have on young people and our organization!

Here’s to a beautiful, giving fall season.