Nature & Culture Beyond Borders - Summer 2023
Nature & Culture Beyond Borders – Summer 2023
Made possible with support from
Major funding from the the National Park Service – Juan Bautista de Anza NHT, with additional support from the Western National Parks Association, and the Dustin and Kristen Yoder Memorial Foundation made it possible to run the Nature & Culture Beyond Borders summer program.
The grant enabled 6 high school interns and 7 middle school youth participants to discover and explore their natural world. Youth interns practiced leadership and nature and cultural interpretation skills with a younger audience.
Youth received the resources, support and expertise to create friendships; developed a sense of place; and learn about the plants, animals, people, music, traditions, and foods of the Borderlands region while visiting the Juan Bautista de Anza NHT and Chiricahua National Monument.
Youth for Blue Skies - Spring 2023
Youth for Blue Skies – Spring 2023
Youth for Blue Skies (YBS) is an environment and community-based internship program in partnership with the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ). The internship program finished successfully with 8 youth interns from 5 different schools, ages 14-17, and 6 youth mentors from the YBS 2022 intern cohort.
Across 8 sessions, interns explored storytelling, air pollution, and environmental justice. By participating in workshops led by experts and YBS mentors, interns experienced the myriad ways that community members are building resilience in the face of climate change. By listening to nature’s ever-abundant lessons, they developed a deep sense of connection with the human and more-than-human communities of the Sonoran Desert.
Throughout the program, interns distilled their vast experiences of interactions among humans and the natural world into oral and visual stories. Mentors carried out the Climate Action Projects that they proposed in 2022. At ITE’s Season Finale on May 13, 2023, interns shared their stories and mentors reflected on their continued journey with YBS.
Envisioning Urban to Wild - Summer 2022
Envisioning Urban to Wild – Summer 2022
In partnership with The Wilderness Society, Ironwood Tree Experience recruited six youth interns ages 15 through 19 to experience a 10-day expedition to learn about the Urban to Wild Program in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Interns connected with Indigenous lands, Albuquerque’s urban areas, and the Rio Grande Watershed. They engaged with renowned New Mexican leaders and organizations who are addressing climate change, environmental justice, and conservation to ensure that Albuquerque is a healthy biologically and culturally diverse community.
Through a comparative community lens, interns collaborated to envision a restorative and resilient future for Tucson and Southern Arizona which culminated in an envisioning workshop for the Tucson community.
Field Studies for Schools with Nosotros Academy - 2021-22
Field Studies for Schools with Nosotros Academy – 2021-22
Teachers from Nosotros Academy, a Title I school, collaborated with Ironwood Tree Experience to design a place-based and experiential academic enrichment program. Nosotros teachers and ITE instructors developed this program for a diverse student population that includes Hispanic-Latino, Native American, IEP, low-socioeconomic, and English Language Learner high school students, grades 9-12. This program included in-field lessons that connect Math, ELA, Science, Civics, Social Studies, Geography, and Arizona and Tucson History. The program reinforced Arizona’s academic state standards and helped foster an appreciation for learning, school culture, and a sense of stewardship for their community and environment.
Youth for Blue Skies - Spring 2022
Youth for Blue Skies – Spring 2022
Made possible with support from Pima County Department of Environmental Quality
Youth for Blue Skies (YBS) was an environment and community-based internship program in partnership with Pima Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ). The internship program finished successfully with 8 youth interns, ages 14-18, from 7 different schools.
Throughout the 16 workshops, youth interns explored climate change, air pollution, environmental justice, and ecology through experiences in our Sonoran Desert community. By actively engaging in environmental science, attending expert led workshops, exploring natures lessons and sharing community stories, interns gained new skills, friendships, and a unique behind-the-scenes look at the intersections of environmental quality and society.
In their capstone projects, interns formed three groups and creative community action projects. They submitted grants to Citizen Climate Lobby, and produced individual and group videos to capture their climate action project, their reflections, and their overall experience. They now are YBS mentors.
Sonoran Joint Venture 2022
In 2019, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Sonoran Joint Venture entered into a cooperative agreement with Ironwood Tree Experience to lead a partnership program engaging youth, ages 14-20, in bird observations, identification, and conservation.
From 2019-2022, this program impacted over 300 youth and adults by helping them gain awareness of bird habitats and conservation in Southern Arizona and to become better stewards of the environment.
This report highlights youths’ engagement in bird conservation in ITE’s Field Studies for Schools, Youth Action Community, and Community Events.
Wilderness Warriors - Spring 2022
Wilderness Warriors – Spring 2022
Made possible with support from The Wilderness Society
Wilderness Warriors (WW) was a month-long internship program of The Wilderness Society (TWS) and Ironwood Tree Experience (ITE), serving youth ages 15-20. Interns were introduced to the natural, cultural, and economic benefits of public lands through first-hand experiences with the land by hiking, camping, backpacking, and connecting with the peoples who advocate and steward our public lands. In turn, the youth interns made personal discoveries through exploration of the deserts, mountains, and canyons of Southeast Arizona, which are the ancestral lands of the O’odham people and many other indigenous communities.
Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures - Spring 2022
Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures – Spring 2022
Made possible with support from the National Park Service – Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures (YASWC) was a month-long program ﬁnancially supported by the NPS Juan Bautista de Anza NHT. It focused on the place-based exploration of ecological and cultural landscapes along and around the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (JUBA NHT) as it follows the Santa Cruz River (SCR).
This internship was largely structured around the in-ﬁeld exploration and survey of both urban and wild ecosystems, intersectional environmentalism, interpretive storytelling, asset/amenity mapping, and collaboration with National Park Rangers and other local experts on the development of stories pertaining to our unique bioregional cultural and natural histories.
Youth Action Community 2021-2022
Youth Action Community 2021-2022
Contributions from our donors and partners have directly advanced the efforts of the ITE program, Youth Action Community (YAC), while influencing and impacting the lives of 67 youth and young alumni to become better environmental stewards and to connect personally with the natural world.
YAC is a network of ITE youth, ages 14-20, and YAC Young Alumni that promotes environmental justice, intersectional environmentalism, and community care through workshops and community events. Youth create connections with peers and mentors while gaining friendships, skills, and experiences in outdoor recreation, environmental education, and conservation.
This report highlights the YAC accomplishments that were made possible in Fiscal Year 2021. Enjoy!
Desert Youth Heritage Project - Fall 2021
Desert Youth Heritage Project – Fall 2021
Made possible with support from the National Park Service – Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail & the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area
The Desert Youth Heritage Project (DYHP) was a youth internship program ﬁnancially supported by the Juan Bautista de Anza NHT and in partnership with the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area. The program goal was to foster stewardship of the Santa Cruz River Valley by engaging youth and the public in a shared understanding of the region’s cultural and natural heritage from the perspective of youth living in the Sonoran Desert.
In the fall of 2021, seven high school DYHP interns utilized ITE interpretive storytelling methodology by exploring their community, interviewing family, doing research, and then sharing their connection to the cultural and natural environment as residents within the Santa Cruz River Valley. Youth interns employed multiple storytelling mediums to depict their intersection of environment, ancestry, community, and culture. On December 18, 2021 the interns presented their experiences to the public.
WorldWildWeb - 2020
WorldWildWeb – 2020
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic shutdown in March 2020, Ironwood Tree Experience staff collaborated with donors, partners, youth participants, and our community to plan a path forward in uncertain times.
To ensure the health and safety of all and to stay true to our mission, ITE staff created a way to keep youth engaged with ITE programs and internships, the natural world, and each other. Sticking together, yet at a safe social distance, the WorldWildWeb was launched in May 2020.
The ITE WorldWildWeb is a worldwide digital connection of friends who seek, discover, and share the natural and cultural wonders of their home, neighborhood, and community.
A diverse series of projects and internships engaged ITE teens in active exploration of nature and community. Teens interfaced with other ITE youth, staff, and local and global partners and experts to learn more about projects and build a professional network of friends who live near and afar.
This report highlights our 2020 accomplishments. Enjoy!