Our Mission

To create healthy and resilient communities, Ironwood Tree Experience makes it possible for young people to engage with the natural world and be stewards of the environment.


ITE is a non-profit organization providing young people with active, fun, and educational experiences that take place in our Field Station, in urban environments, and throughout diverse natural destinations. Our passionate and highly qualified team uses experiential, community-based, ecology lessons and activities to facilitate students’ learning about natural systems. As a result, young people develop a respectful relationship with nature and their community, and build life and career skills which allows them to make positive changes for a sustainable, restorative future. These efforts make ITE a top choice for Tucson youth and a recognized model for environmental education across the nation.

Core Values

1. Our programs are intended for a youth audience and are designed to be mindful, educational and experiential with an emphasis on ecological principles and concepts.

2. Our programs manage risk by offering activities that are age and skill appropriate, and facilitated by a passionate and highly qualified team of staff and partners.

3. ITE provides training opportunities and professional development for its youth members, staff, and interns to advance their interests, skills, and experiences.

4. ITE engenders a professional, collaborative, and creative work environment for its youth members, staff, and other stakeholders.

5. ITE models permaculture practices by making informed decisions that considers people care, earth care, and fair share.

6. ITE honors and wisely uses financial donations, grant awards, and in-kind contributions for its intended purposes from donors who are aligned with our mission.

7. ITE supports partnerships with other youth and environmental organizations as part of an ecosystem of opportunities, shared resources, and experiences.

Our Philosophy

Ironwood Tree Experience is deeply rooted in the following beliefs…

…the diversity and complexity of the natural world sustains humanity and provides metaphors and unbiased lessons for a healthful, mindful and fulfilling life.

…adolescents are intrinsically curious, intellectual, and active. Those who directly experience nature, through multi-sensory connections, reinforce a process of awareness, concern, and respect for self, others, and the natural world.

…our community is a dynamic place, where teens are valued and are able to voice perspectives, share solutions, and contribute action towards contemporary social and environmental issues. By doing so, teens respect and nurture connections between family, friends, neighbors, and the rest of the natural world.