Cooper Center for Environmental Learning
Answer the Challenge!
Tucson Unified Superintendent HT Sanchez has a group of donors who will match up to $10,000 in gifts from TUSD teachers, administrators, staff, and parents. If you are a member of the Tucson Unified community, your gift's value will double!
Click here for more information on Dr. Sanchez's challenge.
Camp Cooper Needs Your Help
Camp Cooper has been creating lasting memories in the beautiful Sonoran Desert since 1964. Generations of Tucsonans have experienced its programs, and many are now sharing new experiences and creating new memories with their children and grandchildren.
For the center to run at full capacity and continue to provide meaningful programs, community involvement is necessary. Your contribution to this campaign will help Cooper to hire passionate educators for its environmental learning programs and to operate field experiences during the upcoming school year.
Building on Last Year's Success
Last summer, we raised $20,001 in our 45-day crowdfunding campaign. Over 100 supporters made gifts to help the Cooper Center finance educational staff for the 2015-16 school year during that time. Our crowdfunding victory was added to $60,000 in grants and other contributions to keep Cooper's programs up and running. This year, over 3,000 will benefit from our victory.
The Cooper Center is now a community partnership, where Friends of Cooper, the University of Arizona, and Tucson Unified School District work together to provide memorable overnight experiences to the children of Southern Arizona. Each spring, the Cooper Center will fundraise for a portion of its operational funding through crowdfunding, and it is critical that you #SupportCampCooper with your gift as part of our campaign.
Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders
Our home, the planet Earth, is in desperate need of a new generation of environmental leaders, and the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning is where they will begin their journey. Southern Arizona is faced with new and more challenging environmental issues each and every day, from energy consumption and air pollution to unhealthy food choices, overpopulation and dwindling water supplies.
Today’s children are tomorrow’s decision-makers, and the Cooper Center’s programs are the keystone experiences in unlocking each child’s appreciation and understanding of the vital links between human beings and the natural world.
You are the person who will shape the future of the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning. Your support is the key with which the Cooper Center will effectively carry out its Mission, Values, and Vision.
Our Mission & Values
Experiences at the Cooper Center provide a Sense of Place, a Sense of Wonder, and a Sense of Action. We believe it is our duty and obligation to help people learn about and feel connected to the desert in which we live. We believe that each day the beauty of the Sonoran Desert is offered up to us through a unique array of plants, animals, and vistas – ours to enjoy by simply taking the time to step into the outdoors. We believe that each person must pledge to make small and large changes at home, work, and school to help preserve our natural communities of life.
This is accomplished by offering programs and workshops that increase understandings of and deepen feelings for the earth and its life – extended educational experiences for students and teachers. The Cooper Center inspires individuals to develop ecologically sound practices in the Sonoran Desert and promotes partnerships between the University of Arizona, southern Arizona schools, and the local community to help prepare educators to better integrate environmental learning and sustainable practices in the classroom.
Our Vision & Your Role
The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning aspires to be a community-based center that offers programs and experiences for learners of all ages. Our current field trip experiences provide opportunities for positive natural world encounters with a focus on the basics of ecological systems. Cooper’s programs provide experiences that cannot be taught in the classroom, while also developing life skills that allow each learner to live more lightly on the Earth.
To realize our Vision, the Cooper Center is building a stronger financial foundation, where university, community and school district resources are strengthened by forward-thinking, environmentally-concerned individuals like you. To maximize our effectiveness, the Cooper Center needs passionate, highly-skilled staff to carry out our programs to the fullest extent of their potential.
“Inspiring Environmental Leaders since 1964”
Over 130,000 students have experienced the Cooper Center’s programs since teachers first started bringing their students in 1964, and each year, another 4,000 or more participants connect to their environment in new and exciting ways. The center is powered by a groundbreaking partnership between Tucson Unified School District, who owns the facility, and the University of Arizona’s College of Education, who manages the programs that Cooper facilitates. This partnership, between two of Arizona’s oldest and most successful educational institutions, ensures that the Cooper Center’s future is stable. The center is unique in Southern Arizona as the only overnight facility in the Sonoran Desert itself and in the ways that we bring together teachers, school children, and future teachers in that setting.
Cooper’s programs offer a diverse approach to environmental learning that makes them more accessible and flexible for teachers. These programs are evaluated based on their goals and outcomes. The College of Education’s Earth Education Research and Evaluation Team (EERET) analyzes data and publishes research based on Cooper’s multi-night earth education programs as well as similar programs across the nation and across the globe. Earth education programs offered at Cooper have been in practice internationally for over 25 years, and there is significant research to show the effectiveness and importance of these offerings. Cooper’s single-night and day trip experiences are evaluated carefully by College of Education faculty and staff to meet goals set forth by the College’s teacher preparation programs, the new UA STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) Learning Center, the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS), and the K-12 Framework for Science Education.
The need for strong, influential environmental leaders in our communities has never been more important, and Cooper is at the forefront of this field in Southern Arizona. Your philanthropic commitment will ensure that the Cooper Center is poised to take advantage of the opportunities in environmental learning that are emerging.
All donations are tax deductible as charitable giving. They are not eligible for the Arizona Tax Credit for schools, but we will be collecting Arizona Tax Credit donations in the fall to support field trip costs for teachers and students.
“As someone who’s done environmental education in Tucson for the past eight years, I’ve discovered there’s no substitute for getting kids out into the desert. The sense of scale and assault on your senses can’t be mimicked. Cooper Center taps into the deserts potential not only through its unparalleled location but through the quality programs it delivers.” – Moses Thompson, Teacher & Counselor, Manzo Elementary