Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

Cooper Center Crowdfunding 2021

Raised toward our $30,000 Goal
111 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on September 30, at 11:59 PM MST
Project Owners

Cooper Center Crowdfunding 2021

A stretch goal for our final day!

With less than a day left in the campaign, we have surpassed our goal of raising $30,000 in 30 days! Incredible. Thank you to everyone who supported our efforts by donating, sharing our campaign, or just cheering us on. These funds will go straight to funding staffing and program development here at the Cooper Center. 

Now, let's see if we can raise an additional $2,000 before midnight tonight (9/30) which will be allocated exclusively for buses and trip fees for classes that need our support.

Update 9/29/2021

With just 36 hours (or so) left to go, we only need to raise $1200 to reach our goal. If we can surpass 25K today, our 5K match will put us over $30,000!  Nearly 90 of you have donated so far - thank you so much! Please share our campaign to help us reach our goal!

Our goal: raise $30,000 for staff & programs


We need your help to grow our educational staff, improve and expand our programs, and better serve a more diverse audience of students from throughout southern Arizona. By keeping our staff small and our programs online for the last year, we have conserved resources and helped to keep our staff and students safe. Now is the time to expand and meet the needs of students ready for engaging, inspiring educational experiences that happen outside the classroom. We invite you to watch our video above and consider making a donation at whatever level you can.

A surprisingly successful 2020-21

During the pandemic, The Cooper Center pivoted from field trip experiences to virtual sessions, using the same guiding principles and ideas from our in-person programs. We have delivered engaging STEM learning opportunities to over 5,000 students in the 2020-21 program year, while providing something unique and exciting for remote learners.

Our overall number of students served in 2020-21 was up substantially over years prior, and we are confident that we can utilize remote instruction in the future when it is needed.

Priorities for the year ahead

Growing our education team

Environmental educators cultivate a love for the Sonoran Desert by engaging with the community and encouraging each student to develop a meaningful relationship with the natural world. During the pandemic, our team tapered to 3 seasoned educators managing and teaching online courses. This fall, we will be bringing on 2 new educators to help us serve more student groups at Camp Cooper, while helping us adapt our programs to be more inclusive, serve new age groups, and to meet the needs of our diverse audience.

Adapting our programs to be more inclusive & accessible

Aligning with our core value of a diverse and inclusive community, we aim to provide an inclusive space for all to learn about and care for our environment. As an organization, we are working to foster supportive relationships throughout our community, honoring and valuing the heritage and diverse perspectives of the students, teachers, and families we serve.

Helping kids reconnect with nature

The last year has demonstrated how incredibly resilient our students and teachers can be, but also how critical it is to provide students with hands-on educational experiences. Not all students can learn in a virtual environment, and few students thrive without a connection with their natural world. Field trips to Camp Cooper are opportunities for Tucson students to spend time outside, exploring their Sonoran desert home while gaining key understandings of science concepts that will last a lifetime.

Who we are

The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, which many of you know as “Camp Cooper,” is an outreach program of the University of Arizona College of Education in partnership with Tucson Unified School District (TUSD).


Since 1964, more than 140,000 kids have walked our trails and engaged in hands-on learning about desert plants and animals as a way to explore broader concepts in science and better understand how all of us impact our planet. We are Tucson's only residential overnight environmental educational camp, a mere 20 minute drive from downtown Tucson.

Our mission


Our mission is to increase ecological understandings and deepen feelings for nature. We do this by providing hands-on, research-based programs in science and earth education, by creating lifelong memories, and by inspiring learners of all ages to live more lightly and sustainably on the Earth. We offer half-day, full-day, overnight and multi-night educational stays for students throughout southern Arizona, with an emphasis on serving students from Title I schools.

We also work directly with teachers, teacher-educators, and University researchers to support interdisciplinary environmental learning and STEM education in the classroom and beyond.

We need your support

Arizona's public education system is ranked 49th in the nation, and public schools in Tucson rely on local community support. Cooper Center is an important part of this support network, focusing on STEM education and environmental learning. Here at Camp Cooper, our educators provide students with real world examples of the concepts that they learn in the classroom. 

For many of the children served by programs at Camp Cooper, their field trip experience is their first time in the Sonoran Desert, and perhaps even their first time leaving their neighborhood. An overnight experience with their class is a memory that lasts a lifetime. They have the opportunity to observe the night sky from beyond the city lights, and they sit around the campfire with their classmates, roasting marshmallows, singing songs, and listening to stories.

It's happy hour somewhere!

Each year, during crowdfunding month, we host an online entertainment happy hour with local musicians and storytellers, cartoonists and crooners, researchers and teachers, as well as donors and supporters. If you missed Happy Hour live - you can still watch it on our website, on Facebook or on Youtube.

Help us spread the word!

Share your support for Camp Cooper on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or by emailing this link:

You should also know...

• All donations are tax deductible.
• Cooper Center is also a setting for published research on environmental learning.
• We give education majors and other students at the UA opportunities to work with kids and teach in an outdoor setting, inspiring them to seek out careers in the field.
• Each gift is important, no matter the size! 

Thank you!  Your gift is a direct investment in Tucson's kids!


The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, an outreach program of the University of Arizona, sits on the traditional homelands of the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui, who have stewarded this land from time immemorial. Aligning with Cooper Center’s and the University’s core value of a diverse and inclusive community, it is an institutional responsibility for us to recognize, represent, and acknowledge the ancestors, people, culture, and history our community resides on.

Cooper Center for Environmental Learning
P.O. Box 210069 Tucson, AZ 85721

Choose a giving level


Field Trip Fun

Fund a Camp Cooper educational experience for one student.


Overnight Memories

Allows a child to spend the night at Cooper and covers costs for educational staff!


56 Years & Counting

Camp Cooper has been serving students for 56 years. Help us keep providing students a unique educational experience for many years to come.



Named for Cooper's amazing 3-day program for 4th and 5th graders, you will be fully supporting 2 students' Camp Cooper experience!


Camp Cooper VIP

Show your strong dedication to the mission, values, and vision of the Cooper Center! For giving at this level, you will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Camp Cooper with Cooper Center Director Colin Waite during the program of your choice, as well as donor recognition and a special invitation to our annual donor and teacher celebration event.

Our Crowdfunding Groups