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Cooper Center Crowdfunding 2022

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

Cooper Center Crowdfunding 2022

You Did It! Give the Desert was a SUCCESS! THANK YOU!!

Monday October 3rd, 2022

Our September crowdfunding campaign 'Give the Desert' has come to an end and we were successful in raising $30k to fund our staff and programs for the 2022-2023 school year! Thank you to everyone who made a gift to Cooper Center this year. Your donations ensure we are able to provide every student who visits Cooper a remarkable and unforgettable experience.

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


Your gift provides direct support for Cooper Center's passionate team of educators. They cultivate a love for our Sonoran Desert by inspiring each student to develop a meaningful relationship with the natural world.

Our educators are at the heart of everything we do at Camp Cooper. After more than 18 months, we welcomed field trip groups back last October. While our restart was slow as teachers continued to battle the challenges of the pandemic, we hosted 1,639 schoolchildren during the 2021-22 school year, about half of what we would expect for a "normal" program year.

Our goal is to serve more than 3,200 students with in-person field trips during 2022-23.

Your support allows us to:

  • Serve more students each year
  • Improve our programs, making them more effective, enjoyable, inclusive and accessible
  • Provide additional resources to classroom teachers, including professional development
  • Take care of our staff with competitive wages, salary increases for performance and longevity and opportunities for growth

Cooper Center educators are helping the children and youth of today to become our community's next generation of environmentally responsible citizens and leaders, as well as fostering a love of our Sonoran Desert that will lead them to be its stewards.

Why 'Give the Desert'?

The average child in the United States only plays outside 6 minutes a day while spending more than 7 hours on screens. Medical and educational research show that 6 hours per day of outdoor learning and play are critical if children are to reach their full potential. Human brains grow best when they get quality time outside. Spending time in natural places makes people of all ages healthier, more creative, more empathetic and better prepared to connect with each other and engage with the world.

The core of Cooper Center's mission is to provide opportunities for children and families who have limited or no access to outdoor experiences. We focus on overnight field trips for public school groups, and more than 90% of the students we serve come from families in poverty, receive free and reduced cost lunches and other social services.

A key component of Cooper Center's mission is providing a safe and inclusive space for people of all background and abilities to connect with the outdoors. Cooper Center works to break down all barriers that keep people from experiencing the outdoors safely and comfortably.

Aligning with our core value of a diverse and inclusive community, we work to provide an inclusive space for all to learn about and care for our planet. 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. We ensure that every individual has the same opportunities at Camp Cooper and is welcomed and respected for who they are. Our team demonstrates the values of mutual respect and inclusivity and incorporates them into everything we do. 

Who we are...

The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, is a "living classroom" in Tucson's desert foothills, run by the University of Arizona (UA) College of Education in partnership with Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). Each year, thousands of students visit the Cooper Center for hands-on, outdoor science lessons designed to inspire an enduring love and respect for the natural world. The Cooper Center also gives every UA Pre-K-8 education major real-world practice working with young learners and serves as a setting for published research on how kids learn in and about nature. Operating since 1964 and today funded almost entirely by grassroots donors and private grants, the Cooper Center, aka "Camp Cooper," now often hosts the grandkids of its earliest students, welcoming a third generation to its 140,000 alumni around the world.

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.

Let's Make Memories

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. Children have the opportunity to observe the night sky from beyond the city lights, sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows, singing songs and listening to stories. Help us provide these opportunities for the kids who need them the most.

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!

You can learn more about our work at

You can follow us on social media at:


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!


58 Years & Counting

Camp Cooper has been serving students for 58 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.


Crowdfunding Champion

Our annual crowdfunding campaign is a key element of funding our amazing educational staff and programs. Thank you for your dedication to our work! For giving at this level, you will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Camp Cooper with 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.


Field Trip Hero

A gift at this level funds a 3-day, 2-night Earthkeepers experience for an entire class of elementary school students, including staffing costs, student fees, materials, meals and school bus transportation. For giving at this level, you will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Camp Cooper with Center Director Colin Waite during your sponsored Earthkeepers program, as well as donor recognition and a special invitation to our annual donor and teacher celebration event.

Our Crowdfunding Groups