The average child in the United States only plays outside six minutes a day while spending more than seven hours on screens.Medical and educational research shows that six hours per day of outdoor learning and play are critical for children to reach their full potential. Human brains grow best when they enjoy quality time outside. Spending time in nature 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 various field trips for public school groups - more than 90% of the students we serve come from Title I schools and most receive free and reduced-cost lunches and/or other social services.
A key component of Cooper Center's mission is providing a safe and inclusive space for people of all backgrounds 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 creating a diverse and inclusive community, we work to provide an inclusive space for all to learn about and care for our planet. We are constantly working to foster supportive relationships throughout our community and honor and value the heritage and diverse perspectives of the students, teachers and families we serve. We ensure that everyone receives equal 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, sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows, sing songs and listen to stories. Help us provide these opportunities for the kids who need them the most.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 520-626-1825
Choose a giving level
Field Trip Fun
Fund a Camp Cooper educational experience for one student.
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 with 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 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 with 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.
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.