In the Spring of 2012, Tucson Audubon partnered with Audubon Arizona and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Tucson Field Office to pilot the River Pathways curriculum in two Vail district high schools: Empire High School and Cienega High School. River Pathways is an experiential education program that was developed by Audubon Arizona and funded by the BLM. The goals of the curriculum are to get students outdoors, introduce them to Arizona’s native habitats, and build their interest in careers managing public lands and natural resources.
In the classroom, students completed a five module curriculum focused on riparian ecology and resource management. The students then participated in two field trips. The first field trip was to Sweetwater Wetlands, where they were trained in riparian monitoring techniques. Then, they took a second field trip to Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, a riparian area administered by the BLM, to apply what they learned at Sweetwater and assist agency scientists in collecting data used to make management decisions.