More than 900 students from low-income households will now be able to go on overnight field trips to the Tucson Mountains for free.
Camp Cooper received a $10,000 scholarship grant from Angel Charity for Children, which will pay for students to experience the camp’s overnight field trip programs.
Stephanie Pederson is the outdoor learning educator for Borton Magnet Elementary School. She says the field trip programs at Camp Cooper help students learn and grow through hands-on experiences.
“Learning that is meaningful happens through experiences. Learning that we remember and [that] helps shape the people that we become happens through experiences,” Pederson says. “And Camp Cooper, time and time again for myself as well as for all of the students that I’ve taken out there over the years, has changed who they are.”
Cooper Center Director Colin Waite echoes Pederson and says Camp Cooper aims to provide students with positive emotional connections with nature while also educating them about how to live more sustainably.
“When we think about the health of our planet and how many environmental issues there are right now and there will be in the future, the only way to prepare kids for dealing with those decisions and those challenges is to provide them with the knowledge and experience they need to learn for themselves and to act for themselves,” Waite says.
Camp Cooper aims to foster positive emotional connections with the environment among young students by using hands-on educational activities. The scholarship will benefit K-8 low-income students in the Tucson Unified School District.
Sarah Workman is an AZPM intern and student at the University of Arizona School of Journalism.