Classes, Lectures & Workshops

The learning never stops at Tohono Chul – discover this for yourself in our Classes, Lectures & Workshops!

We’re all about connecting our members and visitors to the amazing world around us, offering them opportunities to make their own discoveries about the nature, art and culture of our region. Read on for our latest listings of classes, lectures and workshops designed to engage and delight!

Cancellation Policy

We reserve the right to cancel or postpone an event due to lack of enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances. A full refund will apply. If however, you cancel your registration in a class or lecture (generally priced $6-$20), there is no refund. If you cancel your registration in a hands-on workshop, there is a full refund if your space can be filled.


Tai Chi Chih: “Joy through Movement”

Monday-Thursday | February 10-13 | 11am-11:50am | Performance Garden

Join certified instructor, Laura Star, in the natural beauty of Tohono Chul to learn T’ai Chi Chih (tie chee cha). Students will learn the first 10 movements of this soft, flowing, moving meditation practiced by thousands of people around the world. Easy to learn, the practice brings many benefits including peace of mind, improved health, balance and joy! The primary purpose of T’ai Chi Chih is to circulate and balance the body’s energy, or chi, resulting in a state of health and well-being. T’ai Chi Chih does not require a particular level of fitness or coordination. (For those with physical limitations, movements may be done seated). Please wear completely flat shoes (no athletic shoes); class is outdoors, dress appropriately.

$50 members | $50 plus the cost of admission for the general public

To register email Laura Star at Lstar23@gmail.com or call/text 218-590-4060 (students pay the instructor directly at first class – cash please); practice DVD available for purchase.


Yoga in the Spring at the Overlook

Tuesdays | March 10 to April 28 | 8:30am-9:30am | $8 members | $8 plus admission general public

Welcome spring with an hour of rejuvenating yoga led by Barbara Sherman. Enjoy deep breathing practices and physical postures to improve your health and increase your strength and flexibility. Open your senses to an understanding of our connection to the earth.  Please bring your own mat and gather at the Overlook. Stroll the park afterwards or visit the Garden Bistro for a healthy breakfast.


Living with the Desert

Thursdays | February 6-March 12 | 10am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $69 members | $79 general public

Each of us comes to live in the Sonoran Desert for different reasons, but for all of us, the landscape is unlike anywhere we’ve lived before. The plants are unique, even hostile; the animals, strange and often threatening. Yet there is a magical – even mystical – quality to the land and its creatures and we can’t help but want to know more. Taught by Director of Education, Jo Falls, each week a different aspect of our desert home is covered beginning with “why a desert?” Delving into native plants, participants discover there is so much “more than just cactus” and that we also share our desert with a variety of creatures – “lizards and packrats and bugs, oh my!” Humans have made a relatively recent appearance in the Tucson Basin, but our footsteps have left their mark, leaving a trail from the ancient Hohokam to the Old Pueblo of today. And finally, how can we successfully live with the desert? Taking into account the forces of nature that shape the land, while acknowledging and understanding the creatures we share our “space” with, Tucsonans can welcome the desert into their homes while making their homes in the desert.


Nature Journaling: The Art of Seeing and Recording the World around You | SOLD OUT | call 742-6455 x 228 to be wait listed

Friday, February 21 | 5-7pm and Saturday & Sunday, February 22 & 23 | 9am-3pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $135 members | $150 general public

If you train your mind to see deeply and with intentional curiosity . . . the world will open before you.” — John Muir Laws Keeping a nature journal can deepen your connections to the natural world and help you learn more about it. And the great thing is that neither science education nor art training is needed — you will develop the skills of a naturalist and a field sketch-artist along the way. In this class, taught by naturalist and author Roseann Hanson (Southern Arizona Nature Almanac) students will learn to practice “intentional curiosity” as the core of nature journaling: to ask questions, to dig deeper, to focus our minds both intently and intentionally. Hanson will cover the nuts-and-bolts of journal-keeping from paper and ink types and laying out pages to prompts to jump-start observations and advice on researching science questions. There will be easy tips to enable anyone to get started sketching and painting as you are freed from your inner critic. On one of the days Hanson will be joined by a guest artist who will lead a 2-hour sketching-skills session. By the end of the weekend you will leave with a new way of seeing the natural world, armed with new skills for recording all that you will experience. Simple supply list will be provided, but all you really need is a notebook, pen and your curiosity! Please bring a brown bag lunch Saturday and Sunday.


Behind Barrio Walls: Garden Design Lessons from Tucson’s Oldest Neighborhoods | SOLD OUT | call 742-6455 x 228 to be wait listed

Saturday | February 22 | 10am | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $6 members | $10 general public

Behind the much-loved facades of historic homes in Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods, beguiling gardens are tucked away from public view. Over the last 15 years, author and landscape designer Scott Calhoun has worked to re-imagine over a dozen of these spaces. Join Calhoun for an armchair photographic tour of some of the Old Pueblo’s most intimate gardens, and learn how to incorporate charming elements from the barrio into your Tucson landscape.


A Pool Re-purposed

Saturday | February 29 | 10am | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $6 members | $10 general public

Has your water-hungry pool become just a hole in the ground? There is a way to make that unwanted pool a sustainable feature of your backyard landscape. Jason Isenberg of REALM shares an eye-opening approach to pool retirement. Rather than just backfilling it, explore your options and discover new ways to incorporate an underused pool into a polished landscape — from an in-ground planter to a water harvesting water feature or from an outdoor living space to a sunken patio for bird watching or entertaining.


The Gift of Nature #1

Saturday | February 29 | 10am-12pm | Entry Ramada | $25 members | $35 general public

Integrative Health Coach and Certified Nature Connection Guide, Carol Roberge, will tell you that sometimes in our “human selves” we can become so consumed with life that we miss what is around us. Most of us will agree. This busy season, join Roberge on a gentle, guided nature walk inspired by the practice of Shinrin-yoku — “forest bathing.” Slow down, focus, nourish the spirit and nurture our relationship with the natural world. Become ever present and learn to open yourself to the changing, mysterious and nuanced ways of a place through a series of “guided invitations.” Discover your authentic way of interacting with the land, helping to grow and strengthen the threads of connection between person and place. The walk ends with a ceremony sharing tea. As we move into this new year, may we step out of the familiar and embrace new possibilities. Please dress for the weather and feel free to bring a journal or sketch pad to record your experiences. 


The Traveler’s Garden: Durable, Trouble-free Design for Globetrotters | SOLD OUT | call 742-6455 x 228 to be wait listed

Saturday | March 7 | 10am | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $6 members | $10 general public

As we age, our priorities change; the gardens we planted in our 20s, 30s and 40s — perhaps a parade of colorful perennials needing regular watering, cutting back and fussing over — might begin to feel like a burden. A lot of us have places to go, children or grandchildren to visit, a birding trip in Mexico, a cycling tour through Italy or wine tasting in France. So how do we keep that Tucson backyard garden alive and vibrant? Join garden designer and author Scott Calhoun and discover the plants and garden furnishings that are durable enough to withstand multiple weeks of neglect. Through photos and plant lists, learn how to create a garden you can leave, and still want to come home to. This goes for part-time winter residents, too!


iPhone Photo Editing – #2

Saturday | March 7 | 9am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $60 members | $75 general public

Have you ever tried to photograph flowers, wildlife, people or pets outdoors only to find your photos were rather “blah?” Well, Peggy Steffens, William Walther and Ron Shannon are here to teach you how to make your nature photography stand out from all the rest. Participants must have an Apple iPhone 6S or newer running the current IOS and are asked to download the free Snapseed application from the App Store before class.


Pocket Sketching | SOLD OUT | call 742-6455 x 228 to be wait listed

Wednesday-Friday | March 11-13 | 10am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $285 (no supplies) or $325 (with supplies) members | $300 (no supplies) or $340 (with supplies) general public

This quick-draw technique of artist Kath Macaulay is perfect for travel journaling, hiking, biking, sauntering or just sitting in a roadside café. Capture what you see in 25 minutes or less using a water soluble pen, 4×6 inch pad and a small paint set. The three-day workshop includes basic technique anyone can learn, and working ‘on location’ in the Park, plus technique from John Singer Sargent. Ideal for timid beginners who want to fearlessly paint in public, and for experienced artists who want total portability, speed and no clean-up. Cost includes all supplies; if you already have them, take advantage of the discounted price (list emailed on request from jfalls@tohonochul.org).


Dapper Animal Mosaic Portraits

Friday | March 13 | 10am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $100 members | $115 general public

Looking for something a little bit “wild?” Mosaic artist David Jarvinen has dressed up animal doodles for you to turn into colored mosaics! Choose from tigers, antelopes, parrots, foxes and more. Learn nipping, cutting and fitting techniques with glass tiles as you “color” with mosaics and create 8” x10” framed animal portraits. Grout provided to complete once adhesive cures. All materials provided. Please bring a brown bag lunch. 


Tucson Flora Top Tens

Saturday | March 14 | 10am | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $6 members | $10 general public

Horticulturist Jason Isenberg, owner of REALM and ISA Certified Arborist, counts down the top ten plants in a dozen categories that will do more than just survive in Tucson’s harsh climate. Got shade? There’s a plant for that. Interested in attracting pollinators? There are plants for that, too. Too much sun? Too little space? There’s a plant for every condition, no matter your microclimate, no matter the style, no matter the size, your landscape can thrive.


The Gift of Nature #2

Saturday | March 14 | 10am-12pm | Entry Ramada | $24 members | $35 general public

Integrative Health Coach and Certified Nature Connection Guide, Carol Roberge, will tell you that sometimes in our “human selves” we can become so consumed with life that we miss what is around us. Most of us will agree. This busy season, join Roberge on a gentle, guided nature walk inspired by the practice of Shinrin-yoku — “forest bathing.” Slow down, focus, nourish the spirit and nurture our relationship with the natural world. Become ever present and learn to open yourself to the changing, mysterious and nuanced ways of a place through a series of “guided invitations.” Discover your authentic way of interacting with the land, helping to grow and strengthen the threads of connection between person and place. The walk ends with a ceremony sharing tea. As we move into this new year, may we step out of the familiar and embrace new possibilities. Please dress for the weather and feel free to bring a journal or sketch pad to record your experiences. 


Visual Journaling with Collage

Fridays | March 27 to May 1 | 10am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $145 members | $160 general public

Artist, photographer and naturalist Nancy Wilkinson lists only one prerequisite for her journaling class – a willingness to be creative. Focusing on the themes of “gratitude” and “amazement” in this six-week workshop, Wilkinson facilitates the creation of a visual journal incorporating words, collage and artistic expression. Simply bring your favorite blank book, all other supplies are included. By the end of the workshop, your journal will be filled with art that inspires and words that encourage — from favorite quotes and watercolor sketches to paper clip art and found objects. Explore art making inspired by the natural world.


The Frugal Gardener

Saturday | March 28 | 10am | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $6 members | $10 general public

Believe it or not, creativity is more important than a big budget when crafting a delightful and distinctive desert garden. Greg Corman of Gardening Insights discusses how he and others have built engaging garden spaces using far more imagination than money. With examples from all over Tucson, he includes ideas for garden design and installation, planting and maintenance, plus features attractive to both humans and animals, wild and domestic.


Copper Basketry Vessel

Saturday | March 28 | 9am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $90 members | $100 general public

Gourd artists Sue Brogdon has designed a striking vessel that features sea grass and straight and twisted copper strips. In her spring workshop, students will color and seal their gourds and learn three weaving techniques: twining, coiling and couching. Beads and a large copper embellishment complete this unique piece. Brogdon provides cleaned and prepped canteen gourds, dye inks, sealant, dyed sea grass and copper wire. Students should bring a bucket, old towel, apron, a wire cutter and a brown bag lunch.


The Gift of Nature #3

Saturday | March 28 | 10am-12pm | Entry Ramada | $25 members | $35 general public

Integrative Health Coach and Certified Nature Connection Guide, Carol Roberge, will tell you that sometimes in our “human selves” we can become so consumed with life that we miss what is around us. Most of us will agree. This busy season, join Roberge on a gentle, guided nature walk inspired by the practice of Shinrin-yoku — “forest bathing.” Slow down, focus, nourish the spirit and nurture our relationship with the natural world. Become ever present and learn to open yourself to the changing, mysterious and nuanced ways of a place through a series of “guided invitations.” Discover your authentic way of interacting with the land, helping to grow and strengthen the threads of connection between person and place. The walk ends with a ceremony sharing tea. As we move into this new year, may we step out of the familiar and embrace new possibilities. Please dress for the weather and feel free to bring a journal or sketch pad to record your experiences. 


Garden of Writing Retreat

Saturday | April 4 | 9am-2pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $95 members | $105 general public

Facilitated by writing coach and bookmaker Traci Moore, this outdoor respite is devoted to the love of writing. Amidst the beauty of Tohono Chul, explore nature-inspired creative and reflective writing exercises, sharing words aloud and discussing insights. We’ll even enjoy a meditative wander and a picnic lunch with our new friends. For adult writers of all skill levels. Please bring your favorite notebook, pen and brown bag lunch (no laptops/tablets please). Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be served.


iPhone Photos = Digital Works of Art

Saturday | April 11 | 9am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $60 members | $75 general public

“iPhoneographers” Peggy Steffens, William Walther and Ron Shannon are here to unleash your inner Michelangelo and help you create beautiful and unique works of art with your iPhone, turning photos into digital paintings, sketches and other stylized works of art. Designed for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level using only their iPhone. This class is for any level of “iPhoneographer.” Participants must have an Apple iPhone 6S or newer running the current IOS.


Agave Mandala

Saturday | April 11 | 10am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 members | $100 general public

Mosaic Artist/Instructor David Jarvinen has designed a dynamic mixed media mosaic inspired by the unfurling of agaves and succulents. In this hands-on class, learn mandala layout principles and then, focusing on pattern and repetition, design a nature-inspired abstract mandala design. Using porcelain tiles for the mandala design and glass tiles for the background, learn about nipping and fitting both materials while designing your mosaic art. All materials included. Class has no formal breaks, so please bring lunch/snack & beverages. 


Paper Flowers — Mexican Gold Poppies!

Saturday | April 25 | 10am-12:30pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $65 members | $75 general public

In a good year, spring in the desert means fields of bright Mexican gold poppies, and these paper flowers are just in time for celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Sandy Villegas of Luna’s Paper Designs teaches you step-by-step how to craft two flowers, a bud and leaves from crepe paper. After cutting the perfect petal shapes, use alcohol inks to dye each one the perfect color. All supplies provided, plus extras to take home to make even more flowers.


Silver Earrings

Saturday, May 9 | 9am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $100 members | $115 general public

Short, long, narrow, wide, casual, dressy…and the list goes on. Earring designs are endless, and with silver clay artist Lyle Rayfield, the process of crafting them is easy. This workshop is all about learning to work with fine silver metal clay to create one or more pairs of earrings that suit your style, your mood, or an upcoming occasion. Make a simple design to hang from an ear wire or go fancy and add a dangle for more bling. Rayfield will demonstrate how to properly roll, texture, shape, refine, fire, and finish metal clay creations (no experience necessary). Students will need to bring round-nosed pliers (for attaching ear wires), a magnifying lens and apron, all other materials provided.