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!

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 or call/text 218-590-4060 (students pay the instructor directly at first class – cash please); practice DVD available for purchase.

The Gift of Nature | Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve


This busy holiday season, join Carol Roberge on a gentle, guided nature walk inspired by the practice of Shinrin-yoku — “forest bathing.” Take time out, slow down and focus your senses, becoming present with all that is around you. Nature is waiting for you to notice her. The walk ends with a ceremony sharing tea from foraged plants. As we step into a new year let us open to new possibilities. Please dress for the weather and feel free to bring a journal or sketch pad to record your experiences.

Spiny Succulents

Saturday | January 4 | 10am | Ed. Ctr. #1

Succulents have earned their own niche in the world of cultivated plants, separating themselves out from other ornamentals by virtue of the diversity of their fleshy architecture and their rainbow colors. They are also among the most water-wise plants for the desert southwest. Nursery owner and author Jeff Moore dishes the dirt on succulents with spines beginning with an overview of the primary groups of spiny succulents in cultivation – cacti, Euphorbias, Alluaudias, Fouquierias, and other (mostly) spiny relatives. He also showcases plants in cultivation, both landscape and container, with insights for growing and general care. Copies of Spiny Succulents will be available for sale and signing. Free with admission

Trio Planter

Saturday | January 25 | 10am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 members | $100 general public

David Jarvinen of the Mosaic Guys has designed a brand new project that will definitely speak to the gardeners among us — a set of three little pots the perfect size for herbs or small cacti or succulents; you could even use them as votive candle holders! Each pot is 3” square and together they fit into terracotta tray included in the workshop. Choosing from a variety of colors, learn the basics of glass mosaics to decorate both sides of the three planters for a total of 6 design spaces. Easy nipping and fitting make this a good class for beginners. We will work toward grouting at the end of day. All tools and materials included, but bring a brown bag lunch and plan on a six-hour class.

iPhone Photo Editing | SOLD OUT | to be notified of additional session call 742-6455 x 228

Saturday | February 1 | 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.

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.


Saturday | February 15 | 10am | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $6 members | $10 general public

As environmentally-conscious gardeners we think carefully about the kinds of chemicals we use in our landscapes and about paw-friendly surfaces. As safety-conscious pet parents, we have to be even more aware – our four-legged family members spend their time outdoors much closer to the ground than we do, often with their noses in the leaf litter and dirt. Jason Isenberg of REALM offers smart and safe landscape solutions for you and your pet, realizing that beyond health considerations, it is important that outdoor habitats keep cats and dogs happy as well. From non-toxic plants to dog dig pits and from pet waste composting to play structures, Isenberg has ideas for a variety of landscape situations and a variety of pets.

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

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.