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!

“Fall” Back to Yoga!

Tuesdays | October 8 – November 26 | 8:30-9:30am | Overlook | $8 members | $8+ cost of admission for general public

Get back into a healthy routine by joining Barbara Sherman, registered yoga instructor, for an hour of gentle yoga practice in the outdoors! Open your senses to an understanding of our connection to the earth. Stroll the park afterwards or visit the Garden Bistro for a healthy breakfast. Please bring your own mat and pay instructor directly.

T’ai Chi Chih: “Joy through Movement”

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday | November 4, 5, 7, 8 and 11, 12, 14, 15 | 9am-10am | Children’s Ramada | $90 members | $90 plus cost of admission general public

Join certified instructor, Laura Star, in the natural beauty of Tohono Chul to learn T’ai Chi Chih (tie chee cha). This set of 19 movements and one pose is a soft, flowing, moving meditation practiced by thousands of people around the world. It’s easy to learn and 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). $90 members | $90 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 – cash please) Practice DVD available for purchase.

Tucson Flora Top Tens

Saturday | November 16 | 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.

Copper Cutout Gourd

Saturday | November 16 | 9am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $85 members | $95 general public

Our favorite gourd artist, Sue Brogdon, is back with a unique vessel sporting two cutouts that feature a free-form woven copper insert enhanced with beads and silk cording. The first step is to color the gourd itself with dye ink and copper pigment powder, if you choose, and seal it. Next, create the insert for the cutout using copper wire, beads and other materials. To complete the project, students will lash the cutouts and rim with black pine needles and copper wire. The instructor provides prepped gourds, dye inks, copper pigment, spray paint, sealant, copper wire, dyed black pine needles, gages and a needle for lashing. Students should bring a heat tool, if you have one, as well as a bucket, old towel, wire cutter and a brown bag lunch.

Macro Garden Scene

Friday | November 22 | 10am-4:30pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 members | $100 general public

Desert gardens are full of contrast and in all shapes and colors . . . textures, too! Join mosaic artist David Jarvinen in an exploration of the depth and interest in a macro garden scene without having to draw anything! Jarvinen provides a pattern and layout to help in the design process for an 8” x 10” panel, then using both porcelain and glass tiles, learn how to define space and depth. A full day of fun, so pack a lunch; all materials provided including grout to take home and apply once the adhesive dries.

Out of his Gourd?

Saturday | November 23 | 2pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $6 members | $10 general public

Folk musician, sometime cowboy poet and native Arizonan, Greg Scott shares his take on the utilitarian but remarkably musical gourd and its contribution to international folk music. Most likely first used as a percussion instrument, early on gourds were crafted into banjo-like instruments in Africa and brought to the Caribbean and the present day United States with African slaves. By the 1840s and 50s a “new” instrument, the banjo, had evolved to take its place as an icon of American folk music.

A “Novel” Project in Silver Clay

Saturday | November 23 | 9am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $125 members | $140 general public

This mini-book may not land you on the best seller’s list, but your friends will be clamoring at your door for their own personalized copy. Award-winning metal clay artist Lyle Rayfield guides participants through the process of creating and texturizing miniature book covers using silver metal clay, embellishing them with tiny clay elements and filling them with colorful pages or personalized notes or pictures. When complete, you will want to proudly wear your story for all to see. Microscopic particles of pure silver are combined with an organic binder to produce the clay-like substance known as silver metal clay. When fired at high temperatures, the binder burns off and the metal particles fuse into a solid piece of silver. Students will learn the a-b-c’s of working with fine silver metal clay while creating a mini-book inspired by the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. Demonstrations and instruction will cover how to properly roll, texture, shape, refine, fire, and finish metal clay creations (no experience necessary). All materials supplied, but please bring a magnifying glass and an apron.

Pocket Sketching

Wednesday-Friday | December 4-6 | 10am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $285 (no supplies) or $325 (supplies) members | $300 (no supplies) or $340 (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. 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

Chasing Centuries

Sunday | December 8 | 2pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | free with admission

Ron Parker’s Chasing Centuries is a one-of-a-kind travel-history book that explores an exciting and little known adventure at the crossroads of archaeology and botany. Discover the depth and duration of human/agave coevolution across the desert southwest, and learn about the unusual agaves apparently associated with archaeological sites long since abandoned by residents of extinct ancient cultures. These agaves appear to be anthropogenic cultivars; living archaeological relics developed and planted by indigenous pre-Columbian Native Americans, and many are still growing exactly where they were planted hundreds of years ago. Copies of Chasing Centuries will be available for sale and signing.

Gardening Where We Live

Saturday | December 14 | 9am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $12 members | $20 general public

One aspect of the mission of Tohono Chul is to model living with the desert; one means of fulfilling that mission is to demonstrate sustainable gardening where we live. Gardening in Tucson is not quite like gardening anywhere else and this class is for newcomers to Arizona and newcomers to gardening. Greg Corman of Gardening Insights and Eli Nielsen and Andrew D’Arezzo of EcoSense Sustainable Landscapes share their Tucson gardening experiences, from site assessment to design to plant and even tool selection for what can be a difficult environment for the uninitiated.

Nifty, “Gifty” Gourds

Saturday | December 14 | 9am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #2 | $80 members | $90 general public

Alcohol inks, when mixed, blended or washed together create a plethora of vibrant colors and gourd artist Sue Brogdon is on hand to demonstrate more than a dozen different ways to utilize these bold colors – dripping, outlining, stamping, painting, and blending, to name a few. With some additional insights into color theory, students then have the opportunity to try their hand at each technique. In the afternoon it’s time for free-form wire wrapping and embellishing their gourds, “cannonballs” and ornament-sized as well. Please bring plastic or latex gloves, heat tool (if you have one), fast drying gel glue such as Gorilla glue, scissors, flat nosed pliers and wire cutter. Instructor provides two “cannonball” and four small gourds, alcohol inks, dye inks, brushes, sealant, wire and embellishments such as feathers, beads and rocks to complete each of custom-designed pieces. Don’t forget your brown bag lunch.