Only at NAU - The Campaign for NAU

Centennial Forest Environmental Education Programs

A project of Northern Arizona University Foundation

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Campers use binoculars to identify common native birds

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Campers learn how to "core" trees and identify their age

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One camper is identifying insects using a field microscope

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Campers enjoy a day in the sun at West Clear Creek near Sedona

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Campers use handmade tools to measure forest structure, in this case, tree height

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Campers learn how to construct survival shelters using only peices from the environment as building materials.

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During downtime, campers play games with each other.

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Learning the basics of compass use is a priority in our Junior Forester Academy

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Campers take part in team building exercises at the NAU Ropes Course

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This camper is demonstrating how to use an increment borer, a tool used to determine tree age.

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Campers often develop lifelong friendships that continue after camp

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One camper showing off her diameter tape, a common forestry tool used to determine tree diameters.

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Campers watering the Centennial Forest Field Campus garden.

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A group of campers at the Lava Tubes for a field trip. This is a cave north of Flagstaff that was formed from lava beds.

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A group photo from a field trip to the San Francisco Peaks

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One camper demonstrates how to properly determine the diameter of a tree using a diameter tape.

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Campers love crazy hair night!

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Campers help each other complete activities, in this case an orienteering course requiring map and compass skills.

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Bunkmates get to know each other during down time.

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Campers learn fundamentals of orienteering from forestry professionals, including map and compass skills!

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Campers stay in large canvas tents.

"Nurturing the love of nature" in kids ages 9-16 while offering scholarships to families in need.

The NAU Centennial Forest (CF) offers unique forestry and environmental science education programs with an overnight summer camp experience where kids learn about and explore the beautiful ponderosa pine forest surrounding Flagstaff. We are a non-profit venture that is supported through camper tuition and donations from community partners. We rely on gifts from organizations and the community to enable us to offer full and partial scholarships to families who would otherwise be unable to afford the $495 per week tuition. These funds serve needs in our community, introduce kids to environmental careers and help us to work in conjunction with the recent national movement to get our younger generations outdoors and excited about nature.

Through collaboratively designed, hands-on curriculum campers develop lifelong environmental stewardship skills and build lifelong friendships. Our Environmental Education Programs offer an incredible opportunity for youth to experience the wonder and beauty of the forest through hiking, forest discovery, and nature-based art and games.

The overall goal of our programs is to “nurture the love of nature” in youth ages 9-16. We have designed a stair step approach that builds on the knowledge camper’s gain each year by offering a variety of experiences for them to “grow into”. Campers are encouraged to start off their camping experience with the Junior Forester Academy (JFA). JFA offers a hands-on introduction to the forests of Flagstaff and the fields of forestry, ecological restoration and environmental science. The next step for campers is the Senior Forester Academy (SFA) where participants conduct their own scientific research project using newly acquired skills as well as those they learned as Juniors. After they form hypotheses, our Seniors survey for birds in both a restored forest and a characteristically dense forest, giving them a chance to investigate differences in the forest through scientific inquiry. The Outdoor Leadership Academy (OLA) is the third step for campers, where they are taught how to be strong, confident leaders while also learning about environmental careers. The OLA curriculum teaches youth about outdoor ethics, effective communication skills and collaborative problem solving. Finally, campers graduate into our Counselor in Training and Junior Counselor programs. These offer our fourth/fifth year alumni an opportunity to come back and teach others how they too can become the next generation of environmental stewards. For more information on our programs, please visit our website:

Among our proudest accomplishments is that we have not had to turn any child away from our programs on the basis of financial need. We hope to continue meeting the needs of our community by providing scholarships to those families that cannot afford this type of experience for their children. Over the last 9 years we have hosted over 765 campers and have given out over $300,000 in scholarships to deserving families.

  • In 2012 100% of responding parents reported that their child felt more comfortable in the outdoors, exhibited an increase in independence, and felt encouraged to make new friends.
  • 95% of responding parents reported an increase in self-confidence.
  • 85% or more of responding parents reported that their child had informed them about forest-related topics, developed a stronger interest in the natural world, and have developed leadership skills.

“My child is SO excited about the forest. He tells me of the beauty and is interested in protecting it. He wants very much to have a future that includes the forest. THANK YOU.” –Parent of a 2012 return camper from Flagstaff, AZ.

“This camp is Awesome. My kids look forward to attending every year. Thank you for this Amazing Camp!”- Parent of 2012 return camper from Prescott, AZ

“He said he was busy the whole time. Thank you so much! We LOVE that our kids do research in a University Computer Lab”- Parent of a 2012 camper from Phoenix, AZ

“What an amazing program! Thank you for all that you do to inspire such great ethics and experiences for these very fortunate young people.”- Parent of 2012 return camper from Phoenix, AZ

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Organization Information

The Northern Arizona University Foundation exists to support NAU programs and scholarships. Please see the Projects for details.

EIN: 860193726

Reports: Guidestar

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