The Bio/Diversity Project

The Bio/Diversity Project is a collaborative effort between WISE, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Friends of Saguaro National Park aimed at increasing the diversity of voices included in discussions of environmental problems and the development of their solutions. By increasing access to innovative environmental science educational opportunities and training, mentoring, and work experience along the K-16+ educational pipeline, we aim to get students excited about environmental science and support them along their educational journeys and into the workforce. This program is made possible by generous financial support from the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice. 


Program Structure

The Bio/Diversity Project will place University of Arizona (UA) students with K-12 school partners to assist with the implementation of culturally-relevant and place-based environmental science curriculum focused on the topic of biodiversity. Curriculum will be focused on a series of schoolyard biodiversity inventories and related activities where UA interns will help K-12 students collect data on plants, animals, and other life forms in their everyday environments. Classes will be followed up by educational field trips to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and/or Saguaro National Park to expose the students to a variety of environmental science careers.


UA Student Participants

UA students can participate in this program for academic credit through the internship programs offered by the UA Honors College, and the Departments of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, Gender and Women's Studies, General Studies, Geography and Development, Natural Resources and the Environment, Soil, Water and Environmental Science, Sustainable Built Environments, and Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies. UA students will dedicate 10 hours per week to the program for 3 units of academic credit.

UA student participants will have the opportunity to work in K-12 classrooms alongside educators, and will assist in the development and delivery of place-based and identity-based environmental science curricula. Students will develop science communication skills and broaden their knowledge of environmental science-related issues while simultaneously providing encouragement and outreach to underrepresented groups of K-12 students. Academic credit will be offered for participating UA students via WISE’s established internship program, and upon completion of the internship high achieving students will have the opportunity to gain additional work experience via the Next Generation Ranger Program as summer (full-time) or school-year (part-time) paid interns.

Apply to be an intern with the Bio/Diversity Project HERE


Partner Teachers

Each semester, we partner with local K-12 teachers to bring innovative, environmental science programming to local schools. Partner teachers are required to participate in 4 hours of training/planning at the beginning of the program cycle (compensation is provided at a rate of $25/hour) and will work with UA student interns throughout the semester to strategize how best to impact their particular student population. Participating classes receive a FREE field trip to either Saguaro National Park or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and a FREE classroom visit from an environmental science educator (and they usually bring live animals!).  

Apply to be a partner teacher with the Bio/Diversity Project HERE.


Past Success

The Bio/Diversity Project builds on past success of partner organizations who worked together on the Schoolyard Biodiversity Inventories Program in Spring 2016.  Below is more information on that program and what we accomplished! 


The Schoolyard Biodiversity Inventories Program is a collaboration between WISE, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the National Park Service, the UA Community and School Garden Program and schools throughout the Tucson Unified School District. This program aims to increase student knowledge and interest in issues of environmental science and biodiversity conservation, while fostering a sense of environmental responsibility among participants.

Through this program, we work with local K-12 schools to conduct biodiversity inventories on school campuses using an on-line application called iNaturalist. iNaturalist allows students to upload photographs of living organisms to a global database where they are mapped and identified. In this way, participants in this program contribute to a global community of those committed to better understanding and fostering biodiversity. 


In spring 2016 the Schoolyard Biodiversity Inventories Program was generously supported by the University of Arizona Institute of the Environment.