The wonder and majesty of the desert ecosystem is often misunderstood although it is the perfect location for earth science education. The open night sky with vast views of the stars is also a prime location for astronomy. Our desert ecosystem program provide students with the opportunity to learn about science outside of school, to experientially identify plants while hiking, study the endangered species native to the area, climb on rocks in different phases of the rock life cycle and also sleep under a blanket of our galaxy.
Activities offered vary by specific location and may include the following:
- Guided natural history and ecology hikes
- Lessons in biology, geology, weather and desert science
- Backpacking and day-hiking
- Team-building initiatives and group development challenges
- Subterranean exploration in canyon-bottom talus caves
- Top-rope rock climbing
- Journal writing and creative assignments
- Service learning projects
- Early morning sunrise hikes, stretch circles or yoga
- Small group presentations
- Free time, recreation and fun games
- Map and compass, orienteering and land navigation
- Environmental awareness games and lessons
- Classes in outdoor survival skills, endangered species conservation, native plant use and many more
Evening programs occur in large groups or smaller “trail groups” and may include:
- Campfires with skits, songs, stories and s’mores
- Town Hall environmental resource use discussion
- Astronomy observation and lessons
- Native American myths and stories
- Council meeting and group topical discussions
- Talent show and “coffeehouse” discussions
- Night hikes focusing on nocturnal animal adaptations
Learning activities are presented in a variety of formats throughout the program and are experiential in nature. Lessons are planned to be stimulating and challenging. Instructors give participants the tools to promote personal discovery and self-direction in learning, while supporting learners with information about the topics being explored. A thoughtfully developed progression of hands-on learning, structured lessons, experiential outdoor activities and free time is provided to maximize learning and craft a positive, memorable experience.
Joshua Tree National Park Basecamp Program
The Outdoor Adventures by Boojum’s Joshua Tree Desert Basecamp Program offers an outdoor education experience set amidst the stunning desert landscapes, canyons and granite hills of Joshua Tree National Park. This area is rich in both natural and human history, and is an excellent location for outdoor studies.
The Joshua Tree Basecamp program features comfortable group campsites with picnic tables, toilets and spacious tent pads, situated among the boulders and cacti of the Park. This is the area from which day hiking, rock climbing, talus cave exploration, natural history lessons and other activities are launched. A variety of ecosystems and habitats—riparian, chaparral, and desert plain—are ready for exploration by eager participants. This experiential program is a wonderful adventure in bringing learning to life while encouraging appreciation others and enjoyment of the outdoors.
The basecamp setting allows for an immersion in the out-of-doors, as participants camp under the stars and spend their days exploring a unique desert environment, while the comfort of an established camp creates a pleasant, low-stress environment conducive to learning and enjoyment. Participants learn how to live comfortably outdoors in a supportive environment; they develop communication skills, leadership skills and group cohesion through outdoor adventures.
Joshua Tree National Park Backpacking and Rock Climbing Programs
Boojum’s Wilderness Backpacking and Rock Climbing Program in Joshua Tree National Park offers program participants an intensive immersion experience into group living, self-reliance and the natural world, all in a spectacular natural setting. The inviting landscape of the desert, unique desert animals, beautiful sunsets and starry skies—makes for an ideal outdoor classroom and memorable experiences for all.
Joshua Tree’s wilderness environment—with desert bighorn sheep, endangered desert tortoises and other unique inhabitants—provides a fascinating look at the Mojave and Colorado deserts and an opportunity for group and interpersonal development. Participants explore trackless desert plains, riparian areas vital for life and dramatic canyon-bottom talus caves as they get to know each other and the desert landscape better than ever before. The desert offers a special chance to study geology as rocks and geologic processes are laid bare in the dry environment and ecology comes alive as participants explore interconnections such as the yucca moth and Joshua Tree symbiosis.
Participants are divided into small trail groups, each of which heads out on a different path into the backcountry. Participants travel through backcountry areas of the Park and are responsible for cooking meals as a group, developing low impact camping skills and learning how to live comfortably outdoors in a supportive environment. The program may also include a top-roped rock climbing experience. Within the welcoming desert environment, participants have the opportunity for a powerful learning experience and the memories of a lifetime.
Grand Canyon Basecamp & Hiking Program
The Grand Canyon offers some of the most eye-popping and majestic outdoor opportunities in the world. Formed by the Colorado River over 17 million years ago and more than a mile deep, 18 miles wide, and 277 miles long, the Grand Canyon provides endless entertainment. Join Boojum for a trip along one of the numerous trails on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and get an in-depth experience with one of the seven natural wonders of the world!
Our Grand Canyon National Park program offers the perfect classroom for outdoor education courses. There are several South Rim Day Hikes to choose from as well as a trip to the Visitor Center. Hiking trails include, but are not limited to, Rim Trail, Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, Hermit Trail and Grandview Trail. Grand Canyon National Park offers an unparalleled experience for any group. Boojum offers both basecamp and wilderness travel programs. Activities include hiking, visiting national historical landmarks & cultural sites and may include a trip to the Visitor Center .
Base-camp and backcountry travel courses are the perfect way to immerse participants in the environment, and also provide a forum for group bonding and personal growth as participants share in the splendor and challenge of the Park’s wilderness. Participants can study ecology and wilderness travel and will find this program intellectually and aesthetically stimulating, while challenging personal boundaries. Participants develop confidence as they use their outdoor skills to do such things as navigate, set up camp, prepare meals and meet the demands of outdoor living. This experience is an adventure in learning, a search for knowledge gained through individual and group effort, and a journey toward a broader understanding of self, others and the natural world. They expose students to one of the country’s greatest natural and cultural resources and offers excellent opportunities for studies in geology, environmental factors and plants and animals in this geographic landscape.
Learning activities are presented in a variety of formats throughout the program and are experiential in nature. Lessons are planned to be stimulating and challenging. Instructors give students tools to promote personal discovery and self direction in learning while supporting them with information about the topics being explored.
Grand Canyon National Park programs include instruction in one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world. It is considered one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion in the world.
Sample Grand Canyon National Park curriculum options
- Explore national & historical landmarks
- Discussion of geological significance of the Grand Canyon
- Learn what it is like to hike the canyon and how it was formed
- Evening activity on astronomy
- Fossils in sandstone lessons
- Reducing Air Pollution in the Grand Canyon Debate
- Visit the South Rim’s Visitor Center
- History of Grand Canyon and other national parks
- Role of stewardship and environmental activism
- Ranger lecture about issues and challenges of fire management
- Half-day hike on Hermit Trail
- Geology hike and study on Rim Trail
- Hike Bright Angel, South Kaibab and Grandview Trails
- Trust and teambuilding initiatives
- Evening IMAX Movie Theatre (independent transport required)
- Large group Astronomy with glow stick activity
Pinnacles National Monument
Come explore Pinnacles National Monument in the central valley just east of the Bay Area. A relic of the Neenach Volcano eruption 23 million years ago, Pinnacles got its name from the large triangular protrusions, or pinnacles, that the blast created. Pinnacles National Monument features pristine views from the top of Chalone Peak or the High Peaks Trail, a breathtaking sunset every evening, one of the best stargazing skies in the country, talus caves, and copious rock climbing opportunities for all skill levels. Located on the San Andreas Fault and on top of two tectonic plates, Pinnacles is a constantly shifting ecosystem. Come experience the wild turkeys, roadrunners, and the elusive condors that inhabit Pinnacles National Monument with Boojum today!
The Pinnacles basecamp course features comfortable group campsites with picnic tables, toilets and spacious tent pads in a Nature Conservancy sanctuary just a few miles from the day-use Monument entrance. Pinnacles offers the chance to see endangered condors in their natural habitat, peregrine falcons, and dramatic desert landscapes Participants live in a basecamp setting in tents and are responsible for cooking meals as a group, developing low impact camping skills and learning how to live comfortably outdoors in a supportive environment. Each day students travel to the monument for day hiking, rock climbing, talus cave exploration, natural history lessons and other activities. A variety of ecosystems and habitats—riparian, chaparral, and desert plain—are ready for exploration by eager participants. This experiential program is a wonderful adventure in bringing learning to life while encouraging appreciation in others and enjoyment of the outdoors.
Pipes Canyon Preserve
The Outdoor Adventures by Boojum’s Pipes Canyon Preserve Desert Backpacking and Rock Climbing Expedition offers a quality outdoor education experience set amidst a unique desert environment near Joshua Tree National Park. This area is rich in both natural and human history and is an excellent location for outdoor studies.
The 38,000 acre Preserve is a gorgeous high desert wilderness with miles of hiking trails along streams and mountain ridges. Currently only open for camping trips to Outdoor Adventures by Boojum groups, this spectacular sanctuary offers backpacking, rock climbing, and a host of other activities. Participants camp in secluded campsites in lush stream-site sites, under the shade of piñon pines, or surrounded by Joshua Trees and the cry of the coyote. A variety of ecosystems and habitats—riparian, chaparral, high desert and piñon-juniper steppe forest—are ready for exploration by eager participants.
The wilderness experience immerses participants in the wonders of the natural world. By camping in intimate connection with the desert landscape, participants are able to encounter wildlife and natural processes first-hand. These encounters with the outdoor world engage learners and provide an intensive, exciting education experience unrivaled in educational effectiveness and positive impact on participants.