The Desert Research Learning Center (DRLC) promotes the scientific understanding, protection, and conservation of Sonoran Desert Network parks. The center provides space and support for visiting researchers and interns, hosts hands-on experiential learning for local student groups, and displays examples of sustainable practices and native horticulture.
Located adjacent to Saguaro National Park, the DRLC is an ideal space for connecting people, resources, and science. Inside the main building, exhibits offer insight into Sonoran Desert ecosystems and the science that helps us understand them.The main building also houses office space, a large meeting room, and a public restroom. Additional buildings contain a dry soils lab and provide on-site housing for researchers, interns, and volunteers.
Between the buildings, visitors will find an artificial tinaja and flowing stream, a heritage orchard, native foods garden, and examples of rainwater harvesting techniques. Tour the grounds
Beyond the grounds lie 40 acres of Sonoran Desert habitat suitable for field trainings, protocol testing, and outdoor education and research. A short nature trail winds through the landscape.
The DRLC is open to the public on the last Tuesday of each month, from 9:00 am to 4:00 p.m.
DRLC services and programming are driven by our partnerships with public land agencies, local schools, non-profits, and the scientific community. Volunteer opportunities are available with the Sonoran Desert Network and nearby Saguaro National Park. Among other functions, DRLC programming:
- Delivers information about natural and cultural resources and science to a wide range of audiences,
- Provides hands-on nature education and experience for school groups,
- Facilitates and hosts presentations about research in parks, and
- Supports high school and college-level research projects and internships on natural-resource topics in Sonoran Desert parks.
Rain can be the enemy of adobe bricks. In national parks of the U.S. Southwest, resource managers need to know what to expect as climate patterns change, potentially increasing the intensity of rainstorms. To help find out, a crew of staff and volunteers built adobe walls and exposed them to rainstorms of different intensities at the Desert Research Learning Center in Tucson, Arizona.
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Last updated: September 9, 2019