Conservancy Kids

We bring the Sonoran Desert to you!

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Welcome to Conservancy Kids!

We are so excited to have you with us on this virtual journey of inquiry and place-based learning! Right now we may be social distancing, but we're all connected by the awesomeness of science. We're junior scientists, exploring the natural world, asking questions, and making discoveries. Join us for an adventure that will take you outdoors, around the house, and into the incredible Sonoran Desert. Welcome to Conservancy Kids! We're excited to see you!

Amazing Arachnids

They're creepy, they're crawly, and they're awesome! While most people wouldn't describe spiders as "cute," these creatures are still incredibly important to the ecosystem. Spiders help maintain healthy bug populations that could otherwise destroy plant populations in an environment. This also helps us humans because spiders decrease the number of insects we consider pests (I'm looking at you, mosquitoes!). Even though spiders are not the prettiest animal, show them some love for saving you from a pesky fly or itchy mosquito bite.

Eight Legs of Awesome

We Love Noncharismatic Animals

The (not so) Itsy Bitsy Desert Tarantula

Tarantulas are amazing creatures! You can find them on every continent except Antarctica and they can range in size from as small as a BB pellet (less than 0.2 inches in diameter) to as big as a dinner plate. Can you imagine taking your dinner plate-sized pet tarantula for a walk? And, in fact, many of the smaller species are popular exotic pets. In Arizona, there are 30 tarantula species, with the desert tarantula found across the Sonoran, Mohave, and Chihuahuan Deserts. Even though they look scary, tarantulas are very gentle creatures. As long as you respect them, they'll leave you alone. Join Rich as he teaches us more about the awesome Western Desert Tarantula.

Western Desert Tarantula


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Contact us

We're socially distanced but still connected by the awesomeness of science!

Have questions about the Sonoran Desert? Want a lesson on a specific topic? Email us at

You can also connect by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram @mcdowellsonoranconservancy. We would love to see your science notebooks or learn what teaching resources you're using.

Nicole Kallman, Education Coordinator

Nicole loves science and exploration. In college, she studied physics and biology. Now, she shares her excitement about science with others, encouraging everyone to follow in the footsteps of Miss Frizzle: "take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"

Rich Cochran, MD, Program Chair-Nature Guides

Science has always been a large part of Rich’s life during undergraduate, graduate and medical schools and throughout his career. After retiring, Rich has focused on studying and learning about the Sonoran Desert, especially the Arthropods that inhabit it. He is one of the Conservancy’s Nature Guides and loves educating children and adults about the Sonoran Desert.