Desert Awareness Committee

Desert Awareness Committee has been the community resource advocate for the Sonoran Desert since 1974. Our mission is to educate residents and visitors so that they may join us in understanding, conserving and preserving our diverse and fragile desert; its plants, animals, water, and wildlife.

Prickly Pear Fest

The Prickly Pear Fest was a HUGE success!

Thank you to all our volunteers who dedicated your time and talent to educate our community on such a great resource right here in our own desert.  Thank you also to Haley Ziomek, an ASU student who made a video of the event for us, great interview Phyllis!


Check Out Our New Virtual Field Trip!

Discover. Learn. Share.

Take a trip with your class through Desert Awareness Park as a Desert Explorer! Gather data as you explore, learn all about the plants and animals of the desert, then share with others! We are excited to announce our Desert Reach Education Program is now available on a 7 segment professional video with teacher guide, ready to be downloaded and used in your classroom or home.

Virtual Field Trip Video
Virtual Field Trip Guide

DAC Education and Conservation

Educating the Public

We accomplish our education mission through:
  • Our desert edibles and medicinal workshops for the public at large explaining how to harvest, prepare and use desert plants.

  • Our “Fragile Desert” publication, a practical and informative guide to living sustainably in the Sonoran Desert plus “Chloe and the Desert Heroes”, a book that will inspire people of all ages to respect the natural world and honor the dignity of every human being.

  • Our “Taste of the Desert”  cook book with 77 recipes and how-to information on harvesting and preparing desert fruits, beans, nuts and flowers.
  • Our 100 natural history articles written by members over 25 years.

Conservation – Desert Awareness Park

We accomplish our conservation mission through:

Our stewardship of Desert Awareness Park, located in Cave Creek, is dedicated to those who yearn to understand our desert home. You will find short nature trails, an interpretive center, picnic areas, children’s playground and an abundance of meaningful information about our surrounding desert.

Desert Awareness Park
Schedule a Workshop


Come Join the Fun!

DAC leads interpretive themed hikes the 3rd Monday of each month October through April. Keep up to date on the hikes and times on our Facebook page.

Hiking Schedule


There is so much to learn about our desert.

Join us the second Monday of each month from 6:30-8pm October through April to learn about fascinating aspects of the Sonoran Desert… its plants, animals, geology, archaeology, and more! Speakers bring their knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to you in these exciting and informative seminars. No need to register, $5 donation is appreciated.

See Seminar Dates


We can’t do all of this without our dedicated volunteers, please join us!

If you love the desert, want to know more, or want to work with us to help us accomplish our mission, come join us! Complete our online interest form, or call the Holland Center office at 480-488-1090 for more information.

Make a Difference

Educating our Youth

Desert Reach Program

Our fourth grade school classroom program, Desert Reach, provides hands-on desert ecology experiences.

Check out our NEW Virtual Sonoran Desert Field Trip Video on YouTube and download the Virtual Field Trip Guide.

Desert Reach Program
Virtual Field Trip Guide
Virtual Field Trip Video


Brown’s Ranch Cathedral Rock Hike

January 17 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Meet at the Brown's Ranch Trailhead and hike to the mountain top for the most beautiful 360 degree views! Cathedral Rock in McDowell Sonoran [...]

Water Wisdom

February 14 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Don't miss this this dynamic, wisdom filled, presentation by Heather Macre from CAP.  Everyone of us can make a difference, it just takes wisdom!  [...]

Adero Canyon Hike

February 21 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Join Special Guest, Bill Craig, as he shares "How we build great trails." Difficulty-  moderate to difficult Length- 5-6 miles Elevation gain: 480 ft. [...]

Archaeology Expo

March 5 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

  Join the Desert Awareness Committee at Spur Cross Recreational Area as they partner with the Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society for [...]

Our Desert Scrub!

March 14 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Our desert has not always looked like it does today, and it may not look the same in the future!  Go back in history [...]

Marcus Landslide Hike

March 21 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Geological rock formations and wild flowers with beautiful views of Mazatzal, Four Peaks, Weaver's Needle and the Verde River Basin Difficulty-  easy - moderate [...]

DAC Pre-Harvest Seminar

April 11 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

You can live off the desert if you know what to pick and when. Of course, you need to know what to do with [...]

Walk, Talk & Taste with DAC

April 16 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Meet us in the park for an hour to look closely at edible desert plants.  Walk the trail at your own pace, talk with [...]

Blue Wash Trail + Maricopa Trail Hike

April 18 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Waterfalls, Canyons and Cottonwoods! Enjoy this watershed hike past mines to a beautiful riparian habitat. Difficulty-  moderate Length- 3.3 miles Elevation gain: 441 ft. [...]

DAC Resources

Our Tastes of the Desert

Our Own DAC Cookbook
  • A new recipe book from DAC with 77 recipes including prickly pear, mesquite & more.
  • PLUS “how to” harvest & prepare desert fruits, berries, beans, nuts, flowers.

Chloe and the Desert Heroes

Award Winning Children’s Book

If you love the wildlife of the Sonoran Desert, you’ll want others to relish the characters in this tale from their perspective.


The Fragile Desert

Published by Desert Awareness Committee

Much has been published about the lifestyle, plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. The Foothills area is called “The Arizona Uplands” and has an elevation of 2500 to 4500 feet. The Fragile Desert addresses the issues that Foothills residents may encounter in adapting to, enjoying, and understanding the desert environment.


Other DAC Publications

Great online articles about our Sonoran Desert and more!

Amazing Articles

Desert Awareness Park

Native habitat learning center

This wonderful little park, located in Cave Creek is a community gem.

Desert Awareness Park

At Home in the Desert

A play for classroom use

“At Home in the Desert” written by Phyllis Strupp, is a one-act play, seeking to help elementary school students sort out their difficulties by connecting with the natural world around them, the desert. The play promotes diversity and communication and is perceived as a tool for reducing bullying.  In the play, eleven year-old Chloe learns valuable life lessons from the Sonoran Desert with the help of some mysterious friends (historical figures, desert plants and animals).

Teacher’s Guide
Watch the Play

Contact Information

Desert Awareness Committee