Exploring the forest of the Grand Canyon National Park.Exploring the forest of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Many things surprised Zoey Greenberg, a senior at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, when she arrived in Arizona to attend Prescott College’s Grand Canyon Semester. Realizing Arizona was not the all-consuming desert she had envisioned was her first surprise. 

“I hate to admit this but I didn’t even know Arizona had trees,” Greenberg said. “I thought the Southwest was all desert, for the most part. I didn’t realize it was so variable. I was really happy to see forests when I got here.” 

White water rafting in the Grand Canyon.White water rafting in the Grand Canyon.Greenberg visited the arid Southwest landscape last fall as part of an exchange program called Eco-League. The program allowed her to take part in Prescott College’s Grand Canyon Semester (GCS), a two month, fully immersive class designed to enhance students’ knowledge and expose them to experiences and people they might never had had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

While the bulk of the GCS curriculum is focused on the Canyon and the park, a larger goal of the class is to compel students to connect with the value of public lands and to cultivate a deep sense of place wherever that might be, according to GCS instructor Joel Barnes.

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